Mindful Consumption Conclave curated by EWIT held on 10 Jul 2019 at Madras Boat Club:
Mindful Consumption of Resources
Today, we are in the era, where our Natural Resources are fast depleting and the world is grappling with the climate change and its consequences. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.
At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. SDG 12 speaks about “Ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns”
WHY, HOW and WHEN need to be brainstormed, to create an effective and implementable framework on sustainable consumption, stop waste levels along production and supply chains and create an environmentally sound management of these resources.
EWIT brought in experts to talk on this this most important SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL in par with the United National SDGs
Mindful Digital Consumption
In addition, we also covered mindful digital consumption. The deep penetration of social digital in our lives, everything under the surveillance of camera phones and videos, excessive usage of digital resources and creating of e-waste that would soon become a curse to the world. How can we ensure a balanced Digital Consumption approach that will protect our generations from an excessive usage of the digital content?
Our panel spoke on:
1. Framework on sustainable consumption of natural resources
2. Mindful Digital Consumption
1. Mr. Arun Krishnamurthy, Founder, EFI
2. Dr. Vidya Durai, Director, BNY Mellon
3. Mr. Santhosh T, Vels University
4. Mr. Manikandan T, Director for Digital Apps and Games Services, Amazon
Mr. Vijay Anand, Founder CEO, The Startup Centre
The evening started with Nirmala Gopalakrishnan, President of EWIT welcoming the Gathering and giving a brief introduction on EWIT and its vision and work. Treasurer and Program curator Umasree Raghunath gave a briefing on the need for this Environment based Conclave on Mindful consumption and introduced the eminent Panel for the evening.
Moderator Vijay Anand set the stage with starting the discussion on the Conscious Consumption Changes needed in environmental framework
Environmental Crusader Arun Krishnamurthy – Founder of EFI explained on the need to understand the 2 terms - Anthropocene and legion. Which basically talks about the human impact on nature and the chemical waste generated
The Anthropocene is a proposed epoch dating from the commencement of significant human impact on Earth's geology and ecosystems, including, but not limited to, anthropogenic climate change. (Meaning from internet)
Arun emphasised on the need to understand social research statistics and fact that people are consuming more than what cannot degrade. Awareness to reduce waste must begin within the local communities.
Student Representative Santhosh gave an emotional but factual detail from the student perspective. How the society is today behind the star rating process and aggregate the quality of work. He said that smart phones are the most poisonous toys we are giving our children today. It does not end there. The availability of data and phones for every child not only results in excessive data consumption but also create e-waste that this Earth cannot handle. He expressed deep anguish on the waste of time and lack of human interaction. Every smile, tear and fear are now expressed only in emojis than in human expressions. The digitalization despite having visual teaching aids etc is constraining people from having real time experience.
He revealed the research details that 14 Million tonnes of e-waste generated in 2018 out of which 50% are personal devices like phones and computers and only 20% of this is properly recycled. Unfortunately, India is in the 5th place in e-waster producers in the world. By 2020, these numbers will be alarmingly increase filling up our land, space and sea. He explained how the inactive satellites and expired vehicles are left behind in space with no technology to get back from space. All this will have considerable impact in environment. 1.5% only is equipped today to manage e-waste. Which is a very alarming statistic.
Manikandan T, Director from Amazon who became the key speaker having to answer consumer-based audience expressive various viewpoints, he managed it extremely well, composed and keep up to the values of being a responsible consumer and a strong corporate leader. He suggested 3 Key Ways to address this:
1. Drive awareness on Reducing Waste
2. Moderation of Policies - like electricity bills based on consumption slabs
He explained how every non-living thing will become living thing with artificial intelligence playing its role soon. Everything will become intelligent
3. Drive Innovation to simplify Human life and address burning issues.
Academician and Director of BNY Mellon Technology, Dr. Vidya Durai emphasised the need for Corporate being houses that drive responsible businesses. She cited examples of how they adopted 3 villages after 2015 Floods and reconverted the village which used to be called as Vellam Konda agaram even today from inundation and making the water bodies manage excessive water after rains. Creating community kitchens and water rejuvenation where the corporate worked with SMEs who have expert knowledge on managing the eco system.
She explained the need for collaboration and synergy between all entities, NGOs like EFI, Corporates and Government authorities. She also highlighted how the 2% CSR funding is making a change in the way the Corporates are responding towards social responsibility.
Moderator moved the discussion on the Plastic Ban. Vidya went on her strong views on the need for Comprehensive efforts to take this plastic ban to real effect. Synergy between Government, NGOs and Corporates along with the citizens being responsible is the key to success. Even then achieving 100% is a distant dream. If we don’t ban packaging of chips like LAYS in plastic covers and our groceries still coming in plastic packets and milk supplied in plastic covers. Abundance is a curse than Scarcity.
Arun explained how this policy on Plastic ban was designed by experts after months of research and study, and to please everyone involved and the list of what is included and what is not. and to keep up with the standards of the Global Political Framework on Environment required. And there is a dire need to stick to the environment norms too and Government set up to be made in the optimal resource areas. The key is the consumption consumer choices that are made. Human beings to think beyond the business and abide by the cultural and value systems that guide our consumer behaviours.
We need to localize cultural changes - go back to roots of using mango leaves and banana trees torans instead of balloons and plastic flowers. Use Palm tree products and improve composite bins in the communities. We are so used to blaming the system and others instead of making the changes from ourselves. There is no social divide of rich/poor, educated/illiterate, male/female, religion, caste, creed, the responsibility of mindful consumption lies with everyone. WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGES HERE and NO ONE ELSE
Vidya informed on the work done by PIST (Association of IITian) that work towards responsible environment behaviours. Arun informed on the Himalayan task of work done by EFI currently where they must clear 64 water bodies before 10 Oct.
Arun called out for ‘TREAT YOUR BODY and PLANET THE SAME WAY’. He explained the need to have the focus on 3 Key Areas
He said that bodies like EWIT can organizing ‘Bird Watching’, ‘experimentation with waste’ – like collecting samples of the waste in the bottle and keeping it in the table near the TVs. He explained how these experiments worked wonders in schools like APL Global in creating environment awareness. The small things like throwing waste only in the bins in the schools.
As a final note, Mani explained the need for three things….
1. Make Environmentally Friendly consumer behaviour part of life- Make Habitual Life
2. Make Punishments stronger to create fear of doing wrong
3. Inculcate behavioural changes that need to be brought in only by creating awareness
Vidya mentioned on the need to classification of our digital consumption under 5 headings:
Classify on what we do:
3. Interaction – Limited
4. Participation Levels
These will result in Actualization of creating self-esteem, cognizant of where we are, what we are and inculcate values in our present and future generations
Human behaviour on Planet can be classified into 1:9: 90 as per Arun. Which means
1% thinks on its own
9% process the information available
90% are innocent followers
There is need to create a happy mindsets as happy minds explores and evolves. This will help in creating experiences that are excessive or obsessive consumption behaviours.
The final tag line with which this conclave ended was
Time to SAVE YOURSELF. ……Planet Saves It selves.
The conclave ended with thanking the Panel and Vote of Thanks by Vice President of EWIT- Bhanurekha Condur. EWIT members were happy to have curated this event that had a combination of technology and the need of the hour to have mindfulness in our consumption behaviours. The main reason why EWIT took this up is that IT/ITES sector is the largest sector utilizing and excessive usage of the available resources today and this awareness and insights was very important.