Sunday, 21 October 2007

Mousetrap - 123

In honour of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Al Gore and their Nobel Peace Prize, here’s a set of links for the planet.

Give it away now
In India, thanks to the ragpicking industry, a lot or recycling takes places despite the lack of awareness of even simple things sorting garbage into organic and inorganic waste. Even so, all of us have stuff lying around at home that we will probably never ever use, but it just lies there, gathering dust. This movement came up with the idea of creating a network where disused stuff could be offered free—not traded, mind you—to anyone who wanted it. Its mission statement says: “a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community.” From its origins in Tucson, in the USA, the network now claims local groups (operating via Yahoo!Groups) in over 75 countries, with millions of members. In India, there are groups in Delhi and Gurgaon, Bombay, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Jalandhar.

Lights out
Mumbai Unplug
On March 31st this year, Sydney, Australia, got worldwide attention when its citizens voluntarily turned out the lights for one hour. Other places have followed suit: there’s Lights Out America (planned for March 29th next year), and. closer home, this group. Their intentions are good, though their site design is, quite frankly, better left in the dark, both in terms of utility and aesthetics. One of the people behind the site tells me a redesign is in progress, so bookmark this and visit them once they have got their act together. Meanwhile, I’m happy to tell you that the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation, like so many other cities in India, is way ahead of the curve. We’ve been having daily power cuts for years now.

Shop for the planet
So, you make a lot of money, and you have to have cool stuff around you, or what’s the point, right? Well, this site, like EcoCentra (, which I linked to in April, is about buying eco-friendly products. The added accent here, though, is on the look. Or as the site says, “blending style with sustainability.” And the site does deliver on that count. There’s bling aplenty, and lots of stuff your most style-conscious friends would be happy to have in their homes. This is a really nice thing to see y’know. It means that the issue is big enough for commerce to take note and jump on the bandwagon. And that’s a good thing, right?

Here are some more sites you can check out:
Lights Out America blog
Cleantech Blog - commentary on technologies, news, and issues relating to next generation energy and the environment.
The Conscious Earth - Earth-centred news for the health of air, water, habitat and the fight against global warming.
An Inconvenient Truth - the web home of Gore’s award-winning documentary, which hosts a lot of info we all could use.
Also, the 15th October was Blog Action Day (this column pointed you to it last month), and the focus was on the environment, so see the site for links to many more posts on the subject.

Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Go to for past columns, and to comment, or mail The writer blogs at

Published in the Times of India, 21st October, 2007.

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