Our very existence today is all thanks to fossil fuel energy. Human civilization is heavily dependent on this energy in the form of petroleum, coal and natural gas. As a race, are just waking up to the need to wean away from our dependence on fossil fuels and shift to renewables. Indeed, we are at a turning point in our history. Can we script a future where renewable energy is available to all? Can the common man and the living world at large play a significant role? These and more such questions have challenged our thinking.
While we know that Nature sustains herself through cyclical processes, our modern lifestyles have fractured these cycles due to the way in which we consume energy and material. My venture, Chakraakaar Lifestyle Solutions, can help in nudging our thought processes and lifestyles back into a ‘chakraakaar’ or cyclical pattern.
With this intention, we developed a few solutions:
Our first is Vaayu, which is a bio-gas solution. It converts food waste into cooking gas. This is ideal for individual families, housing societies or any food business where food waste is generated. Vaayu converts food waste into a resource; in the process, creating a shift in our mindset - where once, waste, usually considered to be something dirty is in fact, useful and valuable. We believe that organic waste, a gigantic problem today, can be completely solved by Vaayu. Besides this, there are other benefits. With Vaayu, waste is managed at source and gets treated even before it starts to get dirty. Eliminating the dirty part of this work itself lends dignity to the act of waste management. The entire handling and transportation in garbage-carrying trucks can be completely eliminated. See, how easily waste management is transformed into energy generation! We can reduce the use of fossil energy by substituting it with bio-gas and individually participate in a pro-Climate Action. Popularizing the use of Vaayu among families is like handing over the golden key for pro-Climate Action in the very hands of common people - a 'community transmission' of sustainable actions.
USP of Vaayu It is super simple to use. It requires no crushing effort and no electricity to operate. It works on its own. Our individual units are small enough to fit in the balcony. In societies, Vaayu can be installed on terraces, which are often, unused spaces in cities.
2. Cafe Climate
We run a weekend cafe called Cafe Climate, which may be the only cafe in the world that does not use fossil energy to cook. We cook using bio-gas, smokeless biomass stove and solar cookers. This cafe is located at our farm, close to Pune. Gradually, we plan to grow food on the farm, which will be used to serve freshly cooked meals at the Cafe. The farm is shaping up to be a place for learning all about growing food naturally and cooking on renewable energy.
3. Sewage Vaayu
We make sewage bio-gas systems for individual bungalows. This enables a pro-environment initiative among residents and makes it possible to disconnect their sewage pipelines. We believe that the drainage system is among the worst creations of urban living. Vaayu provides a solution to wean ourselves away from dependence on it.
Covid-19 and adapting to it
The Covid experience is unparallelled and therefore difficult to predict. I believe that it will create a positive space in the minds of people to become part of this change. We are diligently working to reach out to this space in people's minds. When people take more than the usual interest in the process of having a Vaayu system set up in their premises, it encourages us, even further. We recently set up one such system in a housing society where the participation of the members was highly encouraging. We created a short video of their experience and their excitement is helping spread word on the benefits of Vaayu. I like to describe this as the beginning of community transmission of the idea of Vaayu. We are very optimistic about change and uncertainty in these times and believe it's time for sustainable actions to take root in our communities.
The challenge is in bringing about a change in our lifestyles. These lifestyles have evolved over the past two centuries, ever since fossil energy was touted as being the best. With understanding, we are trying to overcome this mindset within ourselves and are also helping communities to understand and adapt. For example, most people believe that waste management is not their job but that of our local administrative bodies. As societies, we are deeply rooted in this rigid concept, merrily pointing out to the taxes we pay. With such a limited mindset, it's next to impossible to solve problems related to waste. At best, we will pass on to our future generations, an even bigger problem of waste. Is this what we wish them to inherit?
However, there is good news. Countrywide, we have already set up over 200 Vaayus in varying capacities. You'll be glad to know, about 1.5 tons of food waste daily, gets managed, at source; saving around 1,500 cylinders worth of fuel, annually. Deeply satisfied with this system of managing waste, people who have transitioned are our natural ambassadors, who we like to call Vaayu-Mitras. They are spread all across the country, in various cities and states. At an individual level, in May 2020, I celebrated one year without LPG, and also marked it as the first death anniversary of LPG in my home.
Moments of satisfaction
When the Sewage Bio-gas System that I developed started working at my farm, it was a deeply satisfying moment for me. We are all aware that sewage workers lose their lives, while cleaning our sewage. No civilized society should ever have to live with such great loss to lives, in this manner. Hence, I dream that one day soon, we will have eliminated our sewage systems, leaving the wealth of our water bodies to replenish themselves and do what they are meant to do, that is, nourish nature all around us.
Priyadarshan Sahasrabuddhe, a Mechanical Engineer from India’s premier technology institution IIT Bombay, is a man with a mission to help reduce climate change impacts in very tangible ways! His company Chakraakaar Lifestyle Solutions is one through which he involves the community to help fulfill his mission. You can get in touch with him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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