Innovative Solutions for Climate Change to Accelerate our Circular Economy

I (Geetha Ravindranath) am sharing my experience with the consequences of the climate change and what I have been doing as part of Covai S3 Retirement Community to preserve the Mother Earth for her bounty of blessings bestowed on us when we faced serious water shortage power deficit, extreme climate change leading to unbearable life. Mother Earth has given us everything so that we, here children live happily until we meet our Maker. She tolerates all the injuries and destruction caused on her and sends messages in the form of natural calamities where she is exploited or is not harnessed. The bountiful nature gives everything we need for a simple and comfortable life.

CLIMATE CHANGE:

Climate change is a man-made disaster. It is greed and our apathy to environment, ecology and various energy resources that has resulted in climate being changed across the globe.

A solution to man-made problem should come from within and, not without. Are we as individuals, not responsible for climate change and consequences, of suffering one way or other? Unless each one of us take initiative and contributes for better environment, the world at large will have to face untold misery and suffer extensive damage including loss of lives. So, how do we contribute to reverse the damage done due to climate change?

About 200 of us, who are senior citizens, are living in the retirement community in Coimbatore setup by CovaiCare.  For the last 12 years we have contributed to the efforts of the management in conserving water as well as in solid waste management, environment protection and switching over to consumption of power primarily through renewable source of solar energy. Let us take each of this and see what we the residents of Covai S3 Retirement Community and the management have achieved.

WATER:

We know Monsoon failed us in 2016-17.  Being in Tamil Nadu, we are dependent on river water from neighbouring states namely, Karnataka and Kerala. Anticipating the problems due to water shortage, we could face until the onset of monsoon in June 2017, we took the following steps:

  • We pray that monsoon does not play truant. We have shutdown the reverse osmosis plant to save the rejected water. By doing this we could save on an average 9 lakh litres of RO processed water per month and consequently, preserve and help recharge the bore well. We stopped getting drinking water supply from panchayat for more than six months and hence had to use RO water.

We have disconnected the RO membrane and, used bore well water after passing it through the primary filtration plant. For drinking and cooking we connected the membrane for a short duration and got the fully purified RO water. This is supplied to the kitchen and to the resident in jerry cans.

  • We motivated the staff everyday to reduce the consumption of water for housekeeping, and cleaning of utensils
  • We added water reducer to all taps
  • We repaired the rainwater harvesting pits in anticipations of a good monsoon for underground recharging
  • We use drip irrigation for the recycled water from the sewage treatment plant for watering the plants
  • The management installed water meter at all delivery points and the quantum of water consumed was published. There was competition among the residents to showcase the reduction in water usage
  • The management also put up a water softening system so that TDS of bore well water could be reduced
  • We switched taking bath using buckets instead of from shower
  • We water the gardens and plants based on actual needs. By this we ensured our greenery was preserved

Between January and May we managed to save about 40 lakh litres of ground water. The result of this measure ensured that we got running water throughout the day in our taps, for very economical consumption and there was no need to store water or face any shortage of water throughout the summer.

ENERGY:

As an Energy Conservation and usage practice, we have switched over to solar energy as an alternative source in all our lighting in streetlights and all the lighting in the public places in the community. To further economise the usage of this solar energy we have converted all the lights to LED bulbs so that not only in usage but in consumption also we economise to maximum extent to the make the best use of the available resource; we also make it a point to switch off all the unused lights and fans.

WASTE MANAGEMENT:

While the awareness of segregation at source and composting of kitchen waste is in news these days, CovaiCare has had taken this initiative to support the residents with the necessary infrastructure of separate bins for waste collection, incinerator for disposing the sanitary waste, composite bins for converting kitchen waste into organic manure and contractual agreement with vendors for collection of the accumulated recyclable waste.

This practice is in vogue since 2005!

GREEN GREEN EVERYWHERE:

The community is spread over 17.5 acres that has more than 40% open space which are full of trees and flowering plants. It has been 12 years, and till date, all residents take pride in living in a clean and green environment. Even Coconut trees were not cut but retained as road median!

SAYING NO TO PLASTIC:

Since many years, we have been conscious not to bring plastic into our community. The place is maintained spic and span at all times. We use steel plates and steel glasses for dining. Even for the regular get-togethers, which are organised in the outdoors, not even paper cups and paper plates are allowed to be used! We served snacks and beverages in stainless steel ware. So much to avoid plastic in the community!

GOING ORGANIC:

The compost received using the kitchen waste is extensively used as manure for the land in which vegetables required for the community kitchen is cultivated. Manual weeding and use of natural pest control measures using neem cake and neem oil is practised. 30% of the requirement of the kitchen is catered from our organic garden.

CONCLUSION:

The measures that the management CovaiCare has taken and, which we support whole-heartedly has contributed a lot for all of us to lead a healthy life, increased longevity and above all, in a small way, we are fighting against climate change.

So what if we are senior citizens? We understand our responsibilities and our duty and want to leave Planet earth a healthy place for generations which would follow us.

I am a proud resident of Covai S3 Retirement Communities and incidentally, part of “Natural Resource Saving Exercise” being implemented by the Managing Director of Covai Property Centre (I) Pvt Ltd, Colonel A Sridharan, VSM (Retd) who himself is a Nature Conservationist.

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