30 Jun 2015

Teaming Up To Bring Renewable Energy to India

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Solar_panels

India, under Prime Minister Narenda Modi, is making renewable energy a priority for the future. Modi’s latest investment in the renewable energy industry is part of a $20 billion joint venture between Foxconn Technology, Softbank and Bharti Enterprises to make renewable energy a reality in the impoverished country.

Before the proposal to increase output was accepted by India’s cabinet, the target for solar capacity by 2022 was 20 gigawatts. The new, more aggressive timeline, has pushed the target to 100 gigawatts by 2022. This means India will have have to add more solar energy capacity than the United States has in recent years.

However, many look at India with skepticism and don’t believe they will be able to meet their goals. Even with the the heightened enthusiasm in renewable energy, India installed only about a third of the annual capacity needed to hit their 2022 goal in the last year and a half. However, because of eased legal restrictions and increased financing many believe the ambitious timeline is feasible.

The joint venture in Indian solar power requires a lot of foreign investment and the plan and timeline are not yet complete. U.S. and Chinese companies alike are committing to investments in renewables for the country.

In an effort to achieve their goals, India has allowed for investments to be made entirely by companies outside of India specifically for renewable energy. Regardless, most companies prefer partnering with Indian companies to help navigate the country’s political and legal landscape.

This endeavor will make India into one of the top countries for renewable energy. And it is coming at an important time. People are coming out of poverty and India’s economy is growing quickly and demand for energy is growing with it. With foreign investment and Modi’s commitment, an India on renewable energy is becoming a reality.

20 May 2015

Organizations Helping the Nepalese

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NASA_Landsat_7_Nepal

On April 25th , 2015 Nepal experienced a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Gorkha. The capital city of Kathmandu is nearby and was completely devastated. Slowly the numbers came in on the extent of the damage. 8,000 people died and many more were injured.

There has been a flow of support from aid agencies, the federal government and a number of high profile philanthropists. Many have said that volunteer support is welcome but money is needed in the impoverished nation.

Nepal sits on the just northeast of India and has never been a wealthy country. It is a small country and the epicenter of the earthquake was in the center, so the entire country is hurting from the quake.

Communication was down in the country for weeks, but organizations across the world have been stepping in to help aid the Nepalese. The American Red Cross is working with The Red Cross in Nepal to organize efforts to make sure every dollar is maximized.

Save the Children is another organization that is getting involved in a big way. They have had a presence in Nepal for almost 40 years and was able to make an immediate impact because of how well they know the country. Save the Children immediately sent a medical team and a crew whose first priority was ensuring safe drinking water for everyone. They are also saving money prepare for future earthquakes.

Online social networks and crowdsourcing are helping out as well. Crowdrise had more than ten fundraisers running almost immediately after the earthquake happened. Global Giving has raised over a million dollars for Nepal.

Oxfam is helping by sending a team of tech experts from around the world to help with rebuilding and helping to avoid another catastrophe like this. If you are in any of the biggest cities in India there are offices for Goonj, a relief agency, that are accepting donations to help our Nepalese neighbors.

 

 

26 Mar 2015

The Charities Trying To Solve Water Crises In India

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Water is the most important resource in the world, and it is quickly becoming scarce. Southern California is seeing a very serious drought and may be out of water in the next few years. But there are many people throughout the world that haven’t had access to clean drinking water for their entire lives. More than 10% of people throughout the world don’t have access to clean drinking water. In India, 9% of people lack access to clean water despite the rapidly growing economy. According to the World Bank, 21% of communicable diseases result from dirty water.

Clean India Water Resource

But there are many charities that are trying to solve this very problem in some innovative ways. Here are some of those charities.

Water.org

By working with partners and stakeholders in each community, Water.org is able to create long-term solutions to water crises. Water.org works in communities in 11 different states in India, both rural and urban.

Charity:Water

Charity:Water is all about water technology. By leveraging the newest technology available and some old and effective technologies, the charity is able to help the India’s poor improve their health.

Columbia Water Center (CWC)

The CWC is affiliated with Columbia University and has contributed a lot of research on the problem of water access in India. They are working with Indian officials to address the problem on a macro scale.

WaterIsLife

The Straw, which has helped countless of poor communities across the world drink clean water from disease ridden water, is a WaterIsLife product. They also teach hygiene to poor communities.

Just A Drop

Just A Drop works with state and local governments in India to implement smart, targeted water programs for India villages. By working with governments and other NGOs they have had many successful campaigns.

The Water Project

The Water Project takes a holistic approach to water conservation in India to help long-term availability and to help Indians take advantage of the water resources that are available.

 

27 Feb 2015

Some Interesting Facts About India

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Home to a vibrant culture, India is one of the fastest growing economies but little is known about the emerging country.

bodoland-india

India has the second-largest population in the world. 

India is home to over 1.2 billion people. They are projected to pass China in population by 2025.

India is home to the biggest school in the world.

City Montessori School in India has over 1,000 classrooms to accommodate over 45,000 students. Its staff alone is made up of over 3800.

Home to the biggest public book fair.

Kolkata book fair attracts 2.5 million people per year from all over the world.

Indians are big whiskey drinkers.

India accounts for 17.5% of the world’s population but 50% of its whiskey consumption.

It is illegal to import or export the Indian rupee.

Both Indians and foreigners must change their rupees to another currency before leaving the country.

India has the 8th most multi-millionaires in the world.

India also has millions of millionaires, but more than half of Indians live on less than $2 a day.

Dancing is an important art-form.

Dancing is very important in India and is known for making use of the hands.

Indian films are primarily musicals.

While the Bollywood films cover a wide range of topics they often have some song and dance numbers.

Cows are considered sacred.

You can even see cows walking the city streets in India.

Chess started in India.

The earliest predecessor to chess can be traced back to India 1,500 years ago.

India leads the world in banana exports.

Brazil is second to India in banana exports.

The vast majority of Indians practice Hinduism.

Even though India is home to the third largest Muslim population, over 80% of the population practice Hinduism.

Hockey is the national sport.

Field Hockey is the national sport but Cricket is by far the most popular sport in the country.

06 Feb 2015

Getting Medicine in India

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india-colors-dr-lopa-gupta

India has one of the largest pharmaceutical industries in the world and supplies low-cost medicine to countries around the world, but it works much differently than in the United States. In 1970, the Indian government stopped honoring patents for food and drugs. With such a large poor population many see this as a necessity to be able to provide inexpensive drugs to those that need them.

After this law was enacted, large companies didn’t see India as a great investment and pulled out, while the Indians mastered the art of reverse-engineering medicines. There is still some innovation in creating new pharmaceuticals but the market for these inexpensive drugs continues to grow quickly.

President Obama recently paid a visit to India and has urged the Indian government to adopt patent intellectual property laws that mirror those of the United States but this may have far-reaching consequences. This would price millions of people in India out of being able to purchase these drugs. Tuberculosis, for example, is a huge problem in developing countries like India and these drugs help combat it. India also sells affordable pharmaceuticals around the world so millions of these people would not be able to afford the drugs they need either.

Medicine Without Borders (MSF) has got involved as well after reading a draft of new intellectual property regulations. The United States has been pressuring the government to adopt more stringent patent protections to spur innovation but MSF contends that more stringent patent protections actually hurt innovation and pointed to numerous studies supporting this.