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Happy National Puppy Day!

Happy National Puppy Day in the United States to all.

Sending love to all the puppies and their parents out there, and a special shout out to our cuz and her husband,¬† who recently became puppy parents ūüôā

Have a great weekend all!


Translating nature based solutions for urban areas


A leaking wastewater pipeline

<5 mins read, approx. 500 words

This year’s World Water Day’s theme is nature based solutions to reduce floods, droughts and water pollution. The theme ‘Nature for Water’ urges us to explore solutions already available in nature because when ecosystems are ignored, it becomes harder to achieve water for all and explains how we can use nature to overcome the water challenges of the 21st century.

How does it translate in terms of our rapidly urbanizing world, where nature or nature based solutions for that matter are hard to come by? Here are a few facts to look at while we consider this:

Many cities across the world are in fact turning to green infrastructure solutions that utilize nature‚Äôs ecosystem services in the management of water resources and associated climatic risks. Despite this knowledge and application in cities (like Melbourne, Vancouver and Los Angeles), Phoenix, the fifth largest city in the US, has been rated as ‘the world’s least sustainable city.

If the cities in the US are being rated this way, then definitely the situation could be pretty grim for African, LatAm and Asian Cities. A paper recently examined the links between urban planning and the politics of water provisioning and violence and conflict and corruption in people‚Äôs lives by drawing upon research in a low-income locality in Ahmedabad, India, a relatively more advanced and progressive city in India. This is not only the case in Ahmedabad, as India’s capital city of Delhi has never been able to alleviate its water woes along with the other metropolitan cities of Chennai and Bangalore. Karachi, Pakistan is also not far behind.

In conclusion: Cities around the world are continually growing as they attract people, resources and ideas, and are drivers of global and national development. This is especially evident in countries like India, where by 2030, 70% of the GDP and 70% of new jobs will come from cities. Green infrastructure could provide the much needed nature based solutions (Improved water quality, Reduced potential for flooding, Enhanced resilience to climate change, Reduced sewer infrastructure cost, Increased green space for communities and wildlife to name a few) for our urban environs if human centric approaches are at the center of the planning process.


Its World Water Day. How can you get involved?

Happy Spring Everyone!

This article Translating nature based solutions for urban areas first appeared on theflipsideofdevelopmentdotwordpressdotcome

What’s next? 5B by 2025, without water



5 mins read with approx. 455 words

A new report by the United Nations warns that 5 billion people could suffer water shortages by 2050 due to

The World Water Development Report, notes that the global demand for water has increased sixfold in the last 100 years, and is predicted to grow at a rate of 1%/year. Humans use about 4,600 cubic km of water every year, of which 70% goes to agriculture, 20% to industry and 10% to households, says the report, which was launched at the start of the triennial World Water Forum. Global demand has increased sixfold over the past 100 years and continues to grow at the rate of 1% each year. Combine water with the demand for (or absence of) food and energy and you have a great mix of burnt being born by the poor in both urban and rural settings, women and children especially.

In conclusion: Applying a silver bullet to combat water scarcity and related issues in the longer run has never worked and never will.  Human centered design and implementation approaches can provide a pathway to alleviate this looming water crisis.

From Facebook to not my Facebook: 

Since the beginning of 2018, the Book’s Face seems to have been shadowed by headlines such as the one from yesterday, which actually managed to bring down the entire stock market a bit. We would think that the social media has lost its steam. Not so fast. Even after these grim headlines, in the US 68% adults use Facebook everyday and worldwide over 2B people log in everyday.

Personally, after having quit posting anything personal on social media for many years now, I have felt the kind of relief and found the time that I never thought existed. I don’t think that the social media feed is my most prized possession anymore, I don’t have to be on top of the notifications, respond to the likes and comments like a maniac and so on. One of my favorite blogs’ author, also warned recently that how “login with Facebook for free wifi” hotspots grab your IMEI code (off of your phone) and then track you in the store and all other spots where you might walk (without using wifi), so those stores can target ads at you based on the your Facebook profile ( since I don’t have the time to read the entire content of “I agree”?)

In conclusion: Its the International Day of Happiness and Spring Equinox. Today. In our HH, we have a 12 hour curfew for devices. Try it and you might be surprised at how much fun it is to listen to a song in its entirety or have a meal with a family without any interruptions or mediate/workout/do yoga or be able to read and turn a few more pages of that paperback in your book shelf. True happiness and bliss!

Making the world “plastic free” cont.


Who is buying this? ©

I cannot believe that I wrote only yesterday about making the world plastic free and this article came out today!

Scientists at the State University of New York analyzed 259 bottled water samples from 19 locations in nine countries and found that more than 90 percent contained tiny plastic fibers. On average, the study discovered 325 plastic particles for every litre of water being sold.

In response to the findings, the WHO is launching a review into the potential risks of plastic in drinking water. In one bottle of Nestlé Pure Life, concentrations were as high as 10,000 plastic pieces per litre of water. Of the 259 bottles tested, only 17 were free of plastics, according to the study.

More than 19 billion pounds of garbage ends up in our oceans every year, a great percentage coming from soda bottles and plastic bags. This number is expected to rise 100% by 2025 while according to the President of the United Nations, by 2050 there will be as much plastic in the ocean as fish, weight-wise. It is beyond imagination that every piece of plastic ever made is still out there, since only a fraction is recycled.

In conclusion: Plastic has proved to be a necessary evil for modern civilization but the ubiquity of plastics in the environment also means that microplastics ( a relatively fancier way to refer to the plastic fibers) can be found at every level in the supply chain of even the most highly treated products. We can contribute significantly by doing small everyday changes like bringing your own grocery bags to the stores, drinking less or no soda and carrying a refillable water bottle all the time.

Making the world “plastic free”

Screen Shot 2018-03-15 at 4.42.35 PM

The world’s first plastic-free supermarket aisle in Amsterdam. Photograph: Ewout Huibers/PA via TheGuardianUK

My favorite environment economist, shared this article today on his blog,¬†about a small wave of¬†news reports¬†on the “plastic free” aisle installed in a Dutch health foods store. He even rode his bike to visit the facility and provide his feedback on the same.

He notes that , “the “aisle” (in what used to be a bike parking garage) is just a collection of foods packaged in glass, “bio-plastic” or nothing at all. That’s not revolutionary.”

And goes on to say that “the “plastic free aisle” also has a “Bluewater” kiosk outside that is supposed to reduce the use of single-serve plastic bottles by giving you a place to fill your reusable (plastic or metal) bottle. Although this is a nice idea, I think that the kiosk probably represents a negative environmental impact, given Amsterdam’s excellent tap water quality. It seems to be there as a giant advertisement for “buy our water filtering product. Fail.”

This is sadly the reality that I wrote about a few years ago on the mentality of folks buying bottled water for drinking in NYC. The Department of Environment in NYC spends millions of dollars annually to maintain the excellent drinking water quality (also called as New York City Filtration Avoidance Determination). However, I have not been able to influence friends, families and neighbors to stop buying bottled water for drinking even after sharing these facts with them.

These kiosks, water vending machines and so on, might be a good option in places like India and Kenya where the potable water is a day to day challenge for the community living, especially women and children.

In conclusion, the author writes in his blog post that the kiosk has now been removed (“Update: It’s gone! Yay!”).

I wish I could rejoice in the same way, if everyone I knew stopped buying bottled water for potable purpose. Alas!

In Conclusion: The above argument is for the consumers buying the bottled water for drinking, however to reduce the plastic use the step might be to impose taxes at its very origin and then at every step of the way in the supply chain. But then again, I am charged a .5c bottle fee, whenever I buy a glass bottle from a grocery store. Our favorite brand of iced tea also recently stopped serving the beverage in glass bottles and caused quite a stir. They made a point by stating that their switching to plastic bottles has a better cost benefit implication for the consumers as well and has a much smaller environmental footprint than its glass counterpart.

Almost 6 years old but still relevant, especially today



I have written since mid 2011 about how women and young girls centered water programs are imperative. This is even more invaluable now than ever as 2018 has been a very significant year for women all through out the world.

Back in 2003, when I had started working in the development sector in my hometown in India,  pictures like the one below and especially, working with the ladies in such situations, is what truly motivated me to continue addressing the issue of gender and water. As a woman myself, I definitely felt extremely lonely as there was no gender diversity in my team in the small grassroots nonprofit that I was a part of. Even the women that I used to work with in the community used to exclaim at the absence of gender diversity in the field generally. Its very heartening to see that has definitely changed since then, as a lot of grassroots nonprofits are making sure that they hire enough women team members to strike the balance, even in my hometown.


As costliest as it gets- A women carrying water over head in rural India

Sadly, in India and most developing nations, the reality even today is that most women and girls’ day starts with water by fetching, storing, conserving and managing it at home and ends with water too, when they fill the water for the potable usage at night by the family members and early morning the next day.

I have written about it more than 6 six years ago and sadly, little has changed or improved.

This Women’s Day 2018, we should admire the women from all walks of life, who have come together to #PressForProgress by successfully managing water, the driver of life.

I have tried to contribute in my own way by making connections between partnering organizations from the US to the grassroots nonprofits in my hometown and bring some respite to the women there.

May we know them, may we admire them and may we be them in doing so..

Last post for 2017.

Jamaica at sunset Nov.2017

Goodbye 2017, hello 2018 ©Rohith Roy

With the catastrophic events of floods, water crisis, hurricanes, forest fires and cholera epidemic, 2017 has left the world with billions of dollars in damages and hundreds of thousands of people left suffering in the wake of these disasters.

Del pollution Nov.2016

Air pollution in Dehi circa Nov. 2016 ©Rohith Roy

One of my personal favorite water stories from 2017,¬† is India using anti smog water cannon to combat the toxic air pollution in the nation’s capital, Delhi.

Continuation of actions and highlighting the issues in 2018:

Water and Sanitation (WASH) shall be again the highlight of 2018. Governments across the world, from China and India to South Africa and the US, have to resort to extreme measures and innovative actions to prepare for the future.

Thank you all for continuing to visit and read this blog and sending in suggestions to improve it. Stay tuned for more blog posts in the new year. Wishing you all a very happy and successful 2018!


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