Gobar Times
Letters

Letters

Dear Pandit ji,

I am planning to build a house using mud. I am looking for architects who make this kind of houses. Kindly provide some contact details of architects who are dealing with this in Karnataka or Tamil Nadu.

Subramani
Engineering Manager - Hardware TACO Sasken Automotive Electronics Pvt Ltd Madiwala, Bangalore

Dear Subramani ji,
Gobar Times has done an entire issue on mud housing. Here is the link: http://www.gobartimes.org/gt20030315/gt_covfeature.htm
You will find all the information youneed. For more, you may check out these websites: Laurie Baker’s official website Web: http://lauriebaker.net/ Development Alternatives (which has its office building made of mud!): Web: http://www.devalt.org Center for Sustainable Technologies (originally called Application of Science and Technology to Rural Areas - ASTRA): Web: ttp://www.cst.iisc.ernet.in
Auroville Building Centre Web: www.auroville.org

Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd. (HUDCO)
Web: http://www.hudco.org/

Dear Pandit ji,

I recently read a story about a report of the World Bank that said “AIDS can pose a serious threat to the economic and social development of South Asian countries including India, which has chunk of regions HIV infected population”.

I can understand why social development, but can you please explain to me how can economic development get affected?

Manu
Via e-mail

Dear Manu ji,

HIV/AIDS is one of the gravest threats to human health. Regionally, its magnitude is the greatest in sub-Saharan Africa where more than 24 million people are infected with the virus. But India has the largest population living with HIV with over four million people infected.

HIV/AIDS can have devastating effects on household income, food security and nutrition. Let’s take the example of a household whose mainstay is agriculture. When a member in this household falls ill, there is increased spending on health care, decreased productivity and higher demands for care. Food production and income drop dramatically.

As a result, food consumption decreases. Also, women are more vulnerable in AIDS-affected households, and are biologically at

Dear Manu ji,

HIV/AIDS is one of the gravest threats to human health. Regionally, its magnitude is the greatest in sub-Saharan Africa where more than 24 million people are infected with the virus. But India has the largest population living with HIV with over four million people infected. HIV/AIDS can have devastating effects on household income, food security and nutrition. Let’s take the example of a household whose mainstay is agriculture. When a member in this household falls ill, there is increased spending on health care, decreased productivity and higher demands for care. Food production and income drop dramatically. As a result, food consumption decreases. Also, women are more vulnerable in AIDS-affected households, and are biologically at greater risk of being infected. This again increases the food insecurity of the household.

The same holds true for households that are dependent on other sources of income. Reduced productivity and higher expenses on medical care are the direct upshots. And what can happen to a household can happen to an entire nation.

Dear Pandit ji,

Can you please give me some basic information about wildfires?

Saira Khan
Via e-mail

Dear Saira Khan ji,

Wildfires are uncontrolled, nonstructure fires that occur in the wilderness, wildland, or bush. They are common in various parts of the world, occurring in cycles. Nine out of ten wildfires are reportedly caused by some human interaction.

CAUSES
There are various causes, including lightning, arson, volcanic activity, pyroclastic clouds, and underground coal fires. Human activities play a major role in wildfires, as fire is often considered the least expensive way to clear land. Forested areas, which have been cleared by logging, encourages the dominance of flammable grasses.

Forest cover destruction caused during wars is another major reason. For instance, annual grassland fires in South Vietnam are attributed in part to the destruction of forested areas by herbicides, explosives, and mechanical land clearing and burning operations during the Vietnam War.

 

"Dear Pandiji..."

Dear Pandit ji,

Greetings from Aventure InfraSpace Limited, Ahmedabad. With a
sample copy of DTE, we had received a supplement… that was Gobar Times. We found it quite interesting. A very nice and unique effort has been put behind the launch of GT. Really too good! Keep it up and best of luck!

HOW
Less dense material, such as grasses and leaves, are easier to ignite because they contain less water than denser material like branches and trunks. The water lost by plants due to evaporation is usually balanced by water absorbed from the soil, humidity, or rain. When this balance is not aintained, often because of long, hot, dry periods, plants dry out and therefore, become more flammable. Wildfires are common in climates that are sufficiently moist to allow the growth of trees but feature extended dry, hot periods. Some places with this type of climate include the vegetated areas of Australia and south east Asia, the veld in the interior and the fynbos in the Western Cape of South Africa, and the forested areas of the United States and Canada. Fires can be particularly intense during days of strong winds and periods of drought.

Fire prevalence is also high during the summer and autumn months, when fallen branches, leaves, grasses, and scrub dry out and become more flammable.Global warming may increase the intensity and frequency of droughts in many areas, creating more intense and frequent wildfires.

THE GOOD
They are often considered beneficial to the wilderness, as many plant species are dependent on the effects of fire for growth and reproduction. Some plants have evolved to survive fires by a variety of strategies, such as fire-resistant seeds and reserve shoots that sprout after a fire. Smoke, charred wood, and heat are common fire cues that stimulate the germination of seeds.

Grasslands in Western Sabah, Malaysian pine forests, and Indonesian Casuarina forests are believed to have resulted from previous periods of fire. Plants of the genus Eucalyptus contain flammable oils that can encourage fire, and hard sclerophyll leaves to resist heat and drought, ensuring their dominance over less fire-tolerant species.

THE BAD
However, large wildfires often have detrimental consequences. Wildfires generate ash, destroy available organic nutrients, and cause an increase in water runoff, eroding away other nutrients and creating flash flood conditions. The increased fire frequency in areas, such as the chaparral in southern California andlower elevation deserts in the American Southwest, has caused the elimination of native plant communities and have replaced them with non-native weeds. Invading species such as Lygodium microphyllum and Bromus tectorum may increase fire frequency even more. Also, wildfires can have an effect on climate change, increasing the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere and inhibiting vegetation growth, which affects overall carbon uptake by plants.

Prevention, detection, and suppression strategies have varied over the years, but now incorporate techniques that permit and even encourage fires in some regions.

However, with extensive urbanisation of wilderness, wildfires often involve the destruction of homes and other property located in the ‘wildland-urban interface’, a zone of transition between developed areas and undeveloped wilderness.

 

 

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Letters