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   Women in Green
Reviewed by Sudhirendar Sharma
07 Jan 2010

Through the green lens

The read sweat of a hippopotamus offers UV protection. The fuzzy side of a leaf can retain water. Purple leaves may be sunscreen for new growth or an adaptation to harvest low light near the forest floor. A seabird known as the Brown Booby has something called a 'gular patch' at its throat that it can move without using any muscles - inspiration for an energy-efficient ventilation device? "Nature's pattern book is endless", says Dayna Baumeister. "She has been around for four billion years and has figured out few things first." In writing Women in Green, the authors have drawn from conversations with nearly 200 women architects, designers, activists, writers, educators and students - Baumeister being one amongst them.

The outcome is amazing: a transformative, inspiring and thoughtful book. In their ground-breaking work, authors Kira Gould and Lance Hosey have spent hours conversing with women of substance in outlining the fact that future of sustainability will depend on women and the perspectives they bring to the field. This book is less about the 'ascendancy of women' than it is about the growing value of those sensibilities commonly associated with women. What makes this book distinct is that the authors do not characterize their work as feminist - they seem reluctant to embrace terms that smack of intellectual rigidity.

In their conversations, the authors explore the reason behind women having a particular 'point of view'. Is it because women are right-brained and nurturing? Jane Jacobs, well-known green writer, debunks seeing poverty as a pathology that should be treated, suggesting instead that we look at how to create wealth. This is a typical female approach: Jane looked at things that worked, rather than things that did not. Women in Green is packed with incredible wisdom, a book full of stories of creativity and common sense. This immensely readable book makes it amply clear that there is indeed a 'better half' with a far 'better viewpoint'.

Women in Green: Voices of Sustainable Design by Kira Gould and Lance Hosey, Ecotone Publishing, Canada , 233 pages, US$ 24.95

 Other books reviewed by Dr Sudhirendar Sharma
Features > Book Shelf
Spoiling Tibet
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

A Journey in the Future of Water
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

Yamuna Manifesto
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

Lead View
People, Partition and the Pain
By Rina Mukherji
15 Aug 2013

Dr Jayanti Basu's book analyzes the complex feelings of hatred and longing for the homeland that have contributed to shaping the personalities of a generation of people who were forced to ..
Book Shelf

Yamuna Manifesto

A Journey in the Future of Water

Spoiling Tibet

On Western Terrorism
Devinder Sharma
Carmen Miranda
Pandurang Hegde
Sudhirendar Sharma
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