Our Organisational Experiments towards Zero Waste

Contributor: Shashank 

As we come to a close of 2018, reflecting on several aspects of us evolving and getting more rooted - what enabled it and what became a barrier.
In these times, even personal change is radical as it has become increasingly difficult to take charge of our own lives given the technocracy indoctrinating our lives. Youth Alliance has been blessed with a community that stands firm and continuously enables personal change as well as collective.
Sharing about 11 organizational experiments that we began towards a zero waste being - all these experiments in our office space and work culture have emerged naturally from the being of the people involved. There are no policies written, no strategies made and no budgets put aside.
1. Composting in Office 

Post EarthShastra, it was almost natural to set up compost pots in office to reduce our waste by over 70% with simply some space and two pots. No smells, no insects - only some sometimes - part of the living system ;) Such a joy …

A song to awaken the modern human self?

I have enjoyed this song since Masan came, but last Saturday it occured to me in absolutely different tune. I kind of peeled another layer and a new meaning became visible to me through the song.

For me this song, in a simple yet profound way summarises the predicament
of the modern human selves,
the self which is in incessant pursuit. a search for infinite in the finite world  a search for happiness in material wealth.
Not realising that wealth comes from well being and well-being is a state of being and so is happiness.
The world has always been an illusionary reality
to seek its true meaning, one would need to go beyond it

Modernity with its sophisticated ways
has just expanded its influence on the selves
In a way that we are always running
And yet getting nowhere.

This song showed the mirror to me
See if it does to you?
If yes, we will sing it along..
Here's the song, lean in..listen.

Beginning with setting the metaphor of musk deer, the song sets the context of modern selves.

Make circular our design principle?

Was wondering how marvellously found ways to break that cyclic, interconnected systems in nature. Some instances: Fruits
Ever wondered why plants and trees put in so much effort to make fruits - juicy, tasty, beautiful? Fruits hold their children. In seeds. So whoever eats the fruits whether insects, birds, animals, humans - they are expected to drop seeds in the soil to let new plants emerge. Better still to drop them in the soil with a wrapping of manure (their poop).  Today, humans and human systems tend to not do that. When we eat fruits, it doesn't occur to us to hod the responsibility of dropping the seeds in the soil.
Excreta is a great way of returning nutrients to the soil along with some carbon.  Decade after decade we have learnt to create large systems of drainage (if at all) that make it difficult for the nutrients to go back to soil. And we take it to a point, where sewage become a havoc to manage.
You can guess, they are made attractive to enable pollina…

What would a thriving rural space look like?

I consider myself really fortunate to have travelled to many parts of the country - deep travel and in some cases immersion. Our team at Youth Alliance just returned from Kanpur Dehat (rural) after having facilitated the 9th immersive journey of Gramya Manthan for 28 young people from all over the country.
Let me give a quick context of the region - located in the heart of India’s largest (population-wise) state, about 20 kms off India’s oldest highway (Grand Trunk Road built in 1500s) and about 20 kms off India’s largest river (Ganga), the three villages - Kharagpur, Palia and Ganga Din Nevada are Hindu-dominated, caste-divided, mostly agriculture and animal husbandry dependent. Electricity and toilets have just made mere beginnings. Two of them do not have electricity at all. We have been utterly grateful for the people in these villages, to have given us so much love, acceptance and forgave us for our unconscious mistakes. 

Since 2012 when we began doing Gramya Manthan - my own abili…

Reflecting and Making sense of Earth-Shastra

Let me begin from a year ago, when we first thought of doing this work. We had deep care for the environment and we had our own set of experiences that brought us on the exploration of the relationship with ecology that we, humans share. But there were a few things that stood against us, we thought:

We are all young born and/or grew up in post liberalisation era India, grew up to be consumers as one strong identity. This means less connection to the cultural roots of how Indian society in different context has been organised. Secondly, we are seeking to understand and harmonise the relationship between between economics and ecology. And none of us have had any technical background in the field of economics. Notice the word, relationship here - we will come back to it later.

With grit, we decided to dive in and allowed the water to teach us how to swim. Harvesting tea leaves with rains and songs playing a tune meant good community.
Days before Earth-Shastra program began, we met Ravi Bha…