The last issue of the Scientific American India carries the title story of 12 things which can change the world, but probably may not. Interesting stuff. And they also mention how likely these are to occur. Some are imminent, others not so. Anyway, one of the things which could change the world as we know it is superconductivity at normal temperatures. Now, superconductivity surely reminds of the old Ajit joke (one doesnt really know if this was ever a dialogue in a movie or not, but thats not really the point, is it) … 

Put him in liquid nitrogen … he will become a superconductor, and keep giving out bus tickets all his life.

Anyone who hasn’t heard that one can please ignore it, and just read on. Because what I am writing about is superconductivity, not Ajit jokes, nice as they are. Actually not superconductivity, either (I don’t know much about it, but then that doesn’t stop me writing … hey, if I were to write only about things I knew about, I wouldn’t write about anything). What I am writing about is sustainability. Well, this article talks about how superconductivity can change the world by enabling us to be able to carry large amounts of electricity from areas where it can be easily generated with renewable sources, to areas where it probably cannot be, easily, this being a way we can tackle global warming by using natural, renewable resources wherever they are available, creating power from there, and transporting it to where its deficient.

This is an interesting way to manage the scenario we find ourselves in. I feel the approach we need to take needs to be more local in nature. Now, I am not saying there is anything wrong with them. Far from it, for I am don’t know enough to have an opinion on this. What I am talking about is looking at the option of self-help, local participation utilizing renewable energy. And here I am not just talking about energy from renewable sources, but the whole idea of sustainable growth.

Take India for example. Different parts of the country are suitable positioned to harness renewable energy in different ways. The northern part of the country, for example, could amply look at solar energy, while the hills might do better to generate energy through tapping wind power. The point I am trying to make is simple. We probably need to look at initiatives at the local level, with much more participation from village panchayats in development of alternative means of generating energy, conserving the forest cover, or the water table. After all, there is a wealth of common-sense methods which have been handed down from generation to generation, which I suppose have proven benefits over the centuries. In addition, these methods also have the merit of getting buy-in from the people who are immediately impacted by some of these measures, making them all the easier to implement. And in the process, come up with initiatives which are culturally more acceptable to the people.


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