The Edition 8 of ‘Sustainability Drinks’ the event was themed around ‘Renewable Energy’ and brought together green enthusiasts and activists to Bangalore’s Humming Tree. RJ Vijaya was in attendance during the first segment of the evening that featured sustainability entrepreneurs speaking about their respective ventures.
The first speaker in the ‘Spotlight’ section was Sanjna Ullal, who is an Economics graduate from Christ University. Currently engaged with VNV Advisory Services as an outreach associate, she handles the communication for all VNV projects. Her areas of concern are rural energy access for cleaning, cooking, social forestry, water and sustainable agriculture. VNV has been at the forefront working in the fields of climate change and livelihood for the past ten years.
Sanjna’s presentation was on Energy with a Rural Perspective. “One of the first lessons that we learn in Economics is that there is a difference between growth and development,” she began. Growth is the increase in production, consumption, and income, or in the growth rate/ GDP of the country. Whereas ‘development’ is not just economic but also social, inclusive of health, energy access, and education. Some of VNV’s projects include solar panel set-ups in hostels and solar lamps for young students, treadle pumps, more efficient cooking stoves and solar light bulbs.
Ambika Balraj is Sanjna’s colleague at VNV and was at the event as well. Primarily, the organisation focuses on challenges faced by different communities as a result of climate change. The team works on identifying technologies that can help improve their livelihoods. Most of their projects focus on social benefits as well as environmental rewards. “We have our own carbon credit project and Oak project in Uttarakhand; the community was actually involved in the plantation of Oak. Working with the community and educating its members are huge parts of this project. Since we are a developing nation and we do need energy sources to develop our economy, we should start using renewable resources,” says Ambika.
The next speaker of the evening was Nagakarthik Mp, who is an electrical engineer by training. He is the co-founder at Saura Mandala. The initiative aims to get sustainable solar power to remote communities across India. He has been a volunteer teacher at the Haji Public School in Breswana in Jammu and Kashmir. Saura Mandala has come up with the idea of providing basic energy supply in this village so as to help put a more effective education system in place and to help build a backbone set-up to benefit small enterprises. The first project is currently raising funds to provide solar power smart classrooms at the Haji Public School.
Written by Chirashree Shil.