Climate Migration: A Growing Crisis We Cannot Ignore

Growing up in Chennai all my life, I have witnessed several cyclones, heavy rains, a tsunami, an earthquake, and a couple of floods (2015 being the worst), and I have heard of more such disasters across India. I have internalised an anxiety which forces me to anticipate a disastrous flashfood every November. I always have this nagging scare about what if I am forced out of my home one day and subjected to sudden poverty.

What if the home I invest in for my retirement becomes unliveable because of climate change-induced disasters? What of my hard-earned money and savings? I realised these are very first-world worries (not because I will invest in a safe space that may never have a threat but because unimaginable worse is happening around me). 

Climate-induced disasters are displacing COMMUNITIES right now, and the damage done to a place once people called home is irreversible (or at least considering how our world governments are progressing with repair and repatriation, we can assume it is irreversible for now). 

Climate migration is when people are forced to leave their homes due to the effects of climate change. It’s happening because of issues like extreme weather events, droughts, and sea-level rise – all consequences of our changing climate.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that over the next three decades, around 143 million people will have to leave their homes because of climate change. 

Take, for instance, the heartbreaking story of Pakistani migrants who lost their lives at sea while trying to escape the impact of severe flooding in their country. These are real people facing dire situations and making tough choices to secure a better future. The recent earthquake in Morocco and the flooding in Libya are driving many people to cross borders.

India is another example. It experiences a significant number of displacements each year due to various calamities. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre IDMC) reports that 14 million people in India have been forced to leave their homes for climate-related reasons.

Many of these climate migrants are heading to cities for jobs and shelter. In 2022 alone, more than 100 million people were forcibly displaced, and experts predict that by 2050, a staggering 1.2 billion more may be on the move because of climate disasters.

Now, consider the challenges that this massive migration presents. Many places becoming destinations for climate migrants lack the infrastructure, policies, and resources to accommodate such a sudden influx of people — straining local communities and resources.

In 2022, countries like Pakistan, the Philippines, China, India, and Nigeria saw the most internal displacements due to disasters. In South Asia alone, 3.3 million people were internally displaced because of climate-related disasters.

One startling fact is that about 40% of the world’s population, or 3.5 billion people, live in areas highly vulnerable to climate change. They deal with water scarcity, droughts, extreme heat, sea-level rise, and catastrophic events like floods and cyclones. It’s a crisis affecting millions.

The harsh reality is that the Global South is disproportionately affected by climate change, even though they have contributed the least to the problem. For instance, the United Nations predicts that Africa will experience severe water shortages, displacing hundreds of millions by 2030.

Why is this happening? It’s because many developing nations face challenges like limited resources, outdated infrastructure, and ongoing conflicts that make them more susceptible to the impacts of climate change.

So, the big question is, where will people migrating from their home countries find refuge? It’s not just a problem for other countries to solve; it’s a global responsibility. We all need to step up and help those in need.

For instance, The Gross Domestic Climate Risk Ranking of 2600 territories reported that India and the United States have 80% of the world’s most vulnerable areas. Many residents might not realise the risks of living in these high-risk zones.

So, what can we do about climate migration? 

Sure, we can throw around buzzwords like “reducing emissions” and “better policies” or say we should provide “legal aid” to refugees. But here’s the thing: most people aren’t even aware that these crises are happening around us.

What we need is a massive wave of advocacy and civic action. We’re talking about regular folks like you and me coming together and making our voices heard on a grand scale. We must push our governments to prioritise real solutions over petty politics and surface-level gestures that might look good but don’t do much.

Imagine if millions of us started demanding action if we made it clear that we wouldn’t stand by while communities suffer. That’s when we’ll see the kind of change that truly makes a difference.


This article was strategised and written by Deepa Sai



Exploring Biophilic design: A Concept for Making Sustainable Buildings

In recent weeks, our journey into sustainable architecture has delved into inspiring instances of eco-conscious living spaces around the globe and closer to our home country. Yet, as we stand on the precipice of tomorrow, the responsibility lies upon present and future students to not just construct structures, but to build living spaces that blend innovation with the natural world.

Amidst this quest for sustainable marvels, one concept gleams like a beacon of hope: Biophilic Design. Edward O. Wilson, a famous biologist in 1984, spoke about Biophilia as a profound human connection towards nature.¹ This approach inspired the well-known Biophilic Design concept in architectural schools, where living spaces are constructed by incorporating natural elements, fostering well-being, productivity, and sustainability.

The biophilic design integrates nature into the built environment through materials like wood and plants, natural views, ample light, and soothing sounds. Its advantages include stress reduction, enhanced mood, creativity, cognitive function, healing, and decreased absenteeism.

Delving into biophilic design, Singapore is a prime example of its transformative power. The country stands true to its name, ‘City in a Garden’, and if you happen to visit this country, just like I did back in 2019, you will be able to appreciate the integration of biophilic principles and green architecture. In this article, I discuss one particular biophilic home — Kampung Admiralty.

Figure 1 : The vast greenery that is incorporated into Kampung Admirality, Singapore¹

Biophilic Homes in Singapore: Kampung Admiralty

The Kampung Admiralty is a ground-breaking biophilic architectural marvel nestled within the vibrant urban landscape of Singapore. Within Kampung Admiralty, there is a harmonious blend of residential units, medical facilities, shops, and community spaces. This intentional mix creates a self-sustained ecosystem where residents can access essential services while remaining deeply connected to nature.

Designed with the essence of a ‘Kampung’, a traditional word for village, the building redefines the concept of community living by seamlessly merging nature, sustainability, and social harmony. At the heart of Kampung Admiralty lies a lush central plaza adorned with native plants, trees, and water features. This oasis serves as a meeting point, encouraging social interaction and relaxation amidst a natural setting. Offering panoramic views of the city is the rooftop garden, acting as a shared space for leisure, exercise, and communal activities and is one of this architectural marvel’s many sustainable and Biophilic elements.²

The Future of Built Environments

Biophilic design is a remarkable idea that holds incredible promise for crafting sustainable and eco-friendly living spaces that beautifully blend our ingenuity with the natural world. It’s about creating environments that not only meet our practical needs but also nurture our well-being.

Imagine living or working in spaces that reduce stress, boost your mood, supercharge productivity, sharpen cognitive function, and even promote healing. That’s the magic of biophilic design. It seamlessly merges the beauty of nature with the principles of sustainability and social harmony.

Take Singapore, for instance. It’s a shining example of how biophilic design can transform a cityscape. Think of groundbreaking structures like Kampung Admiralty, Jewel Changi Airport, Park Royal on Pickering,Oasis Hotel Downtown, Henderson Waves bridge, Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park or Gardens by the Bay . These buildings are setting entirely new standards in sustainable architecture.

In today’s world, as we look ahead, embracing biophilic design is more critical than ever. It’s a way for us to create living spaces that not only serve our needs but also safeguard and cherish the environment. So, whether you’re an architect, a homeowner, or simply someone who cares about the future of our planet, biophilic design is a path worth exploring and embracing.


The article was strategised by Deepa Sai, founder of ecoHQ

The article was authored by Jenifer F Dsouza, an environmental consultant with an M.S. degree from The University of Manchester, U.K. She has over seven years of experience in water technologies and is an ESG consultant. She advocates for environmental consciousness and is a content and technical writer for ecological issues. She has authored 11 peer-reviewed journals during her academic research with collaborative projects with MIT University, Boston.


  1. Reflections from the biophilic cities Singapore Summit, Biophilic Cities,
  2. Biophilic Architecture in Singapore — Ep 115, Youtube Video,

The G20 2023 Summit at India

This weekend, India is hosting the 18th G20 Summit 2023, themed ‘One Earth – One Family -One Future’, with a clear message glaring right back at us: Sustainability! 

Of course, we also have prioritised climate finance, green development, UN’s SDGs and low-carbon technologies for the agenda. 

Here are some points to note based on my quick research; please download the table to follow my comparison:

  1. Australia (belonging to the global north) is the second-largest country relying on fossil fuel, yet its potential for green transition is far from the top 10.
  2. China and India (considered historical polluters) are emerging economies, the most populous countries — heavily dependent on fossil fuels — but are leading the renewable energy transition. 
  3. The US belongs to the global north, has been a historical polluter and a colonising nation, the third largest country in the world, but the population is nowhere close to that of India or China. It is a developed, industrialised country consuming the most energy from fossil fuels but is now leading the renewable energy transition.
  4. The worst-case scenarios are France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Japan and some countries belonging to the EU with heavy reliance on fossil fuels. At least Japan and Germany are in the top 10 when we look at renewable energy powers of the world. Also, countries in the EU like Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, and Finland make the ‘green’ news; we cannot negate that.
  5. Having been colonised, Brazil (belonging to the global south) is now an emerging economy, 5th largest country globally, ranking third for renewable energy capacity.

The irony is that countries that colonised and plundered many nations without giving them any chance at resilience from economic shocks, human-caused climate change, and climate disasters are deciding on pathways to transition to sustainable development. These countries also underwent a massive industrial revolution (with heavy reliance on fossil fuels, rolling on a ridiculous amount of wealth) and caused historical pollution. They should be making decisions about how they can redeem themselves, however:

  1. Countries heavily dependent on fossil fuels (causing global warming) must not make other countries pay and are not entitled to speak for countries that aren’t polluting so much. However, most front-line countries (belonging to the global south) do not have a seat at the table. At least, some, like China and India, are racing to be the renewable energy powers of the world, unlike France or the UK — ridiculous — because look at the size of these countries or their population?! Look at India’s scenario: it is 1/3rd the size of the USA, but its population is more than four times that of the USA. According to the World Resources Institute, US and Russia ranked one and two as the top GHG emitters while India ranked at ten! However, India is leading the renewable energy transition, despite being a developing nation (and being an Indian, I am proud of this fact).
  2. Russia and The USA have gained notoriety for some of the largest countries of the global north for their historical pollution, colonisation and wars. They may be in the top ten leading the renewable energy transition, but both must do much better to be absolved of their crimes. 

India must speak for the global south, especially the poorer countries and developing economies. However, we must also look at ourselves while playing the lobbyist. Our country has an appalling rich-poor divide; we are going nowhere without equitable development. 

The solution is a sustainable transition for all countries, big or small, rich or poor, as all share the same sky.

I have done a very primitive analysis; things aren’t black and white as geopolitics are all compassing than the universe. I may have had several things wrong, and I am still learning. I would love for you to educate me and give me more stats/facts/ research details to look at this issue better. If I have missed anything (especially Saudi Arabia, LOL), please feel free to add those while keeping the comments respectful.

PS: I have hyperlinked the sources in-line on the doc.

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The analysis piece is authored by Deepa Sai

Agrihoods: Where Sustainable Housing Meets Local Food Production

There is a sharp rise in the demand for sustainable housing options in India and the world. A sustainable building should use recycled materials or conserve energy and contribute to the physical health of the residents. Adding greenery to the living spaces is one of the many things a sustainable building must have. Our last article, Vertical Forests Towers, talks about the sustainability of such structures; you can read more about it here.

However, eating fresh organic food and the air you breathe are equally important. Gone are those days when every family had huge agricultural lands and our ancestors knew how to grow food. But what if I tell you such building concepts are making their way into the present, and some companies design and build houses alongside a community garden? These are nothing but Agrihoods.

Agrihoods are a cluster of homes built on the grounds of sustainable development and community development, which encourages an environment of responsible living, collaboration and sharing, and organic farming.⁽¹⁾ There are many Agrihoods worldwide; I am discussing Agritopia.


Agritopia, a unique community located in Arizona, 30 miles outside of Phoenix, United States, is a self-contained sustainable neighbourhood that gives you the best of an urban lifestyle and an agricultural space to grow your produce.⁽²⁾ The houses in Agritopia are built with sustainable concepts like rainwater harvesting, waste recycling, energy-efficient design and the use of environment-friendly construction materials. Agritopia has gone one step ahead and has introduced the Farm-to-Table
philosophy. Through this new system, residents can understand how sustainable farming is done by participating in farming activities and learn to appreciate the food grown in the area while having the facility to purchase good quality organic fresh food every day.⁽³⁾

Figure 1: An Agritopia community(2)

The community is a mix of residential and commercial spaces, thus allowing residents to live and work in this area, thereby preventing the need for extensive transportation. At the heart of the community are the farms. Around 10-12 acres of land is used to grow certified organic crops.
And for residents interested in growing their crops, there are 50 or more community garden plots to increase their produce. Various events are conducted, such as community celebrations, farmers markets, etc., to build the community atmosphere within this community. In short, Agritopia is where production, beauty and education meet.⁽⁴⁾

But what about in India? With urbanisation, many rural communities moved to cities for a better lifestyle and economic opportunities. But we need to fix how we plan and build cities. To counter urbanise towns and bring back the sustainability of a rural community, an agrihood community began in India, and they call themselves Organo.


Organo is a group of architects, engineers, and environmental consultants who run a design firm that builds sustainable living structures called eco-habitats in India that encourage responsible living with a vision of ‘Counter Urbanisation’.⁽⁵⁾ Integrating the seven strands of sustainability into the buildings, Organo builds homes that include food, water, air, earth, energy, shelter and community development within the living spaces.⁽⁵⁾

Organo Nandi, located 17km from Hyderabad city, is a sustainable living space with an environment-conscious community of residents.⁽⁶⁾ These 33 acres of land have a mixture of residential and community spaces built around a huge organic farm. The beauty of Organo Nandi is the perfect
blend of modern villa amenities and a space for collective and personal farming.⁽⁶⁾

A picture containing water, river, outdoor, nature

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Figure 2: A gorgeous view of the Organo Nandi project(6)

The Organo Antharam project has a cluster of homes built around a central gathering place, ‘Cluster Club’.⁽⁷⁾ The homes are designed to be along zig-zag streets where every house overlooks a farm or a forest. That creates a natural ventilation pattern, a Rachabanda meeting junction emulating rural structure.⁽⁷⁾

The houses in Antharam are designed to be net zero in emissions and water secure by ensuring rainwater harvesting methods fulfil the demands during droughts or irregular water supply. About 50% of the
land is for trees and fruit plantations, which gives ample opportunities for utilising all the composted waste generated at the houses.⁽⁷⁾

Indeed, our ancestors did something genuinely right, enabling them to live longer and healthier. With sustainable concepts like Agrihood and Organo, we hope many residents would know of such exceptional facilities and choose to live/ design beautiful self-sustaining communities. I would invest my money in such a vibrant, healthy community. Would you?


The article was strategised by Deepa Sai, founder of ecoHQ

The article was authored by Jenifer F Dsouza, an environmental consultant with an M.S. degree from The University of Manchester, U.K. She has over seven years of experience in water technologies and is an ESG consultant. She advocates for environmental consciousness and is a content and technical writer for ecological issues. She has authored 11 peer-reviewed journals during her academic research with collaborative projects with MIT University, Boston.


  1. ’12 Agrihoods taking farm to table living mainstream’, Shareable,, 14- 05-2014
  2. ‘About Agritopia’,
  3. ‘Agritopia, Gilbert, AZ (Best Tour)’, Escape to Arizon, Youtube video,, 23-06-2022
  4. ‘The farm at Agritopia’, This Week in Louisiana Agriculture, youtube video,, 21-01-2017
  5. ‘Sustainable farmhouses that offer rurban life’, Organo,, 23-03-2023
  6. Naandi, Organo,
  7. ‘Can apartments be net zero?’, Organo,, 26-05-2023

Explained in 500: India’s COP27 Goals: Ambitious or Unattainable?

Climate change is a pressing global crisis that demands urgent action from all nations. India, one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gasses, has set ambitious goals for reducing its emissions at COP27. However, these goals have been criticized by some as being unattainable. This article in the series, ‘Explained in 500’, will examine India’s COP27 goals in detail. We will also discuss what India can do at COP28 to achieve its goals. 

India’s Climate Policies and Promised NDCs

As stated in its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), India’s climate policies aim to achieve emission reduction targets and sustainable development.India’s goals at COP27 were to:

  • Reduce its GDP’s emissions intensity by 45% by 2030
  • Achieve 50% of its electricity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030, such as solar and wind power.
  • Protect its forests and increase its carbon sinks
  • Support developing countries in their climate action efforts. 

India’s goals at COP27 could have been more ambitious and realistic. It is a developing country with a growing population, so it needs to balance its climate and economic goals.

Clarity of India’s Climate Policies: Identifying Loopholes

India’s climate policies have faced criticism for their need for more clarity. Additionally, the idea of increasing emissions through carbon capture and storage technology (CCUS) raises questions about the effectiveness of these policies in addressing the climate crisis. Concerns about CCUS and its energy intensity, the potential for leakage, and environmental impacts have arisen. Relevant stakeholders must address such concerns before CCUS can be considered a viable solution to climate change.More precise strategies are needed to ensure transparency, accountability, and tangible progress towards India’s climate goals.

India can incentivize the private sector and industries to embrace sustainable practices and clean energy solutions. Providing financial incentives and benefits to businesses that invest in clean energy can encourage companies to transition towards sustainability. 

Also, our government can encourage green energy companies to utilise the green investment funds provided by the IREDA (Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency), the GEF (Green Environmental Facility), the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) and the Climate Investment Funds (CIFs). This push will help industries to learn more about clean energy solutions and rapidly adapt them.

Suggestions for COP28

Moving forward to COP28, India should focus on strengthening its commitments and developing comprehensive action plans. Some concrete measures that India can adopt include:

  • Setting ambitious emissions reduction targets, say, a target of net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner
  • Investing in clean energy, such as solar, wind and biomass energies.
  • Promote energy efficiency by encouraging people to use energy-efficient appliances in public transportation.
  • Support developing countries in reducing emissions and adapting to climate change.

Climate Compensation and Disaster Mitigation

India’s G20 presidency has prioritized energy and climate change mitigation, focusing on climate finance, energy security, and green hydrogen. India can better protect its vulnerable communities by investing in infrastructure that can withstand extreme weather events and educating citizens about climate change risks. These efforts align with the country’s recognition of mitigation and adaptation efforts in addressing the impacts of climate change. 

Regarding climate compensation, India is a mixed bag due to its historical past and current economic status. So, India could actively seek compensation from historical polluters (such as the EU, the US and the UK) for their role in exacerbating climate change impacts on vulnerable nations. Simultaneously, it must also take responsibility for its contemporary contributions. 

For instance, the Climate Action Tracker report says, ‘India will need to implement some additional policies with its resources to make a fair contribution to addressing climate change, but will also need international support to implement all the policies necessary for 1.5°C compatibility’.

Additionally, reports from the International Energy Agency highlight the importance of addressing air pollution and reducing CO2 emissions. Therefore, India should take responsibility for its contemporary climate change contributions and start vigorously working towards addressing them.

So there you’ve it!

Now, you understand why India needs to evaluate its NDCs and that too within a short period. As COP28 approaches, India must take bold and decisive actions towards building a sustainable and resilient future for all.


The article is authored by Gayathri, a freelance writer and editor passionate about sustainability, the environment and animal welfare.



Explained in 500: Why Mumbai’s Coastal Road is a Magnificent Waste.

Are your chacha chachis waiting doe-eyed for Mumbai Coastal Road to clear up road congestion?
Do you have a sinking feeling that their excitement is misguided?
Do you need to figure out how to give them the specifics in minutes in a way they won’t dismiss?
We’ve got you.

Welcome to the first in our new series – ecoHQ Explained in 500: Why Mumbai’s Coastal Road Project is a Magnificent Waste.

I read 300 pages, so you don’t have to. Here’s the gist:

1. It was illegal until someone wanted to make a LOT of money.

  • We used to have the 1991 Coastal Regulation Zone laws, which restricted the government’s power to claim public coastal land for ‘development’.
  • At the recommendation of the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority, the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change amended these restrictions in 2015.
  • By 2019, projects like the Coastal Road began to take off.


The government rolled back laws that were set in place to protect public lands. These rollbacks allow private corporations to “develop” our commons for profit.
So who is profiting off public land?

  • Larsen & Toubro gets ₹12,700 Crore for Phase 1.
  • Hindustan Construction Company + Hyundai Development Corporation get ₹9,980 Crore for Phase 2.
  • That’s ₹22,680 Crores of public money in private pockets.

We gave money to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to improve our standard of living. So will it?

2. It’ll do NOTHING for vehicular congestion.

Less than 10% of Mumbai uses private vehicles. So if you are a Government looking to make your citizens’ commute easier, where would you put your money — in private transport or public transport and walkways?
This road is the most expensive in India by spending per kilometre. And it’s unavailable to 90% of the city. Elitism aside, it’s worth it if traffic decreases, no? Then it’s better for on-road public transport also. PSYCH! We’ve been fooled.

Urban planning methods that actually decrease traffic:

  • Designing neighbourhoods to be self-sufficient, i.e. requiring a commute of no more than 15 minutes to get to daily necessities such as schools and grocery stores. Successful in Paris, Milan, and Melbourne.
  • Making cities walkable and cyclable, safe for both adults and children.
  • Making public transport attractive to all classes by improving connectivity, frequency, access, and comfort.

Urban development strategies that lead to an increased demand for private vehicles:

  • Roads for private vehicles.

Time and time again, urban planning history has proven that when we make more spaces for cars, more cars come to fill those spaces.

In sum: We’re spending ₹22,680 Crore not to solve traffic.

3. And it’s environmentally stupid. Fatally stupid.

Who should be worried:

  • Fishes, mangroves, and coral reefs: Yeah, we didn’t realise we had coral reefs in Mumbai, either. Maybe that’s why the BMC thought we wouldn’t notice if they disappeared, even though corals are a Schedule I-protected species. This fact also means that the project violates the Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972, making it illegal.
  • Kohli fisherfolk: Fewer fish = lost livelihood.
  • Seaside dwellers: If stormwater cannot drain into the ocean, your house faces a higher risk of flooding and other natural disasters.
  • Anyone with lungs and ears: But only if you don’t like exhaust emissions and honking. Healthy Mumbaikars’ lungs are already 27% and 35% less functional than healthy Europeans’ and Americans’ lungs. We can’t afford more pollutants.

So there you have it – an illegal, expensive, polluting, unsustainable block of concrete that will leave us with dying ears, black lungs, and the same big fat petrol bill.
And now you know.


A. Ashni is a freelance writer, editor, and translator with a passion for gender, disability, and sustainability impact.


  2. HC judgement stay

Embracing Menstrual Cups in India: Advantages and Considerations

Menstrual cups, or sanitary cups, are gaining popularity among Indian women. These cups are reusable, making them a greener option than disposable pads or tampons. Both useful and environmentally beneficial, sanitary cups’ growing popularity among Indian women in recent years can be attributed to the fact that they are cost-effective, durable, and have minimal, stress-free maintenance requirements.

These cups have the potential to revolutionize the way women manage their menstrual cycle and can also show a significant impact on creating a sustainable future. However, despite the many benefits of sanitary cups, they are still relatively new to the Indian market, and many women are unaware of their use and upkeep, particularly in light of the destructive effects of pads and napkins on the environment.

This article will explore the benefits, challenges, and prospects of sanitary cups in India.

The Rise of Sanitary Cups in India

Menstrual cups have been around for decades, but they have only gained mainstream attention recently. In India, awareness about sanitary cups grew in the early 2010s. The first Indian-made sanitary cup was introduced in 2013 by the company SheCup. Since then, more companies have entered the market, and today, there are several Indian and international brands offering sanitary cups in the country.

The affordability of sanitary cups is likely a major contributor to their popularity in India. It can be difficult for rural Indians to afford sanitary products like tampons and pads. On the other hand, taking care of your sanitary cup will last you up to 10 years; this makes it a cost-effective choice for a woman throughout her lifetime.

Second, there is rising concern over the environmental impact of single-use sanitary goods. Tampons and sanitary pads contribute significantly to landfill garbage and require years to biodegrade. Contrarily, menstrual cups are reusable and generate considerably less trash. Especially in India, where waste management is a serious problem that gradually improves as people adopt simple concepts, the sanitary cup is a promising long-term choice.

“It is estimated that 121 million women and adolescent girls use on average eight sanitary napkins every month in India; annually, this number shoots to 113,000 tons of menstrual waste generated,” says India Science, Technology and Innovation (ISTI) Portal.

Finally, menstrual cups are getting more popular because they are easy to use and convenient. While using a sanitary cup may initially seem awkward, once your body has adjusted, you’ll find that it’s far easier than other options. When compared to tampons and pads, sanitary cups have a far longer use time (up to 12 hours) and less of a negative effect on user comfort, convenient for women on the go.

Benefits of Sanitary Cups

Sanitary cups offer several benefits over traditional menstrual products: 


As mentioned earlier, sanitary cups are a one-time investment. Proper care can make these cups last up to 10 years, making them more cost-effective than disposable menstrual products.


When compared to disposable menstrual items, sanitary cups make less waste. They don’t have any dangerous chemicals, like bleach or one-time plastic, making them a better choice for the earth.


Sanitary cups (made of soft, medical-grade silicone, rubber, or latex) are designed to fit inside the body comfortably. Once inserted, they are not felt and do not cause irritation or discomfort like pads or tampons.

“Been using the cup since 2019, and it has saved me from the stress, anxiety and discomfort I felt with sanitary pads. Plus, saves me money while I take one step closer to reducing plastic use. It’s been an easy and comfortable experience using sanitary cups.”

B , 25 year old nursery school teacher

Last for a Longer Duration

Sanitary cups can be worn for up to 12 hours, longer than pads or tampons, making them a more convenient option, particularly for women with busy schedules.

Reduced Risk of Infection

Sanitary cups do not absorb menstrual blood like pads or tampons. Instead, they collect it inside the body, reducing the risk of infection.

Breaking Barriers

When users take good care of the menstrual cups and adjust well to them, sanitary cups allow them to engage in activities like swimming, cycling, and running, which they would otherwise hold back from doing during their periods. Cups bring security for women to move with ease without the constant worry and stress about making a mess. A calm mind and body make this already painful time of the month a little easier to bear.


Difficulty with insertion and removal

 Some women may experience difficulty inserting and removing the cup, especially if they are new to using menstrual cups. This issue can be frustrating and may cause discomfort or even pain. It can take time and practice to become comfortable with using a menstrual cup.

Risk of infection

Menstrual cups can increase the risk of infection if not used properly. If the cup is not cleaned and sanitised properly before and after use, it can harbour bacteria that can cause conditions such as yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, or toxic shock syndrome (TSS). Additionally, leaving the cup in place too long can lead to odour, discomfort, or even infection. However, if used with proper knowledge they have lesser risks of causing infection than tampons and pads.

“The first cup I bought didn’t fit and leaked constantly; I had no idea that there were different sizes. The second cup was a lifesaver in terms of exercising and traveling without needing to change pads every few hours.”

D, 18 year old student at Christ University

Messy to use

 When removing the cup, there is a risk of spilling the collected blood, which can be uncomfortable and unsanitary. Additionally, cleaning the cup can be messy and require a sink, which may only sometimes be available in public restrooms, making it messier than using traditional menstrual products. 

Not suitable for all women

 Menstrual cups may not be ideal for all women. Women with a low cervix or a tilted uterus may have difficulty using a menstrual cup, and women with heavy bleeding may need to empty the cup frequently, which can be inconvenient. Additionally, women with certain medical conditions, such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease, may find that menstrual cups exacerbate their symptoms.


Menstrual cups can be expensive, especially compared to traditional menstrual products that can be purchased in bulk. While they may save money in the long run, the initial cost may be a barrier for some women.

In conclusion,

Indian women’s growing use of sanitary cups suggests a sustainable and eco-friendly menstrual hygiene trend. Women need proper education and awareness to maximise menstrual cup advantages and minimise infection and discomfort. Sanitary cups benefit women and the environment despite their drawbacks and initial expenses. As these cups gain popularity in India, they must be made more available to all women, regardless of background or medical condition.

Stay tuned for a part 2, deep diving into sustainable menstruation.


Rajarshi is a serial entrepreneur, leading multiple ventures while holding a day job leading innovation at Talview. Based out of Bengaluru, his interests range from tech, engineering and hardcore physics to anime and gaming.
You can find him organising or attending music and art events or on Clubhouse grilling scientists on their latest research at the Quantum Photonics Club. Rajarshi offers lifetime free consulting for socially and environmentally conscious startups. Don’t hesitate to reach out on LinkedIn or Instagram!

Sustainable housing Options in India: Introducing Vertical Forest Towers

As we explored the concept of a sustainable metropolis in the last three articles, we understood the importance of net zero-emission vehicles, energy efficiency in electricity and heating, and water conservation. You can find the link to the previous articles here.

But what if I told you you could turn an ordinary building into an extraordinary spectacle by utilising one simple natural entity throughout the building? That is how the Bosco Verticale project in Milan began. However, do such buildings qualify to be sustainable?

Bosco Verticale, an influential architectural building, began its construction in 2014, with two tall residential towers (111 m high), constructed and then covered with a lot of trees; approximately 900 trees, 11000 plants and 5000 shrubs making it a vertical forest in a building ⁽¹⁾. Undoubtedly, the residents living inside feel privileged to be surrounded by lush greenery all year round. The amount of fresh air, birds chirping, and ventilation this building provides are psychologically and visually appealing. 

Let’s discuss sustainability:

Everyone will agree that the forest planted in this building will help reduce the city’s carbon footprint and increase the amount of fresh oxygen for its residents. The trees also shade the space around this building, reducing the temperature of the façade, especially during the hot summers. The gardens have been carefully planted after two years of nursery growth, keeping in mind sufficient space for trunk growth⁽³⁾. In addition, the gardens are maintained by specialised gardeners contracted for this purpose. An efficient waterproofing system helps reuse grey water from the centralised heating and air-conditioning system to water the trees⁽³⁾. 

However, is this project truly sustainable? The building was built using reinforced concrete, which adds to the negative carbon footprint of the building. According to the calculations made by some experts⁽³⁾, it would take about 55 years for the trees to offset the carbon footprint of the building. Apart from this fact, Milan has a cold climate through most parts of the year, which prevents its residents from sitting for long hours on the balcony to enjoy the benefits of the trees. Also, critics argue that there isn’t much heat in the city that needs blockage from the sun. 

Figure-1: Trees and plants growing in the Bosco Verticale tower⁽⁴⁾

Bosco Verticale may not be the perfect sustainable housing project in the world but it inspires many architects. On similar lines is a project conceived by an Indian company Mega Projects Ltd, and they have built a dream project called the Mana Foresta in Bengaluru. 

Mana Foresta is the first ever vertical forest housing in India, and it’s what the company calls a balance between comfort, convenience and nature⁽⁵⁾. Incorporating trees and plants in the balconies of every apartment, the Mana Foresta has successfully created an environment of pure living, where memories of living alongside nature, which is a typical sight in rural India, will also be experienced in the urban city. With state-of-the-art amenities and lush greenery just outside your living room, the Mana Foresta is worth investing in and living in. 

Gallery Cover Pic of Mana Foresta
Figure-2 The Mana Foresta project⁽⁶⁾

Some of the sustainable features of this home are the energy-efficient appliances, lighting and materials that conform to LEED standards, solar panels on roofs, effective space utilisation to maximise natural ventilation for efficient cooling as well as heating, use of recycled materials during the construction phase, drip irrigation system for watering the plants, the smart home features that control energy usage and of course the trees surrounding the flat⁽⁵⁾. 

Vertical forest towers spark a new era in constructing sustainable housing in India. Some may qualify, while some may fall short. But at least it is a step positive toward sustainable housing. Millennials and Gen-Z can now choose sustainable housing options in India. 

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The article was strategised by Deepa Sai, founder of ecoHQ

The article was authored by Jenifer F Dsouza, an environmental consultant with an M.S. degree from The University of Manchester, U.K. She has over seven years of experience in water technologies and is an ESG consultant. She advocates for environmental consciousness and is a content and technical writer for ecological issues. She has authored 11 peer-reviewed journals during her academic research with collaborative projects with MIT University, Boston.


  1. Could vertical forests improve our health?, BBC World Service, 2-07-2020, 
  2. Bosco Verticale – Porta Nuova, Milan ENG, COIMA SGR, 3-04-2018,
  4. Bosco Verticale Milano, Stephano Boeri Architetti,
  5. Capitalising on Sustainable Homes to build a sustainable future, Mana Projects,
  6. Mana Foresta,

Climate Chaos: How Human-Induced Climate Change is Disrupting Our Climate Patterns

The Unpredictable El Niño

 El Niño and La Niña called the El Niño southern oscillation (ENSO), are climate patterns. They occur over the Pacific due to ocean-atmosphere coupling and influence weather patterns across the globe. The ENSO system consists of 3 phases: neutral, La Niña and El Niño. A phase typically lasts 9–12 months but can also prolong for years. These events usually occur every 3–5 years, with El Niño occurring more frequently than La Niña.

ENSO weather impacts

Over the years, this system has severely impacted the weather patterns across the globe. A La Niña phase which started in 2020 till recently along with human-induced climate change, was responsible for the prolonged drought experienced by the countries in the Horn of Africa. This same La Niña was partly responsible for the floods that wreaked havoc in Pakistan. El Niño, the warmer phase of ENSO, has also caused multiple weather calamities over the years. In the past, it has caused northern parts of the US and Canada to be drier than usual. It is expected that in this El Niño phase, Canada could experience more intense weather patterns. Some regions could experience more precipitation, whereas others could experience severe drought.

ENSO and India

The upcoming El Niño is predicted to bring extreme drought and heatwaves across India and other South and Southeast Asian countries. However, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted a normal monsoon season in parts of south, east, northeast and Jammu & Kashmir. But it is still too soon to predict how El Niño, which has emerged and is forecasted to mature this winter, will affect the monsoons. The onset of southwest monsoons has already been further delayed by several days. The Indian monsoons, which kick start along the coast of Kerala, had already missed its start date of the 4th of June and arrived a week later on the 8th — the longest delay in 4 years.  

The monsoons are important to the socioeconomic status of more than half of the population as the onset of the monsoon decides the production of multiple food crops such as rice, wheat, sugarcane maize, etc. Sufficient rain means good yield, leading to favourable economic conditions that help control food inflation and reduce export restrictions. During the last 15 El Niño occurrences, India experienced normal or more than average rainfall in only six instances. Since 2000, there have been 4 droughts during an El Niño. These years also saw a decline in kharif output followed by inflation. It has also been shown that a La Niña followed by an El Niño (as is the current case) is a worst-case scenario and tends to produce a monsoon deficit.

 It is also worth mentioning that ENSO is not the sole factor influencing Indian monsoons. Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), Atlantic sea surface temperature (SST) variability, North Atlantic Oscillation (NOA), and Pacific Decadal Oscillations (PDO), along with local factors such as dust clouds and irrigation patterns, also influence Indian weather patterns. Moreover, the changing climate due to anthropogenic factors also plays into the rise of heatwaves, floods and droughts. A recent study also suggests that the increase in heat waves hinders India’s progress towards SDGs.

The past nine years have been stated to be the warmest ever. The upcoming warm phase of the ENSO cycle could further increase temperatures leading to new highs. The only solution to the unexpected tomorrow is to be prepared and strive more to reduce our global emissions.


This article is authored by Ronniya who is a recent Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science graduate from Lund University. She enjoys reading, cooking and identifying solutions to reduce her carbon footprint. She previously volunteered as a board member at a farmers’ organisation in south Sweden along with being a board member for a student organisation on sustainable lifestyle. She has also worked in the e-waste recycling sector in India.

Investing in Nature: Exploring the Benefits and Potential of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES)

Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) are one of the most commonly used mechanisms to generate market-based revenue for biodiversity conservation. PES aims to benefit landowners and land users who preserve ecosystem services (ES). The recognition of and valuation of the ES also works to disincentivise land use which degrades the land, such as deforestation. Land users are incentivised through monetary payments to conserve and manage their natural environment properly to ensure ecosystem services flow (Pagiola and Platais, 2002). 

Through PES, beneficiaries of ecosystem services, i.e., consumers, pay for the conservation and sustainable use of the ecosystems they benefit from. The concept arises from the idea that ecosystems provide society with valuable services — such as water, air, and land — and that valuable resources are reusable or regenerated. PES can allow an ecosystem to be reused or regenerated via natural processes and social efforts such as water purification, carbon sequestration, soil conservation, and biodiversity preservation. 

The PES scheme involves service providers, service users, and intermediaries. Service providers are individuals or organisations that own, manage or conserve natural resources. Service users are beneficiaries who value and utilise the ecosystem services provided by the service providers. Finally, intermediaries are organisations or individuals facilitating the transaction between the service providers and users. 

The payment mechanism in PES is designed to encourage landowners and other stakeholders to internalise and realise true costs and to adopt practices that conserve natural resources and reduce negative externalities. It affirms (through investment or payment) that there is value in caring for the environment and its health. 

PES has several benefits, including:

Conservation and management of natural resources

PES incentivises landowners and other stakeholders to conserve and manage natural resources. By placing an economic value on ecosystem services, PES encourages stakeholders to adopt sustainable practices that benefit the environment and society.

Economic benefits

PES benefits service providers, especially those in developing countries. The payment for ecosystem services provides an additional source of income for the service providers, which can help alleviate poverty and improve livelihoods.

Climate change mitigation

PES can help to mitigate climate change by incentivising the conservation and restoration of forests and other carbon sinks. Greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change, can be mitigated by conserving forests and other natural resources.

Improved water quality

PES can help enhance water quality by encouraging practices that reduce water pollution. For example, payment for preserving wetlands can reduce nutrient runoff and improve water quality downstream.

Despite the benefits, PES faces several challenges, including:

Monitoring and evaluation

PES requires a robust monitoring and evaluation system to ensure service providers deliver the agreed-upon ecosystem services. The lack of a proper monitoring and evaluation system can result in a varied understanding of what PES should be, the misuse of funds, and the failure to achieve the desired conservation outcomes.


PES can exacerbate inequalities if the scheme’s benefits are not distributed equitably. For example, large landowners may receive a larger share of the payment, while small landowners may receive very little or no payment. If PES is not a tool towards equity, then it is not a tool for sustainability. 

Transaction costs

PES involves transaction costs such as setting up the scheme, negotiating contracts, and monitoring and evaluating the outcomes. The transaction costs can be a barrier to implementing PES, especially in developing countries where the capacity to manage PES schemes may be limited.


PES requires that the ecosystem services provided are supplementary to what would have occurred in the absence of the scheme. Ecosystems constantly change and have natural positive and negative feedback loops that act on long-term time scales. Verifying the additionality requirement is challenging, especially if the baseline scenario is unclear or unknown. 

Last Forest’s work with PES

Honey marketed by Last Forest is from the Giant Rock Bee (Apis Dorsata), which plays an unquantifiably important role in the ecosystems of many forests of South Asia. Bees pollinate many species of tropical forests, enabling cycles of nature. The forests of the Nilgiris, where we work, are known for their rich biodiversity and high concentration of endemic species–plants and animals, which can only be found here. Many springs and streams emerge from these mountain forest areas and provide water for the rest of the planet–enabling the survival of all life forms. 

When consumers buy honey and beeswax products that have taken care of these forests in their production, they support the symbiotic relationship between themselves and nature. The value of this is internalised into the value of a product.

At Last Forest, the following activities receive vital support from PES:

  • Increasing bee habitats and colonies by planting specific tree species
  • Promoting Community-based beekeeping 
  • Preserving traditional values and sustainable harvesting methods by training and promoting knowledge exchange among the younger generations of Adivasis. 
  • Undertake Ecological monitoring in these forests with barefoot ecologists. 

The premium is a notional figure used to gauge willingness to pay rather than estimate the true value of the ecosystem services bees provide. Although the value of all encompassed in the caretaking of nature cannot be monetarily quantified, what is quantifiable is an investment to support the caretaking of the forests. 

PES Across the Globe

PES has grown exponentially over the past two decades, with over 550 legally registered active programmes in every part of the world.

However, there is currently a shortage of global feedback data due to the lack of an internationally accepted reporting or implementation standard for PES.

Last Forest — along with its sister organisations Keystone Foundation, Nilgiri Natural History Society, and Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyinar Producer Company — is an active player in the global community of PES. During its earlier years of operation, Last Forest took on the initiative of implementing PES in the markets. As a result, last Forest introduced a special edition of honey with a special label carrying the message of PES. This PES edition was shelved exclusively in the Green Shops in the Nilgiris and saw a good reception from customers. 

Through Last Forest’s new branding, the message of PES has become more robust. The introduction of the PES logo is a step that distinctly shows that products are part of a system that pays for conserving forest resources by using sustainable methods. Prioritising these networks in branding — the first impression customers will see — spreads conscious and subconscious awareness of programs like PES. Consumers begin to realise that there is a world of options that exists. This message has reached Last Forest’s stakeholders, who are becoming more aware of the message that the PES logo and system aim to develop. 

What will PES do for you? 

Pay for Ecosystem Services (PES) is a promising solution for environmental conservation that can provide economic incentives for sustainable management of natural resources. PES has the potential to address environmental challenges while also promoting social and economic development. However, PES also faces challenges and limitations that need to be addressed–by each organisation, the global PES community, and consumers–to ensure its effectiveness and sustainability.

As a consumer, beneficiary or business, and user of resources like water and air, PES offers a regenerative path forward for you. PES is principled yet flexible — how could you fit PES into your spaces? 

About the Organisation

Based in Kotagiri in the heart of the Nilgiri mountains, Last Forest has been a market
facilitator for wild forest produce that is harvested by Indigenous communities since 1995.
These communities are value-adding forest and agriculture products, which are natural, wild
and local. We believe that the spirit of the forest is about growth that is meaningful, balanced
and contributing.

By pioneering sustainable living choices by connecting communities and markets, and
providing aesthetic and socially responsible solutions, Last Forest is a sustainable
that provides eco-friendly, thoughtful and meaningful options that directly
involves communities. Last Forest’s vision is to make each of its stakeholders a custodian of
the Earth!


Madhu Ravishankar is Head of Communications at Last Forest. Originally
from the town of Coonoor, he belongs to the hills–and so finds home in Last Forest’s
commitment to valuing the Nilgiris people, traditions, landscapes, and all that they
encompass. Prior to managing Last Forest’s Communications, his work in Last Forest’s
procurement and supplies since 2014 has given him key insight into the inner workings of
producer groups and fair trade. Madhu’s favourite Last Forest honey is the raw Nilgiri black
pepper honey.

Isabel Tadmiri is an Oberlin Shansi fellow with Last Forest and the Keystone Foundation.
Isabel is interested in problem-solving that involves community, science, and food—and is
excited by Last Forest’s investment in Indigenous sustainable livelihoods as a long-time
climate resilience tool. Prior to joining Last Forest, her work was in environmental justice
research and organizing. She is originally from New York, NY, and a graduate of Oberlin
College with a Bachelors in Neuroscience and minors in Politics and Environmental Studies.
Isabel’s favourite Last Forest honey is the wild Jamun berry honey.