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Exclusive: Documentary ‘The Absent House’ talks about the Need of Sustainable Development

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‘The Absent House’
A still from the documentary ‘The Absent House’
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  • The movie is directed by Ruben Abruna and was showcased by CMS Vatavaran at India Habitat Centre
  • The documentary is based on how Fernando got the idea of doing more with less from Buckminister Fuller and built a house that has no roof
  • In the times of climate change happening so fast, ‘The Absent House’ delivers a message that we can live without harming the environment 

June 29, 2017:

Is there a need at all to show some accountability for sustainable development? How will it affect the modern world? Well, needless to say, we have to do lots to save up resources for the future generations and not wasting them. NewsGram got in touch with CMS Vatavaran on the film “The Absent House”.

What is sustainable development?

Well, sustainable development is one such form of development that consists of usage of energy resources that can be used again and again without harming the environment so that the planet can be saved for the future generations to come. The term sustainable development came into being when people understood the fact that the resources they are using are not environment-friendly and they need to save the planets for their future generations to come and perish on this planet just like we did.

Nowadays, a lot of discussions are going on for sustainable development in India and CMS Vatavaran is one such foundation which works for the environment. It showcased its documentary film ‘The Absent House’ from the annual film festival at the India Habitat Centre on 19th June 2017. The film is based on the Puerto Rican architect Fernando Abruna Charneco who made his home without roofs and giving priority to our very own mother nature. People called him crazy for being a visionary on the making a house without a roof but they didn’t understand the purpose behind it but when they understood about the project, many people have started considering him as a true visionary towards climate change.

The documentary is based on how Fernando Abruna Charneco got the idea of doing more with less from Buckminster Fuller, who invented the Dymaxion Car and Geodesic Dome. The house that Fernando built has no roofs but that is for the room to be properly ventilated and being lit most of the time. So that is would not be wasting energy. He also made the house in a way that it doesn’t require any water or electricity. All the water is stored from the rainwater and the electricity is supplied by the sun so that the resources do not contribute to pollution of the environment. Even the toilets are water free so that the water isn’t wasted.

In the times of climate change happening so fast, ‘The Absent House’ delivers a message that we can live without harming the environment by sustainable development and can leave the earth and resources for the future generation.

The movie is directed by Ruben Abruna and was showcased by CMS vatavaran who is going to host their 9th edition of CMS vatavaran film competition and the organisation CMS (Centre for Media Studies) is a non-profit development research and facilitative think tank which works towards responsible governance and equitable development.

– Reported by Sumit Balodi of NewsGram. Twitter: @sumit_balodi

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Researchers Look for Alternatives To Chemical Fertilizers for a Cleaner Environment

Too many nutrients in the water leads to poor water quality by causing hazardous algal blooms.

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Fertilizers
A farming woman spreads fertilizer in a paddy field. Flickr

Fertilizer is made of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. Chemical fertilizers require huge amounts of energy to produce. But there are other, natural and more readily available sources.

The University of Michigan, with support from the National Science Foundation, is working at making our water cleaner, and our agriculture more sustainable, by capturing one of those sources, rather than flushing it down the toilet.

On a hot summer afternoon near Brattleboro, Vermont, farmer Dean Hamilton has fired up his tractor and is fertilizing his hay field — with human urine.

It takes a bit of time to get used to, says environmental engineer Nancy Love.

“I’ve been surprised at how many people actually get beyond the giggle factor pretty quickly,” she said, “and are willing to listen.”

Fine-tuning the recycling

Rich Earth Institute, a nonprofit, is working with Love and her team. Abraham Noe-Hays says they are fine-tuning new methods to recycle urine into fertilizer.

“There’s a great quote by Buckminster Fuller about how pollution is nothing but the resources that we’re not harvesting, and that we allow them to disperse because we’ve been ignorant of their value,” he said.

Harvesting the resource of urine — which is, after all, full of the same nutrients as chemical fertilizer — will fix two problems at once: eliminate waste and create a natural fertilizer.

The Rich Earth Institute has been using urine as fertilizer since 2012. Kim Nace says they collect about 26,000 liters a year, thanks to a loyal group of dedicated donors.

“We now have people who have some source-separating toilets in their homes. We also have people who have 55 gallon (200-liter) barrels where they collect and then we transport to our farms, and we’ve also got a large urine depot,” Nace said.

`fertilizers
Fertilizers. Wikimedia Commons

They pasteurize the urine to kill any microbes, and then it is applied directly onto hay fields like Hamilton’s.

Next level of project

Now that they’ve partnered with the University of Michigan, Love says they’re looking to take their project to the next level.

“There are three things we really are trying to do with the urine in this kind of next phase. We’re trying to concentrate it. We’re trying to apply technologies to reduce odor, and we’re trying to deal with trace contaminants like the pharmaceuticals,” she said.

Dealing with pharmaceuticals is an important issue. Heat urine kills germs but has no effect on chemicals like drugs that pass through our bodies.

“We know pharmaceuticals are a problem for aquatic organisms and water systems,” Love said. “It’s debatable about the impact on human health at very, very low levels. Independent of that, I think most people would prefer that they not be in their food.”

Fertilizers
Farmer Scott Halpin is facing another year of high prices for seed and fertilizer, and low prices for the corn and soybeans his family is planting on farmland outside Morris, Illinois.

21st century infrastructure

For Love, this is all about redesigning our wastewater infrastructure for the 21st century. Too many nutrients in the water leads to poor water quality by causing hazardous algal blooms.

“Our water emissions are going into very sensitive water bodies that are vulnerable to these nutrient loads,” she said. “We need to change that dynamic. And if we can capture them and put them to a beneficial use, that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Also Read: Common Plastic Chemical May Increase Breast Cancer Risk

Their efforts could make agriculture greener and our waterways cleaner. (VOA)