25 May 2012 by Kavitha Srinivasa
The two-day summit is organized by the Ecotourism and Conservation Society of Sikkim (ECOSS) in collaboration with the Central Himalayan Environment Association (CHEA) under the aegis of DoNER, government of Sikkim and government of Nagaland. Themes like water, mountain livelihoods and communities and forests will be its highlight.
The official tourism website states that Sikkim shares its border with Nepal in the west and Bhutan in the east, with the Tibetan plateau rising from its northern border. It was part of the fabled Silk Route to China.
The summit is estimated to attract over 250 delegates from 11 mountain and hill states of India. As per the Provisional Census Totals (Census of India, 2011), mountain states are home to approximately 4% of the country's population. This critical mass cannot be ignored. At a macro level, innovative low cost technology and eco friendly options are being showcased in the summit to improve the lives of people for whom the pastoral-scenic-hilly region is home.
This summit is seen under the lens of climate change. It will exhibit a Hydroger, an eco friendly small machine that generates hydropower on a small scale. A cylindrical cast iron casing contains an alternator connected to the turbine. Conceptualized by NEPeD (Nagaland Empowerment of People through Energy Development) this innovation uses hydro power to harness electric supply. To make a point, one Hydroger has the capacity to generate electricity to light 100-150 15W CFL bulbs. Minimal water is used for the process.
An out-of-the box thinking combines with a lateral approach here. The IMI Sustainable Mountain Summit 2 (IMI-SMDS2), in collaboration with Tata Motors, will display an electric utility vehicle. We've reached a crucial stage when fossil fuel is scarce and the air is thick with auto pollution. It's only natural to hope that vehicles of the future will change tracks and be fueled by alternative sources of energy. Besides being environment-friendly, electric utility vehicles are a cheaper alternative to vehicles powered by an internal combustion engine, usually petrol or diesel. It could be a win-win situation to reduce carbon footprint.
The participants' act of traveling to Gangtok will be monitored to calculate carbon footprint, among other activities. Global professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers has stepped in to measure carbon footprint. While climate change and carbon footprint will be discussed at the Summit, there's an attempt to make it a Green Summit.
The summit is an explosion of eco activity. E-invites have been sent out instead of paper invites. Cloth banners on bamboo stands greet visitors. When it's time to break for food, cloth napkins, paper cups and leaf plates will set the order. In an effort to increase the green cover, tree saplings will be planted. Participants will be gently nudged to avoid vehicles and walk around the place where life moves at an unhurried pace. This gives them a chance to soak in the flowers and exotic orchards set against the snow-capped background. At times, the buffeting wind, mountains, clouds and streams will merge, evoking a sense of romance, intrigue and ambiguity.
It may be the second smallest state after Goa in total area, but its geographical diversity gives Sikkim a lofty edge. That's not because it is located in the Himalayan Mountains, but because Mount Kanchenjunga, the world's third-highest mountain peak, is on Sikkim's border with Nepal. Sikkim is situated in an ecological hotspot of the lower Himalayas. While its rich biodiversity along with flora and fauna has attracted wildlife lovers, trekkers and tourists, sustainability for the people living on the hilly terrain has been a concern and challenge.
Posted By: Kavitha Srinivasa @ 25 May 2012 06:36 PM General
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