‘iADAPT’ – for a carbon CLEAN-India’ A Development Alternatives and IYCN initiative

Children and youth learn to adapt to the changing climate through green lifestyles and bio-mimicry!

The ‘iADAPT- for a carbon CLEAN-India’ was a campaign launched by Development Alternatives and IYCN (Indian Youth Climate Network) to develop Youth Ambassadors for Urban Adaptation on this Earth Day.

Children and Youth across Delhi, 2012 came together at the NMML (Nehru Memorial Museum and Library), Delhi on Friday, 20th April to understand the need to adapt to the changing climate and learn about being prepared for climate change related disasters.To find innovative solutions for urban adaptation through sustainable lifestyles and bio-mimicry (Learning from nature – e.g. Principles of natural air cooling can be learnt from termite mounds!).

The Event

The event was marked by The day-long event on April 20 will cover the following:

  • Film screening on Earth and the Environment in the Planetarium at the NMML
  • Display of Photographs by youth on adaptation as perceived by them.
  • Youth were invited to send their photographs before the event. During the event, Best Photo Competition was held where Media representatives were invited as judges for the photo contest
  • On the spot Competition on Story writing/ weaving a story on climate change adaptation using bio-mimicry concepts
  • Workshops on Acts of green for carbon saving using CLEAN-India Carbon Calculator-TM
  • Workshops on rural adaptation by a farmer from Bundelkhand, a remote region of India as an example on adaptation and to derive lessons on the inter-linkages between the rural and urban context
  • Workshops on making demonstration models on urban adaptation to demystify it for the youth. E.g. Green roofs etc.
  • Workshops for teachers on Urban Adaptation concepts and Bio-mimicry
  • Band/ Musical evening to celebrate Earth Day
  • Debate / Panel discussion by youth representative, members of Residents Welfare Association, Government and others on importance of urban adaptation.
  • To de-mystify climate change and forge innovative and traditional ideas of climate change adaptation amongst students/youth living in urban and semi urban areas
  • To inspire and mobilise youth to find and implement innovative solutions/ actions to adapt to the changing climate through sustainable lifestyles
  • To provide a platform to youth/ students for promoting dialogue on climate change adaptation and the measures taken towards it
  • To make it an enjoyable yet effective learning experience for the children and youth
  • To work towards a Carbon neutral event / environmental friendly event

The event focused with hands on experiences on the creative use of innovative/ traditional adaptation measures such green roofs (roofs with grass growing on them) to bring down temperature of buildings instead of using energy guzzling air conditioners. Bio-mimicry concepts such as termite mounds; or use of zebra stripes for cooling etc. will be shared.

Other measures such as vermi-composting for addressing rotting waste problems, cultivating dry gardens to save water, rain water harvesting, storm water capture, addressing issues in urban slums and influencing policy for planning for disasters such as floods, earth quakes etc will be shared during the event through videos, workshops, story writing and other engaging activities.


Biodiversity is the variety and differences among living organisms, including terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are a part. This includes genetic diversity within and between species and of ecosystems. The biodiversity we see today is the fruit of billions of years of evolution, shaped by natural processes and, increasingly, by the influence of humans. It forms the web of life of which we are an integral part and upon which we so fully depend.

India is one of the mega biodiversity centers in the world and has two of the world’s 18 ‘biodiversity hotspots’ located in the Western Ghats and in the Eastern Himalayas (Myers 1999). The forest cover in these areas is very dense and diverse and of pristine beauty, and incredible biodiversity.

Interactive Digital Water Quality Map

The result of rigorous water quality monitoring is an interactive Geomatics Information System (GIS) based digital water quality map. The water quality map, developed though the CLEAN-Delhi programme, displays the municipal and ground water quality for different areas in Delhi, Noida and Gurgaon. A cumulative index for the water quality has been prepared, which helps the database to grade the quality of water as ‘Safe for use’, ‘Check before use’ and ‘Purify before use’. This is depicted in different colours like GREEN for “safe”, YELLOW for “check” and RED for “purify” so that everybody can relate to it. The water quality map also contains past data and helps in formulation of trends.


The map is being put up at public places like airports, railway stations, schools, hospitals etc. from where it can be easily accessed by larger number of people. The water quality map is also available in CDs. This will help provide information on the prevailing quality of water to the concerned citizens through continuous monitoring. The map is available for sale and those interested may contact us for further details. A screen of the Interactive Digital Water Quality Map for Delhi, Noida and Gurgaon

CLEAN-India is a nationwide programme with similar efforts being carried out in other towns and cities of the country. In due course, water quality maps will be developed for every CLEAN-India centre. Each centre is doing water quality monitoring as per the requirements of the local environment and initiating relevant action. CLEAN-Shillong conducted a clean-up drive at the Umshyrpiriver, which they had been monitoring. People from different communities and age groups participated in this drive. CLEAN-Berinag campaigned to avoid bathing and washing near the water springs.

The students have been deeply involved in this programme since 1996. The momentum that has been built up needs to be harnessed and the student’s efforts need to be brought to fruition. Let us all join hands with the children in their noble venture of providing clean water for all.


All religions are closely intertwined with nature, and many celebrate its beauty through festivals and other rituals.

With the passage of time though, we seem to have lost the true essence of our festivals and the way in which we celebrate festivals is harmful for both us and the environment. CLEAN-India has been creating awareness about how we can return to our eco-friendly traditions.


Natural Holi Colours: We can learn to make our own natural and safe colours for Holi festival!


No Crackers for us on Diwali : Is Diwali a Festival of Lights or a Festival of Smoke?


Eco Visarjan: Did you know that some of our festivals are poisoning our holy rivers and lakes?


Eco Dussehra:

Let Dussehra be a victory over evil and NOT release of more evil.


Merry Eco Christmas:

Grow your own tree and not cut one!

Eco Practices You can Adopt

Composting :

The best way to manage waste is Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Recycling Paper :

It takes 17 full grown trees to make one tonne of paper. Recycling paper can save the trees from axe.

Natural and Safe Holi Colours

Holi, the most colourful festival of our country, bids adieu to winter and heralds spring. Holi matches the riot of colours of spring in full bloom and traditionally was played by making colours from the flowers blooming at that time and even herbs etc. The fragrant natural colours also had therapeutic value and were beneficial for our skin and health. But over the years, natural colours have been replaced by synthetic colours to the extent that most Holicolours sold in the market are oxidized metals or industrial dyes (like those for dyeing our clothing). All these are toxic and can result in anything from skin allergies to cancer, eye irritation to blindness.

CLEAN-India has been campaigning against toxic Holicolours and through workshops and lectures has taught many students how to make simple, cheap yet beautiful environment and human friendly natural colours with which one can enjoy Holi.

Ever Green:

  1. Use mehendi / henna powder, separately or mix with equal quantity of any suitable flour to attain a lovely green shade.
  2. Dry and finely powder the leaves of Gulmohur tree for a green.
  3. Crush the tender leaves of the Wheat plant to obtain a natural safe green Holicolour.

Sunny Yellow

  1. Mix haldi with besan, you can use the ordinary haldi or “kasturi” haldi which is very fragrant and has enhanced therapeutic effects. Besan can be substituted by atta, maida, rice flour, arrowroot powder, fuller’s earth /multanimitti and even talcum powder.
  2. Dry and crush the petals of flowers like Amaltas (Cassia fistula), Marigold / Gainda (Tagetuserecta), Yellow Chrysanthemums, Black Babul (Acacia arabica) yield different shades of yellow.

Resplendent Reds

  1. Use Red Sandal Wood Powder / Raktachandan / Lalchandan (Pterocarpussantalinus) has a beautiful red colour, is extremely beneficial for the skin.
  2. Dry red hibiscus flowers in shade and powder to make a lovely red colour.
  3. Peels of Red Pomegranate and Red hibiscus flowers boiled in water give red.
  4. Boil wood of Madder Tree in water for a deep red.

Beautiful Blues

1. The Jacaranda flowers can be dried in the shade and ground to obtain a beautiful blue powder. The flowers bloom in summers. 2. The blue Hibiscus which is found in Kerala can be dried and powdered just like the red hibiscus

Magnificent Magentas

1. Slice or grate one Beet root. Soak in 1 litre of water for a wonderful magenta. Boil or leave overnight for a deeper shade. Dilute.

Sacred Saffrons

The Flame of the Forest flowers, known as Tesu, Palash or Dhak in vernacular languages, is the source of the wonderful, traditional colour for Holi. 2. Boil flower petals of red variety of Semul / Silk Cotton (Bombaxceiba ) in water.

Mix a pinch of Sandalwood powder from Ujjain (also used in our temples) in 1 litre of water for an instant, beautiful and fragrant saffron colour.

Soak a few stalks of Saffron / Kesar in 2 table spoons of water. Leave for few hours and grind to make a fine paste. Dilute with water for desired colour strength. Though expensive, it is excellent for our skin.

Earthy Browns

1. Boil Tea or Coffee leaves in water. Cool and use. 2. Mix Kathha with water

Basic Blacks

1. Boil dried fruits of Amla / Indian Gooseberry in an iron vessel and leave overnight. Dilute with water and use. 2. Extract juice of black grapes and dilute with sufficient quantity of water to remove stickiness.

Our festivals and celebrations need not be at the cost of our life and environment. Let us vow to play and motivate others to play Holi with environment and human friendly natural colours.

Wishing you a Colourful Holi for all Times to Come With Natural and Safe Colours !!!



Every year the festival of lights fills our life with darkness!!

Air pollution more than doubles and big cities like Delhi become gas chambers. Crackers also release heavy metals among other toxic substances.

Noise levels cross deafening limits.

The Aged and Children are most vulnerable.Others also sufferfrom respiratory disorders like asthma and even heart attacks.

Trees are coated with smoke, which block their photosynthetic process. Birds due to the noise pollutiondisappear from the cities.

Wishing You A Happy and Smokeless Diwali with Lights, Flowers, Sweets, Friends and Joy!

How else can we celebrate Eco-Deepawali :

Eco Visarjan :Festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja, Diwali are occasions for great joy and celebrations. But unfortunately they also add an even greater load to our already overburdened rivers, lakes and seas. Immersion of idols made of plaster of paris, lime, cement contain toxic substances and silt the water bodies.

Metal or stone idols can be worshipped every year.Also unbaked clay idols, painted with only natural colours and decorations will not pollute water when immersed.

Rangoli: Rangoli made with flour provides food forants . It can also made with natural ingredients like wheat or rice flour or mix with haldi, mehendi and sindur for colour.

CLEAN-India has been successfully campaigning for celebrating ECO-DEEPAWALI through plays and discussions. We invite all to join us in our campaign.


Dussehra is celebrated in many parts of India . Earlier many communities got together and had one common effigy. Now more and more communities have their own effigies, resulting in numerous effigies being burnt in a city like Delhi.

Destroying Ravana is a symbol of victory of good over evil. The effigies are stuffed with crackers which when burnt release a lot of poisonous gases. Thus when we burn the effigies filled with crackers, we only release toxic, meaning we only release more evil.

Let Dussehra be a victory over evil

And not release of more evil !!

How can we celebrate Eco Dussehra?

Simple, do not fill the effigies with fire crackers but choose one of the following options: Make effigy only of paper and burn it. Burning this will release pollution, but will be less as compared to burning crackers. A better option is to fill the effigy with flowers and burst open ( not burn) the effigy. With destruction of Ravana, the world is spread with flowers symbolizing joy. The flowers can be composted. Fill effigy with sweets and goodies. Burst the effigy and distributed the sweets and other goodies. Make effigy with clay and break it. Make sure that such effigies are painted with natural colours.


On Christmas, do you cut a tree or buy a chopped tree ? Here are more environment friendly options:

Instead of cutting a tree for decoration:

  • Use just a branch
  • Better still , grow a Christmas tree (Araucaria) in your home and decorate it every year

Gifts: Give gifts and not packaging material !! Or wrap in handmade / brown / newspaper and not glitter paper which is not recyclable.




Vermi composting is the process by which we can convert organic waste into rich humus by using red earthworms. After a worm ingests organic matter, the matter undergoes a change and what comes out is a rich plant food !


1. Take a broad earthen pot or an old plastic crate. Put a layer of soil at the bottom. Add a layer of cowdung manure or fresh cow dung ontop of this.

2. Introduce some earthworms in it. Put some vegetable peels and leftover food into one corner of the pot , and cover it with a layer of dried leaves.

3. Sprinkle little water to maintain the moisture. Never flood the pot with water as this would cause the worms to drown. During rains cover the pot.

4. The next day remove the leaves and add some more garbage in a separate place. Cover it with leaves again and sprinkle some more water.

5. Repeat the above procedure till the pot is full.

6. Leave the pot for six weeks, but sprinkle water daily.

7. Compost would be ready after 5 – 6 weeks. Compost is ready when all the garbage has decomposed and the pot is full of dark soil like granular substance.


Bio-degradable matter like kitchen and garden waste should be added to the pot. This means all vegetable peels, leftover food, tea leaves, dead leaves and plants. Egg shells should be broken into small pieces before adding it. Meat waste tends to attract mice, so avoid putting it.

Do not add material like plastic, metal, rubber, glass and printed paper.


Best is to keep it at the corner your garden, in a shaded place. If you do not have a garden, keep it in the corner of your balcony / terrace (prefer a shady corner). The place should also be sheltered from other animals like cats, dogs and mice. Keeping it in your room is not a good idea as the pot may attract insects which you may not welcome.


All kinds of creatures may creep into your pot. This is normal, do not panic. These bugs are harmless and even complementary to your worms. If there is an excessive amount of other insects in the pot, uncover the pot. Make a few cone shaped piles in sunlight fresh air. The sunlight and fresh air and general disturbance would scare off the insects. Else you could also add a little haldi powder to keep away other insects. If ants are a problem, then keep a water filled container around the pot, to keep away the ants. If rats are a problem in your area, cover the pot with an iron mesh or a tin plate with holes.


Uncover the pot and put it in bright sunlight. The worms hate light and will burrow down.

Remove the top portion of the compost. The worms will again burrow down.

Remove another layer of compost. Repeat till 75% of compost has been removed.

You can now use the pot for further composting.

The worms would have multiplied by now. Take half the worms and expand the composting into another pot or help your friend start her/ his own worm composting.


Sprinkle the compost into your pots, flower beds, etc. Do not use pure compost in pots but dilute it with soil and sand.


Three species of earthworms are generally used in India for vermicomposting: Eudriluseugeniae( African Night Crawler) Eiseniafoetida ( Tiger Worm) Perionyxexcavatus (India Blues) These may be easily obtained from any organisation / farm in your place practising vermicomposting.


Saving Paper is Saving trees!! It takes 17 full grown trees to make one tonne of paper.

If each child saves 1 sheet of paper a day, then 40,000 trees are saved per year by Delhi students alone. So how about saving paper, reusing used paper, recycling and in turn saving trees, energy, water, chemicals utilised in paper making and also reducing garbage.


The best way to learn how recycled paper is made, is to make it yourself. So why not give it a try.

What will you need for paper recycling ?

  • Waste paper or old newspapers
  • A blender / mixer
  • Five cups of water
  • A big square pan (or a large dissection tray ) that’s atleast 3 inches deep.
  • A piece of window screen (mesh / sieve / jali ) that fits inside the pan.
  • A flat piece of wood the size of a newspaper’s front page.
  • A measuring cup
  • Fenugreek ( methi ) seeds soaked for a few hours.

How to make recycled paper ?

  1. Tear the newspaper / waste paper into small pieces. Soak them for 10 – 12 hours in water.
  2. Put the soaked paper into the blender / mixer. Also put the soaked methi seeds in it.
  3. Close the blender with its lid.
  4. Switch on the blender / mixer for a few seconds till the paper is turned into pulp.
  5. In the pan pour about one inch of plain water.
  6. Pour the blended paper pulp into a measuring cup.
  7. Put the screen into the pan.
  8. Pour one cup of blended paper pulp over the screen.
  9. Spread the pulp evenly in the water with your fingers.
  10. Lift the screen and let the water drain.
  11. Open a newspaper section to the middle.
  12. Place the screen with the pulp on one side of the newspaper.
  13. Close the newspaper.
  14. Carefully flip over the newspaper section so that the screen is on top of the pulp. This step is very important.
  15. Place the wooden board on top of the newspaper and press to squeeze out excess water.
  16. Open the newspaper and take out the screen.
  17. Leave the newspaper open on a flat surface for atleast 24 hours.
  18. The next day check to see if the paper is dry.
  19. If the paper is dry, carefully peel it off the newspaper.
  20. With scissors or paper cutter , trim the edges.

How to make the paper colourful?

To obtain coloured paper, you can add natural colouring agents, like turmeric powder (haldi) , flowers of Semul, Flame of the Forest, Harshingar, etc. in step 3.

Dried leaves and petals of flowers (like marigold petals) can also be stuck on the wet surface of the paper in step 17.

Thus garbage problem can be reduced by recycling one’s paper ………. and buying recycled paper !


What will you need for paper machie ? Waste Paper (1kg), Glue, Methi seeds (fenugreek),2 tablespoons oil, sieve, paints, dried flowers, moulds of articles,

How to make Paper Machie ?

  1. Tear the waste paper into small pieces. Soak it in a bowl of water so that it is completely soaked.
  2. Put the soaked paper into the blender / mixer and blend into a homogeneous pulp. Also put the soaked methi seeds in it. This can also be mashed with hands or a grinding stone.
  3. Remove the excess water from the pulp an add a few drops of gum to the pulp and mix.
  4. This is ready to take any desired sahpe. Spread the pulp evenly on any oil smeared bowl or other shape and let it dry for 24 hours.
  5. Remove the dried material with a knife or spatula. You will get another bowl, made of paper.
  6. You can paint the article with suitable colours. While it is still wet , dried flowers can be stuck on to the wet surface.



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