I'm a bioscience writer based in Bangalore, India, with an interest in a wide range of biology-based topics, ranging from molecular biology and biochemistry to behaviour and ecology.
[Explainer] What is greenwashing?
Greenwashing is a term commonly used to indicate deceptive marketing and advertising tactics to deceive stakeholders into believing that a particular product is environmentally friendly.
One of the major motives of greenwashing is to create public confusion and manipulate public opinion to sway consumer markets.
Currently, strong backlashes in public opinion against greenwashing have been keeping this practice somewhat under control. Strong social accountability and a tripartite system have b...
The Power of One
Humans being the social creatures that we are, we thrive on interaction. While many of these interactions are pleasant, many are not. ‘Unpleasant’ interactions can be highly variable – from those causing mild discomfort to others involving outright conflicts.
Since most of us are not formally trained to handle ‘unpleasant’ interactions, we either turn to confrontation, or to pre-existing ways of tackling such situations of which we are already a part. Most of these pre...
Kamala Bai's Journey
Kamala Bai’s (name changed) story is one of poignant transformation – where she changed from a desperate woman begging for a solution, into an empowered speaker for her community.
Kamala Bai was one of the 9 million faceless migrants to the big city, where she worked as a domestic help to earn money for her family in rural Chhattisgarh.
Until the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
In the chaos of the sudden and prolonged lockdowns, Kamala Bai was out of work, out of money, and was driven home to her vill...
Annamma and Meenakshi’s war of the water pots
Imagine a housing colony that lies nestled between a busy marketplace and a posh residential area within the city of Bengaluru.
Built as cheap housing for the economically weaker sections (EWS), the colony faces many issues with basic utilities. But the hours-long power cuts, poor insulation, and leaky walls and roofs, pale in comparison to their major problem. A lack of clean water.
Every day, at some random time, a water truck trundles into the main road of the colony to dispense water. The...
The Principles of the Dialogic Method: An Introduction
There are three fundamental principles in the Dialogic Method – value creation, non-binary approach, and self-determination.
While most approaches towards solution-finding look at distributing available value or resources, the Dialogic Method focuses on creating additional value before apportioning it.
To be able create value instead of merely distributing it; we need to expand the possible range of solutions that may exist or craft new solutions entirely, w...
Initiative fatigue: A wall that the Dialogic Method cannot yet scale
Initiative fatigue sets in when too many attempts at dialogue meet with consistent failure. Even if each failure exposes a new facet of the situation, which is then addressed in the next attempt at dialogue, such long, perhaps steep learning curves can create fatigue. It is a situation where the most willing or likely person to start a dialogue is burnt out and loses his/her/their drive to find a solution.
For example, the leader of a minority community could very well give up on engaging wit...
To Winfinity and Beyond!
Winfinity is a concept that embodies the main advantages of the Dialogic Method.
The Dialogic Method aims to create solutions that go beyond the traditional win-win situations that most partnerships look for, because two-party interactions are our default way of solving problems. But in practical life – for example, a dispute in a public market over where vendors can set up their businesses – the three major players are samaaj (society), sarkaar (government), and bazaar (business). This gave ...
The Dialogue Tree
Every situation has multiple facets. To explore these facets, the Dialogic Method uses a model known as a ‘Dialogue Tree’. The Dialogue Tree is an analogy which uses the various parts of a tree to represent the ‘whos’, ‘whats’, and ‘whys’ of a given situation. The canopy of the tree – its leaves – represents the web of relationships in a situation. The trunk and branches embody the ‘what’ of the situation, and the roots represent the ‘whys’. The ‘whos’ in the situation make up the ground – th...
Crosstalk: How multiple perspectives, an attitude of abundance, and co-creating solutions work together in the Dialogic Method
The Dialogic Method relies on three key principles to facilitate problem solving in conflicts – value creation, a non-binary approach, and self-determination. But how does one do these things practically?
To practice the Dialogic Method, there is a framework – you begin by first articulating and defining the problem, then understanding the roots of the problem, and finally solving it with inputs from all stakeholders.
In the three steps of this framework, three necessities stand out as especi...
Principles of the Dialogic Method
Imagine a situation where you come home from a long day at work and walk right into a raging argument in the middle of the dining room.
Your two children are standing near the dining table, staring at an orange. They both want the orange.
What would you do?
A typical ‘adult solution’ would be to divide the orange in half and distribute it to the two children. But the children don’t want that. Both are emphatic that they each want one whole orange.
In such a case, what would you do? Would you ...
Arise Sir-Tuin: Why sirtuins are the knights battling ageing
Sirtuins are proteins with a variety of functions, all of which are linked to one very interesting outcome – they influence life spans.
When the first sirtuin was discovered in yeast in 1979, it was rather boringly labeled ‘mating type regulator-1’ or MAR-1. Yeast cells that didn’t have this protein were sterile as their key mating genes were silenced. Later that same year, when more proteins with similar functions were discovered, they were clubbed into a family that was relabeled as ‘silent...
A Different Kind of Security: Public Healthcare in India
As our world reeled under successive waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, Koop’s words strike a deep chord. Over the last century, humans have seen three major pandemics unfold—the 1918 Spanish influenza (Spanish flu), which lasted 2 years and killed 17–100 million people; the 1981 HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) pandemic which still persists; and most recently, the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease-19) pandemic that has hopefully ended.
There is little doubt that without the public health systems currently in place, COVID-19 could have been disastrous for us humans. Without such systems, diseases
The Plastic Epidemic: A deep dive into India’s plastic issues
A deep dive into India's plastic issues
[Explainer] What is biodiversity finance?
Currently, biodiversity finance, to a large extent, is dependent on funds from governmental agencies and private philanthropies.
In India, there is an effort to develop methodologies to quantify the biodiversity finance gap and bridge it.
The most recent estimate in 2018, suggests that at least $2.5 trillion will be required to meet India’s climate change actions by 2030.
Biodiversity finance is the practice of raising capital and managing funds for biodiversity conservation. It comes under t...
[Explainer] Why do floods occur?
Floods are classified into five major types: flash floods, coastal floods, river (fluvial) floods, ponding (pluvial) floods, and urban floods.
A study in 2019 found that over the last 60 years, many areas in India, especially those in central India, have been experiencing an increase in extreme rainfall events, with corresponding surges in flooding. However, there increase was not in the numbers of such events; rather, there has been an increase in the area over which such events occur.