A ladder to get out of the well

 

Designing an activity to raise environmental awareness and enthuse the participants towards action is an art and science. It requires both a passion and dedication.

Many “environmental communicators” (a cadre I wish is recognized in the environmental profession) have experimented and presented several pedagogical techniques and tools to make the activity interesting, meaningful and impacting. There is however relatively less documentation of experience and sharing.

The pedagogy is often a mix or a concoction of tools and techniques and you blend depending on the audience, objectives of the engagement, expected outcomes and the resources you have. The chef or the bartender or the conductor of the orchestra “in you” does the right blending and sequencing!

In India, most of us use tools such as PowerPoints, stickers, posters and video clips for environmental communication. Posters have now matured in the form of Infographics that are often creative. My post on Enfographics will give you some examples. You may also like to access the various communication tools we developed on Climate Change. Visit the site to view and download posters, PowerPoint presentations, fact sheets, stickers, children activity books etc. all free. Painting on the walls in the streets (a graffiti) is a recent technique. See my post on Creative Fusion that talks about the graffiti created by Dr Love on the subject of urban air pollution.  Holding exhibitions that display green products, show case innovative solutions on pollution control and monitoring and educate people on sustainable lifestyles is another powerful way to spread awareness on environment. Mobile vans are also used to move into rural and peri-urban areas carrying exhibits for holding demonstrations.

Video clips are now relayed through internet reaching a global audience. Few years ago, I launched a competition for making videos to communicate good stories on saving the environment under a caption “Anvaya” (means positive in Sanskrit). This resulted into some exciting video clips on the themes of waste and water management created by ordinary citizens – old and young. Visit our YouTube channel to view and download a collection of 11 select videos on the theme of waste management.

Street plays are now getting increasingly popular to communicate environmental issues mainly in schools and colleges. I would recommend you to view Street Play on environment ” Parivartan” by students of DAV Pushpanjali and the Nukkad natak on environment awareness. We should do the street plays more often and on a regular basis in local languages. These plays should address not only the local but global environmental issues and introduce good practices and responsible behavior. There is a lot to learn in scripting the street play, participating in it and handling reactions from the audience.

“We should seriously consider developing a course on environmental communication at postgraduate level and give the students an exposure and experience in this important area”. I said to my Professor friend when I was in his office on Sunday morning.

I saw that Professor was already busy. There were several papers on his desk that were piled and crumpled around with lot of scribbling done. He seemed to be writing some kind of script.

“Well Dr Modak, you are asking this question when I am just finalizing a design of an awareness and action event on the subject of Air Pollution” He said this while lighting his cigar.

I was curious when Professor used the term “design”. “What do you mean by the term design Professor?” I asked

“Well, a lot of thinking needs to be done if you want to organize an awareness event Dr Modak?” Professor now moved to the white board to explain to me the “design”. And in the next 5 minutes, this is what appeared on the white board

It appeared to me that Professor was planning to conduct the event in steps. The structure looked fascinating and so I asked Professor to explain.

“Well Dr Modak, this event is for all those interested and for those who want to know and take action on the challenges of urban air pollution. I plan to restrict the participation to only 40 and not more. Interested participants will have to pre-register giving their short profile and interest. All those who register will be able to see profile of other registrants and thus get e-introduced.  More importantly, I will use this information in forming the work groups.

The hall I have chosen can accommodate around 70 participants in a theatre style and so 40 will be accommodated very comfortably. The room has a separate entrance and a good illumination. Besides it is located in a central place in the city and convenient to reach. We will start the event at 2 30 pm and wrap up by 5 30.

The first step is to begin the event in a theatre style sitting.   Here I propose to introduce the challenge of urban air pollution using only picture slides with not  more than 10 words on each. There will be 20 such slides and I will take only 10 minutes (2 30-2 40). This presentation should do the job of “levelling up” the subject, provide a systems perspective on urban air pollution and its connect with Climate Change, a perspective not generally spoken. Having shown the slides, we will devote not more than 5 minutes for any “burning questions” from the audience.

Next, I plan to show three video clips not exceeding 3 minutes each. I have selected the video clips that are essentially statements made by the politicians (like the Premier of China), directors of key global institutions (e.g. UN Environment and WHO) and by citizens who appeal and showcase their efforts on combating air pollution.

Following the videos,  there will be four questions that will be projected on a slide for discussions. These questions will “force” participants to “think out of box”. Participants will spend 10 minutes to express their views. Example, are electric vehicles solution to the problem of urban air pollution? Are the policies on letting vehicles to ply based odd-even number plates or retiring of old vehicles of more than 15 years of age effective? And how about encouraging telecommuting (working from homes)  (2 40 – 3 00)

At this point I expect that the participants are charged enough to get into some action. We therefore break out of the theatre style sitting and ask participants to move to the walls of the room. We plan to place a number of flip charts in the room with thick tip color pens. Each wall takes on one of the questions raised and elaborates using a network diagram, following the technique of “mind mapping”. This wall session puts all participants in some physical action, provides an opportunity to interact and help in a deeper understanding of the challenge! We need to give good time for such a Wall Session of Mapping. I would give a time between 3 to 3 30 for each group for this exercise.

What follows the Wall Session is the presentation by each group leader elaborating their analyses. We give 5 minutes to each group leader followed by an overall discussion (3 30 – 4 -00).  This concludes Step 3.”

I enjoyed the strategy. I could see that the participants were slowly graduating from awareness to action mode and this was happening rather implicitly.  Moreover, it was also a process of collective learning with guidance by the Professor.

Professor lit the second cigar

“Dr Modak, have you used software tools like Mentimeter?” He asked.

I had not come across this tool and so requested Professor to tell me more.

Mentimeter is an easy-to-use presentation software to create fun and interactive presentations. Each participant downloads on a Mentimeter app (that I do before hand) on his/her smartphone. Based on the real time questions that I would put, all participants respond from their smartphones and the Mentimeter creates a word cloud, histograms, 2×2 matrices etc. instantaneously to show the group opinion. Of course, there are several such products available today.

Mentimeter will be a short session say over 10 minutes where some top end questions will be put for a group opinion. I will basically get the priorities understood e.g. Indoor Air Quality or Outdoor Air Quality or priorities towards action e.g. wetting of roads, introducing higher vehicle tax as the vehicle ages or promoting use of electric vehicles etc.  The session will end with a 5 minute discussion (4 00 – 4 15)

Air quality improvement is often viewed narrowly and hence many of the interventions have not been found to be successful. There is a need to address the urban air pollution problem at a regional level (e.g. pollution traversing into the city from “outside” ; forge collaborations or partnerships, push phase outs e.g. of Volatile Organic Compounds and introduce ecological modernization across the polluting industries. Further an integrated approach to address both indoor and outdoor air pollution is necessary. I plan to give a 30 minute presentation as Step 5  (4 15 – 4 45). We don’t give here any time for discussion.

Step 5 maintains the theatrical style and I propose to end by screening a “transformational” video that shows the participants some success stories when a comprehensive and regional approach is followed. I plan to screen video on how Beijing improved the Air Quality over the last 3 years. This video of 5 minutes will be followed by a 15 minute discussion session facilitated by some of my colleagues questioning why cannot India follow the China model? (4 45 – 5-15)

It’s a good idea now to end the event with a feedback and “pledges” what the participants would like to do post the event and their expectations from us on the follow up and any propositions on “joint projects” of action. The event will be wrapped up by 5-30. The participants continue their interactions on Ekonnect’s collaborative platform.

If you do a day long event, you can include a workgroup session (1 hour) to develop action plans. In the workgroup, participants start developing an air quality action plan for the city by not just listing the actions but identifying who should be responsible. Another possibility is to use the Fish Bowl technique where participants take turns to “enter the fishbowl”, express their views and leave the fishbowl for someone else to get in (1 hour).

There are other possibilities as well such as keeping a dust jar outside the room and weighing the dust fall during the meeting period or putting a computer in the foyer with a GHG emission calculator to give participants an idea of the carbon footprint of their lifestyle”

I liked the overall design, especially the logic and creativity. As I was about to leave, I could not resist asking the Professor, “why is your event design of various Steps is showing up like a ladder? – any special reason?”

Professor extinguished his cigar and said

“Dr Modak, pardon me  but to me the participants to the event are sitting or trapped in a “well” of isolation and some ignorance. They don’t see the outside “world”. They only listen but stay inactive. All I am doing is to provide them with a ladder to step out of the well and get motivated towards taking action with all the excitement and knowledge”

“Oh, understood. So, the event is like a ladder to get out of the well” I exclaimed finishing my coffee.


Cover image sourced from Image https://pngtree.com/freepng/with-one-ladder-to-climb-out-of-the-well_2383850.html


I will be conducting such an event on Urban Air Pollution on Thursday, December 13 in Mumbai between 2 30 to 5 30 pm at the Veer Savarkar Smarak, Shivaji Park, Mumbai as organized by Ekonnect.

An announcement will soon be made on Social Media.

In 2019, Ekonnect proposes to conduct such events on various topics once every month.

Please contact me on prasad.modak@emcentre.com if you are interested to know more.


If you like this Post then follow me or circulate across your colleagues

Advertisements

Mind Mapping Industrial Pollution Control

This post is about how to prepare engaging presentations using mind mapping to bring forth inherent complexity of a topic. It is meant for professors, research scholars and students. I have taken topic of industrial pollution control as an illustration.

A bit longish deliberation, but I do hope you will find this post interesting and that it will serve the purpose.


Professor was busy in his study on Sunday morning. I saw him sitting on a drawing board with a A2 size paper and color pencils. He seemed so engrossed as he didn’t even notice me.

He was writing on the paper some “keywords” and then connecting them and making some side notes. Sometimes he would pause and do some google search and print few documents or note the URLs.

I did not want to disturb him. In the next fifteen minutes this is what appeared on the paper

Industry – good and services

Pollution – unwanted constituent – adverse change

Control – power to influence, regulate to achieve certain goals

Why are you doing this basic stuff Professor?  I asked when I saw him picking up a cup of coffee.

He noticed me.

“Well Dr Modak, I am preparing a “general” presentation on the subject of “industrial pollution control”.

It is good to begin with dissection of each term in the topic. This is often a good start.”

I realized that Professor had used the following definitions. See Box 1

Box -1 Some Key Definitions on the subject of Industrial Pollution Control
What is an industry?

Industry is the production of goods or related services within an economy

What is pollution?

Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that cause adverse change. Contamination is the presence of an unwanted constituent, contaminant or impurity in a material, physical body, natural environment, workplace, etc.

What is control?

Control is largely associated with power and having the power to influence people, decisions or processes. It is an important function because it helps to check the errors and to take the corrective action so that deviation from standards are minimized and stated goals of the organization are achieved in a desired manner.

“Now what Professor?” I could not resist to ask.

“Well, Dr Modak, we now continue asking more questions to ourselves on the subject” said the Professor.

“But we need to describe little bit more about the industry itself i.e. Its classification by size, type and pollution potential. The priorities and strategies change as we deal with different classes of industry. We need a better understanding and so I have prepared a handout”

Oh, so Professor was essentially mapping his thinking. I realized.

“It may be interesting Professor to ask about how can we reduce pollution in the first place. This could be an effective strategy to control pollution. No point to let the pollution happen first and then worry for solution”. I suggested.

“Yes indeed”, Professor agreed. “In early days we did not think “upstream” i.e. production stage itself for minimizing pollution. In fact, pollution prevention was not considered as a strategy for pollution control. Professor pulled out a nice infographics explaining the “evolution” that he had researched from the web – of course improving the figure based on his experience.

“Looks great” I exclaimed. “I am sure you will “plug in” this figure in your presentation slides”

Professor nodded while lighting his cigar. “Yes, I will. But let us continue building this diagram further. By the way, this diagram is called a Mind Map.

“What is a Mind Map Professor?” I asked


A Mind Map is an easy way to brainstorm thoughts that occur naturally without worrying about order and structure. It allows you to visually structure your ideas to help with analysis. A Mind Map is thus an intuitive framework around a central concept. A Mind Map can turn a long list of monotonous information into a colorful and highly organized diagram that works in line with your brain’s natural way of thinking.


Professor invited me to make contribution to the mind map he had started drawing.

I wanted to go further “upstream”

“Professor – what about rethinking about the product itself?  And the raw materials used?” I put a question.

“Oh Yes”, said the Professor. “We must bring in both upstream and downstream elements when discussing industrial pollution control. Immediate thinking downstream will be recycling and recovery that the industry must do – extreme thinking being the so called Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD).  But further down, we must account for pollution caused beyond the factory gate covering transportation of products including packaging, pollution during product use and pollution after use i.e. during disposal. We call this as a life cycle approach to understand the problem of pollution – on a holistic basis”

I expanded the mind map further capturing the life cycle consideration with a question in my mind that why should such downstream thinking be discussed in the topic of pollution control.

Professor lit his cigar and took a deep puff. “Well Dr Modak, considering both upstream and downstream perspectives in industrial pollution control is a great idea – but this is something hard to “control” isn’t it? The stakeholders are different in each stage of the life cycle and industry may not have enough information, opportunity to participate and control”.

Hmm – I said and added “Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)” in the mind map.


The EPR concept was formally introduced in Sweden by my good friend Thomas Lindhqvist in a 1990 report to the Swedish Ministry of the Environment. In subsequent reports prepared for the Ministry, the following definition emerged: “[EPR] is an environmental protection strategy to reach an environmental objective of a decreased total environmental impact of a product, by making the manufacturer of the product responsible for the entire life-cycle of the product and especially for the take-back, recycling and final disposal.

Initially EPR was encouraged but now it is getting legislated in many countries – including in India.


So we were looking at pollution control not just of controlling emissions through stacks or managing effluents draining out of the premises. That itself could be a good point of discussion in Professors presentation – I thought. We were perhaps heading towards the new avatara of industrial pollution control as “responsible manufacturing”.

I thought we should introduce two terms now – 1) benchmarks and good practices and 2) standards

“You are right Dr Modak in pointing out these two terms”, Professor had a lot to say and he elaborated citing some extracts from literature and shared with me a print of key URLs.

Benchmarks tell you where you stand so that you move towards increased resource efficiency and resource recycling to achieve pollution prevention. Standards on emissions bring in the need to come up with technologies that help meet the requirements of compliance to achieve environmental protection. As standards become stricter, costs of compliance increase if you don’t bring in pollution prevention. Best practices provide a guide on how to achieve benchmarks and standards so that the industry is both competitive and compliant. Pollution control is then a logical outcome and not something done solely just because it is mandatory. “Integrated Pollution Control” becomes an opportunity for ecological modernization.

Wow, I said to myself.

We expanded our Mind Map further.

“Remember Dr Modak that we must keep in mind the concept of total overburden and build ecological rucksack in terms of consumption of resources and generation residues across all the media and across all stages of life cycle” Professor spoke slowly but had a lot of emphasis.

I understood that this statement was pretty loaded and deep. Perhaps another Mind Map will be required to capture what Professor was arguing. It introduced the need for circularity that each industry should think about and together with the government and communities. Partnership was important.

The concept of total overburden also highlighted the need to consider not just technology based solutions but hinted the role played by policies e.g. banning, planning measures (like eco-industrial parks), use of economic instruments like taxes and market mechanisms like pollution trading, influencing consumption patterns and promoting  innovative business models with appropriate financing. Role of common environmental infrastructure in achieving pollution control may also be discussed especially for small and medium industries.

We were perhaps talking about the industrial pollution control now as a sector and not a case of an individual polluting industry.

I attempted to add all these important keywords in the Mind Map. Now the map looked pretty complex. I wasnt fully satisfied though.

“Don’t tell me Professor that you are going to prepare slides to cover everything we have expressed in this Mind Map” I was now worried about the audience.

“Well, Dr Modak, this is my “general” Mind Map on industrial pollution control; I will decide which parts of this Mind Map need to be focused and emphasized to make my slides depending on the context and the audience. The presentation will be thus customized. Not everything will need to be said” Professor explained as he was probably expecting my question. “I will use less text, more infographics and provide handouts of key materials” Professor added.

“This is great, Professor. No wonder why I find your presentations always stimulating and so different from others. You must have prepared several such Mind Map-based presentations by now.” I asked

“No Dr Modak, this is my first time that I will use the technique of Mind Mapping” Professor said this while extinguishing his cigar.

And I was simply puzzled with his candid confession. Perhaps, the technique of Mind Mapping was simply “built in” Professors mind.


Mind mapping is simply a great fun with lots of learning.

The mind map that we created was indeed a “raw” representation. There are several mind mapping freewares that can be used to construct much better visualization, show connections and plugging in the details.

If you are interested, then do attempt creating a mind map on industrial pollution control by using some of these tools and build further on the raw map we prepared. I will publish your maps on this post.

Do send me a copy at prasad.modak@emcentre.com if you wish to receive any comments or guidance. Will be happy to work with you.


Cover image sourced from https://www.scirra.com/tutorials/188/6-steps-to-play-with-players-mind


If you like this post then follow me or share with your colleagues

 

The Lonavala Experiment

One day while teaching at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay; I received a call from Manjula Rao of the British Council Division. She said “Dr Modak, I have some budget to spare for conducting training on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Would you be interested? We will be able to support travel and stay of two British Professors. And you can design the course the way you deem fit. We won’t micro-manage”

As usual, I was itching to do something different and I thought I must make use of this generous offer from Manjula.

I spoke to my good friend M G Rao (who today is unfortunately no more). MG (as how we used to call him)  was working with Rashtirya Chemicals & Fertilizers in Mumbai managing company’s environmental affairs. MG was a seasoned environmental professional, a passionate personality, a perfectionist and had a great insight to the EIA process. He always looked at EIA beyond mere compliance and more of an opportunity to value-add and de-risking.

MG, me and Manjula sat together in the Nariman Point office of the British Council and discussed to identify targets to train and prepared an outline of the program.

I proposed a case study-based approach to “teach”. At that time, EIA of Mumbai-Pune expressway was in the news. Report prepared by Associated Industrial Consultants (AIC) was under scanner. Erich Bharucha, Professor at Pune had raised concerns about the impact of cutting trees on the flying squirrels that harbored in the forests on the Ghats (hills). Alternate alignment of the expressway was therefore demanded. The State Government had another viewpoint and wasn’t sensitive to the concerns raised by Professor Bharucha.

The Giant Flying Squirrel

In the EIA report, the Consultant AIC did a comparison between the “project” and “no project option” and this comparison showed that over long run, the expressway would certainly be an environmentally sound option to connect Mumbai with Pune. “Business as usual” was no good! The benefits of saving fuel (and so the emissions) and time and reduction of risks during travel were simply enormous given the projected volume of traffic between the two cities.

I thought this case study could be used in the training program. I met Mr. B V Rotkar at the office of AIC who was heading the EIA Team. Mr. Rotkar, a veteran in the subject of Environmental Governance, was earlier Member Secretary of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).  Mr. Rotkar was a Guru and an inspiring personality to many of us.

Rotkar listened to me. He liked my idea of using EIA of Mumbai-Pune as a learning case study. “Well Dr Modak, Go ahead but you would need to “doctor” the details and not lift the sections of our EIA report on as is basis. Make a “new story”, He smiled while handing over the EIA report to me. It was so generous of him.

Manjula asked me about the Venue. And I proposed Lonavala, a little holiday town perched on the hills and lying mid-way between Mumbai and Pune.  We were planning the program in the month of October and that was perhaps the best period to be in Lonavala. I selected Fariyas Resort.

Fariyas Resort is a 5-star hotel located picturesquely at Frichley Hills.  It enjoys proximity to the express highway, main market and several tourist attractions, including Pawna Lake, Lohagad Fort and Karla and Bhaja Caves. It is one of the best resorts in Lonavala.

I did a reiki by visiting Fariyas, inspected the training rooms, met the F&B Manager and saw the facilities as the program was going to be a residential one. We decided to accommodate 40 participants. A two days program on this basis fitted well in Manjula’s budget.

The next task was to identify the British Professors and check their availability. Two names occurred to me – one was Christopher Wood from Manchester University and second was Peter Wathern. Chris taught in University’s EIA Centre and had just published a book titled “Environmental Impact Assessment – A Comparative Review”. Peter taught at Aberystwyth University and had edited an amazing book “Environmental Impact Assessment – Theory and Practice”. I loved both these books and was keen to “teach” along with these two Professors.

(I would highly recommend you to read these two books – its been a while that the books have been written but do good old things ever get outdated? These books are even relevant today.)

When we contacted the Professors, both of them agreed to come and join in my “Lonavala Experiment”.

So, what was the experiment about?

This idea was to introduce a new way of teaching the subject of EIA and do capacity building of training institutions.

The “learning path” was first designed following the “process” of EIA. That led to the program design. For instance, the opening session was on Screening and the last session was Environmental Monitoring for Compliance and for Adapting the Environmental Management Plan. Mumbai-Pune expressway case study was “woven” across all the sessions.

The participants were split into 4 groups. For each work session, the group composition was changed so at the end of 2 days, almost all participants got “connected” to each other.

The method of teaching was not prescriptive. For example, each Group was given one-page brief with another page showing the project location. There were four such “sample” projects. To start with, each participant was asked to apply screening in his/her way and come with a conclusion on – whether an EIA is required? And if Yes then at what level (e.g. Initial Environmental Examination was adequate, or a detailed or comprehensive EIA should be done? And why?).

When groups were formed, a Group opinion was to be presented and this required that each member of the Group had to communicate his/her rationale, defend or critique and learn how to arrive at consensus. Oh, this was the toughest part! When each Group leader presented the Group view on project screening, a discussion followed that was even more enriching.

The session ended with a short discourse on the Screening Criteria followed in India and in other countries. Participants were then encouraged to comment (e.g. on criteria of project type, size/investment and location) and in specific the case of Mumbai-Pune expressway. Each session was thus exciting – both to the participants and the faculty.

Location of Fariyas Resort at the mid-way of the Expressway made a difference. We visited the site of Flying Squirrels to understand the sensitivity better! Session on alternatives was therefore full of ideas and energy and debates! At the end of the course, all participants learnt the practice of EIA, and as MG used to repeated say “its power as a value – add”

But I think the best part of the “Lonavala experiment” was integrating the training program with potential institutions and faculty who could replicate. I invited faculty from 8 renowned institutions in India who taught EIA in their curriculum. We called these faculty members as Observers and they served as Facilitators or Resource Persons during the period of training.

I requested these faculty to stay for one more day after the 2 days course and discuss the course content and pedagogy. The 40 participants had left by then.

The third day was very productive as these 8 faculty members made observations to further improve the training program. We made plans on how could we continue this model of training at their respective universities and what help would they need from us and from the British Council. There was so much positive energy when we closed the session on the third day.

Peter and Chis were amazing. I learnt a lot from these two stalwarts. We did a Training Manual after incorporating suggestions from the 8 “peers”. Peter took the responsibility to edit and finalize. Manjula found money to print the Training Manual.

MG and I spent good time in selecting the 40 participants. We chose participants from different disciplines and practice experience that ranged infrastructure developers, regulators, financiers, academicians, environmental NGOs, media personnel  and of course the EIA consultants. Many of these participants of the Lonavala experiment are still in touch with me today. Its sad that Peter Wathern is no more. He died in 2015. I don’t see any recent “google footprint” of Chris Wood. Last I saw him was at the IAIA Conference in Hongkong.

I would very be interested to repeat my “Lonavala experiment”. It was EIA the last time and this time, the topics could be different – may be Circular Economy? Do write to me if you have any suggestions or need any help.


If you like this Post then Follow me or share this Post with your colleagues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teaching Environment with Meta Data

I went to see my Professor friend on a Sunday morning. Idea was to chit chat and have delicious dosai prepared by his wife with a tangy green chutney and ending the breakfast with a strong south Indian filter coffee.

Professor was busy as usual and was glued to his laptop doing some frantic Google search.

I asked “Professor, what’s your search today, You look real desperate”.

“Well Dr Modak, I am looking for data on sales of Asthalin in the city of Mumbai over past 10 years.” Professor responded while glaring at the computer screen

Some of you may know that Asthalin is a product of Cipla Pharmaceuticals that has been a life saver inhaler to combat asthma.

I was surprised about Professors interest in sale of Asthalin.

“I am teaching the subject of air pollution tomorrow and I badly need this data” Professor said

I did not want to disturb him and so kept shut.

A few minutes passed by and Professor seemed to have found that he was looking for.

“Aha, I finally hit on the data I wanted, now let us get to the dining table for the breakfast” Professor seemed to be relived

While relishing the Mysore plain dosai, I asked Professor the connection …

“Well, Dr Modak, You probably know that I always teach the subject of environment with the help of meta data.” Professor said.

Meta data – what’s that Professor? I knew a bit about this term, but wanted to have a better explanation

“Metadata is simply data about data. It means it is a description and context of the data. It helps to organize, find and understand data. In most instances, meta data is used to search data, but I use meta data to make understand data better.” Professor explained

Take a case of continuous air quality monitoring data. When we see sudden spikes in the concentration levels, then you may check the “meta data” that tracks the “surround” situation e.g. may be a truck was standing next to the monitoring station puffing emissions over 10 minutes. This meta data could be in the form of a video file that records the surrounding as much as the air pollutant concentration is recorded by the monitoring instrument. Another example could be an instance of a sudden fall in the particulate concentration. This  may indicate a shower of rain (like a spell of a drizzle) washing out the particulates. So, records of the rain events become a useful meta data.

“Oh yes,  understood Professor” I said. “So, what you are saying is that meta data is required or is very important to understand the environmental data we monitor. In many instances. we don’t pay attention to this kind of data. We don’t record or we overlook”.

“Indeed. So, tomorrow when I teach air pollution, I will be showing map of city of Mumbai with air quality trends over 12 monitoring stations and show at the same time the information or trend in the sale of asthalin inhaler at some of the major chemists. Probably, the air quality (especially the particulates) near to the chemist shops may be correlated with the sale of asthalin. But I am not very sure. I plan to show last 10-year trend between the two, based on monthly average data. It may throw interesting relationship between PM10 or PM2.5 or ratio between PM2.5 and PM10 with the sale of asthalin”

Professor showed me a map that he was attempting to prepare. I thought this was a great idea to make students understand the air pollution in Mumbai and raise a debate. Merely looking at the air pollutant concentrations wouldn’t  perhaps give a deeper understanding of the problem.

I  thought of similar associations. I remembered that we got some statistics from Western Railways in Mumbai about the frequency of cable coating they had to follow to combat cable corrosion. When Mumbai had moderately high Sulphur dioxide concentration, the frequency of cable recoating had increased. A plot between average seasonal Sulphur dioxide concentration and expenditures on per unit length for recoating showed an interesting proportional relationship.

Professor continued. ”There are known relationships that show coupling e.g. per capita income and per capita waste generation. So richer you get more becomes the waste generation. But if you start digging more, you may find even more interesting relationships. For instance, value of goods purchased through e-commerce websites may explain the rising fraction of plastic in the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). So, it may worth to expose the student to the meta data on e-commerce platforms to understand the changing composition of the MSW. Patterns and modes of consumption help to know the generation of waste”

Professor was right. I remembered that increasing cost of raw water treatment reflected the deteriorating quality of river water. More dosage of flocculants and disinfectant had to be used to combat the pollution released upstream of the raw intake works.

Professor had another example. In the city of Hubli in India, he had found that high concentrations of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in drinking water were related to the insurance claims made by patients for the treatment of kidney stones.  That showed serious health and economic implications to justify investing in a TDS management plan.

Sometimes we assess the effectiveness of a regulation and a degree of enforcement by examining the trend in the fines collected or number of non-compliance cases filed. I analyzed the data on the number of cases filed to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) over 5 years across India and this statistic showed the “hot spots” or the “troubled areas” that we should worry.

Extent of night illumination at industrial estates (detected through the satellite imageries), the amount of octroi collected on the road entering the industrial estate and the water cess records provide a good measure to assess the resource intensity. These are interesting elements of meta data to serve as a proxy. You can then compare the resource intensities and potential environmental impacts of two industrial estates on this basis.

Professor said that it is necessary that the Teacher should use the “associativity” and appropriate meta data to make students think beyond the silos, be creative and learn to question or inquire. This style is perhaps most desirable to explain the complex subject of environment and its management. Remember that examining meta data also helps to check the “quality” of the data and validate some of the hypothesis. We need to build a number of interesting teaching case studies for this purpose.  Professor lighted his cigar

“Oh Professor, since you mentioned about validating the hypothesis, I must share with you something funny” I said while sipping the filter coffee.  Generally, higher is the number of environmental professionals available in a country, the national Environmental Performance Index (EPI) should improve. [EPI is a measure developed by the Yale University. EPI for each country is estimated every year and the index has been published for more than 15 years].

And so, what was your finding for India data Dr Modak? Professor asked.

“Well, I found that as the number of environmental professionals increased, the levels of EPI for India  deteriorated! Quite contrary to the hypothesis”

“Aha, you did not use the right meta data Dr Modak. Professor exclaimed. “If you had used meta data on corruption and scams in India, then you would have certainly found a relationship between corruption in the country and the deteriorating EPI”

I thought Professor was absolutely right.


Cover image sourced from https://tech.ebu.ch/groups/pmag


If you like this post then follow me or circulate the post across your colleagues

 

 

 

 

Making a Career in Environment

I receive on an average five applications with Curriculum Vitae (CV) every day from students and young professionals who are interested to make careers in the field of environment. Out of the 100 CVs that I examine, I would say that less than 5% of the CVs look promising – or worth taking the discussion ahead.

I worry about the remaining 95%. I see that many of this category do not get jobs or advice (in the right time!) and subsequently run into a frustration and many a times even drop their plans of working in the field of environment. The ever-hungry IT sector offers them alternate opportunities.

I am writing this blog today to guide the students and young professionals on how should one build a career in the field of environment. I don’t have a remarkable story to tell about myself, but still I will use my career as an illustration wherever relevant.

The starting point is that you must be sensitive and have a passion towards environment. As you learn more, you should get even more excited. Does this make you restless? If it does, then great. I remember environment was always my passion. I was clear that this is what I want to learn about right in my undergraduate days.

You need to meet with people who work in the field of environment. You need to ask them questions and listen to what they have to say. I remember I met practically all those who mattered across the country. I travelled.

Think who you want to be? Identify personalities that may inspire you. Read my blog on who you want to be?. But be careful as it is a satire but has a lot of hidden messages.

See how can you add green (or more green) in your undergrad/grad program. Take electives and mini-projects that expose you to different topics of environment. I remember the second year elective offered by Professor S M Khopkar of Chemistry Department at IIT Bombay on “Environmental Pollution”. We had a choice to take 4 electives in the fourth and fifth year of BTech. You could do 4 electives on Systems and Control or  Humanities or Environmental Science. I chose the latter.

If required, audit the courses that are “lateral” but are important e.g. a course on mass communication. I remember during my doctoral research I took lots of such lateral courses such as system simulation, combinotorial optimization.

Internship is very important. Carefully plan your internship. Ideally look for two internships – one with an industry and another with a research organization or a science based environmental NGO. If you can manage getting internship outside India, then go for it. Intern where you have someone to mentor or the program is well laid out. Practice based learning is the essence. If you are asked to produce a document only through Googling, then this kind of internship is not worth at all.

At Environmental Management Centre LLP, we have been running a serious internship program for more than 15 years. So far nearly 80 students have completed their internships. Visit www.emcentre.com and I would recommend you to browse through the internship topics we offered.

Selecting your project (bachelors/masters/PhD) and the Guide are very important decisions. The project should give you research as well as project management experience. It’s the experience that is more important than the outcomes. So, select a topic such that you meet lots of people and travel in the field. Aim for a good publication – ideally two – one in a national and one in an international refereed journal. Read my blog on the fuss that will tell you my story how I chose my bachelors project. You may enjoy my another blog on how to carry out  “inconsequential research

It is a clever idea to take part or start green campus initiatives. This could mean setting up of a solar hot water system for the college canteen or replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs or designing and installing a waste to compost facility. These initiatives will expose you to the practical aspects of design, costing, getting the sponsor (such as alumni) and getting involved in the implementation. Use your summer vacations for such a project implementation experience. In some cases, you could even link these campus projects with your research interest and formulate a bachelors or masters dissertation.

Become secretary of the student association on environment –set up FB /LinkedIn pages, bring out a newsletter and organize lectures of external faculty. Consider holding a national workshop – learn event management, make contacts and maintain them post the event. I remember working for a national workshop on environmental management that we conducted at IIT Bombay during my Masters. Professor P Khanna was the convener.

At bachelors and masters level, don’t overly specialize – look at all media (e.g. air, water, land) and get the nexus right. That will distinguish you from others. Give Indian statistics as much importance as the international. Familiarize with local and national situation, challenges and opportunities. Blend both theory and practice. Be comfortable in working in the lab and be familiar with instruments.

Pick up a job before moving to Masters or Doctoral – work for at least 2 to 3 years preferably at an institution that gives you a rounded experience.  Getting the right experience is more important than the salary. Do read my blog on three interviews I faced during my job hunting! Oh, this was hilarious.

Small organizations with great people should be the first choice. Opportunity of working on “unconventional” projects should be the priority.

Join a professional association. Get involved. Help the association and learn. Get elected. Take a position in the organization of the association, Patronize the association and Grow. For last several years, I have been closely associated with the Indian Water Works Association. I edited the Journal over 8 years, organized national and international workshops and this helped me a lot.

Continue referring to the “library”. Identify the problems and opportunities you see in practice (as of today and as anticipated in the future), talk to to seniors/experts and see whether answers are already there. You may hit on something where solutions need to be evolved. Write two pagers on your ideas. Communicate and get them peered. I remember that I wrote my first two pager on the research needs on water supply engineering and sent the note to Professor Daniel Okun, legendary professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Professor Okun replied and offered me research assistanceship. That was amazing.

Find the best place where you want to research. Don’t compromise the university. Wait and have patience. Brand of the university where you do advanced learning is extremely important.

Make the best of your Masters/PhD program. Shape yourself well to face the world as you complete. You will never get such a time again.

Pick up a career stream based on your passion and the skills. Teaching? Research? Consulting? Technology Development? Technology Marketing? Project implementation? Policy and Regulations? Financing? You may experiment for a while if you like but all this should be done within the first 5 years max. In my case I tried to do all! But I must say I have been lucky to be the “free radical”

When you work take additional qualifications to update and build more skills – keep annual and five-year cycles for learning. Avoid templated work to the extent possible. As you grow, learn to manage teams and build experience on project management.

Become a mentor – keep connections with the Academia as the subject of environment is so dynamic. Look for visiting professor appointment. If required, spend your half Saturdays.

Continue working for professional associations, build your network – nationally and internationally

Publish to create impact. You will automatically be visible. Maintain high quality with no compromise. Keep a balance between individual and group publications, conferences and refereed journals.

Aspire to bring in a change that is impactful and measurable. You need to have patience and doggedness to pursue.

Finally, money should not be the objective of what you do. Money will chase you as much you stay away! Stay humble and celebrate others success. Have a compassion.

And finally, give back to the society. Environment is such a great subject that giving back enriches everybody’s life and makes your life worth living.  And only those who are fortunate, take environment as their career.

I have said a lot and everything what I have said may not be possible. You may “delete” and “add” and “adapt” depending on your opportunities and situation. Feel absolutely free and if you need any advice then do reach me on prasad.modak@emcentre.com

Each year, I hold a one-day counseling workshop on making careers in environment called as Disha. We will hold Disha this year after the academic sessions are over around April end or so.

I will notify and if you are interested, then please do attend Disha.

I will be glad to help.


I will be on on Facebook Live on Sunday 28 9:00 AM India time/ Sat 27 10:30 PM US EST. If interested then do join me


 

Cover image sourced from http://wolhawaii.com/the-journey-of-my-destiny/


If you like this post then please Follow me or forward this post to your colleagues

 

 

 

The Joy of Teaching

In my professional career, I have been a Professor, a Consultant, a Corporate Head, an Entrepreneur and have worked with UN Bodies, Governments and Financing Institutions across the world. Amongst all these roles that I played, it is teaching that has given me the most satisfaction. Teaching to me has always been a joy – and a never-ending opportunity for learning. You feel blessed.

I remember days at Centre for Environmental Science and Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay where I was a lecturer in 1984. All of us, as teachers, used the blackboard then with a box-full of chalks to “construct” what we wanted to say and “communicate” to the students. Use of Overhead Projector (OHP) and the plastic foils was just emerging.

Using the blackboard required teachers thorough understanding of the subject, confidence or the command to convince and of course the creativity. There were no “props” like the plastic foils where the content to be spoken was already written. You needed to ensure that your writing on the blackboard is neat and in the right font size so that it can be read by a student who is sitting on the last bench. You also needed to draw well, especially the diagrams and use chalks of assorted colors for the required emphasis. A big advantage of blackboard based teaching was that it made the students write and take their own notes as you erased the board once done with your point or topic. Today students are not simply writing!

OHPs are now replaced by LCD projectors where teachers use PowerPoints, animate the slides and insert videos to make teaching interesting. This is great. But still, I find writing on the blackboard very effective and challenging.  You feel more of an Actor in the classroom as your voice modulation, pauses, movements across and towards the blackboard matter.

When you draw a stretch of river and show discharge of untreated wastewater and then “narrate” what happens to the Dissolved Oxygen (DO) profile by drawing the DO-Sag Curve, you essentially build the “situation” step by step. You speak as you draw. The communique to the student therefore “brews”. Its not the matter like instant coffee!

Well you can do this rather dramatically with the help of animated PowerPoint slides. But to me developing the situation real time on the blackboard is like offering a freshly squeezed juice as against providing a canned juice! The fizz of the subject is simply lost when you have something already prepared or cooked that you many a times “mechanically” deliver.

I remember each time I taught the DO-sag curve, the visualization on the blackboard was different – as ideas came to my mind on “real time”, sensing the pulse of the class and more so as I kept on learning.  In this process, many “lateral” questions used to come up as I would sometimes show a case of Sag going below 2 mg/l of DO and then question the students whether the first order kinetics of BOD degradation was still valid.  On some occasions, I would invite a student to draw DO sag due to discharge of a non-point source such as fertilizer laden runoff from agriculture fields. Posing these situations would make students a bit uncomfortable, but then such “expansions” created ground for me to slowly build the complexity of water quality modelling beyond the basic equation of Streeter and Phelps. This matter was however put rather logically and humbly!

When we talk about complexity, teaching subject like environment, requires out of the box thinking on part of the teacher and an innovative strategy. The sheer complexity and uncertainty of environmental science is really exciting to teach. Nexus is the crux that needs to be “taught” and that is where a teacher is needed to introduce the relationships, generate discussions and motivate building of scenarios. It’s the free thinking that is to be introduced. The cross-connect in teaching environmental management of today and for tomorrow is to emphasize on the nexus. I hate teaching in silos like air pollution, water pollution, solid wastes etc.

Nexus is best communicated through story telling. You don’t start teaching atmospheric chemistry of smog formation first – instead you tell the story how the flights to Delhi in the winter are significantly delayed. And how these persistent delays affect people’s lives and the economy. Then ask why does this happen? The story “compels” the students to unfold the science behind the smog episodes and so the relevant chemistry comes in.

You tell the students a story where recycling of plastic was used to make toys for toddlers. Isn’t recycling of plastic waste a clever idea? You ask the students. In this story you then tell how the recycled plastic when used to make toys led to adverse impact on the neurological functions of the toddlers who loved to chew these recycled toys ! These adverse impacts were found much later. Well these adverse impacts could well be questioned and argued. The probable reason was the use of flame retardants in the used plastic that had remained “unabated”. The story illustrates the case of ”irresponsible recycling” and throws up several technical and policy related matters for a discussion.

A teacher is needed to tell such stories in the right or clever sequence pointing out the science, economics, social concerns, policies and of course the politics behind. Imagine if a teacher uses a bank of 30 such well identified and researched stories to “teach” students a full course on environmental management. While stories open up the minds and makes one aware of the realities; the underlying science is read by the students as essential supplements – but not in the class but “off-line” – by reading notes, research papers on googling the web. Meeting in the Classroom is to get narrative of the story from the teacher, discuss and appreciate complexity of the subject to understand the nexus and multiple or different points of view. I enjoy teaching when I run a course full of stories. And indeed, this is close to the “flip” method of teaching.

I have prepared a matrix of “teaching stories” covering local, sub-national, national, regional and global scales across various thematic. Examples in the thematic of air pollution-health-economics nexus are

  • Did Substitution of Petrol by CNG in Delhi work at all? (Local scale)
  • Asia Brown Cloud over East Asia – Is it a significant issue? How much has it affected the health and economies of the ASEAN? (Regional scale)
  • What are the new challenges due to phase out of ODS, especially on the formation of Short Lived Climate Pollutants? (Global scale)

We have several newspaper headlines and articles on such questions and they often become the starting points of the stories.

But teaching does not have to be only in the class room. A lot happens when you take students on a field trip that is well planned. These field trips or “yatras” provide great experiential learning opportunities, in a group, and often in an implicit manner. So, if you organize a field trip to Ralegaon Siddhi (a transformed village in the State of Maharashtra in India), students understand the linkages to the development and environment and the complexities. They experience the story.  Perhaps in a course of 36 lectures on environmental management, spending weekends at 4 interesting locations for such learning will be very effective.

I must tell you about my experience and experiment at one of the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCB) in India. When the Member Secretary (the Administrator) of the SPCB asked me to train some of Boards staff, I told him that I would do this a bit differently. I asked for a desk on the first floor to sit and parked myself there. “Let me first be part of your staff Sir” I told the Member Secretary.

On the first floor, I was in a room of few Senior Environmental Engineers. One of them was Bala. I saw a heap of files on Bala’s desk. I noticed that Bala stayed late every day clearing the files and carried several files home in his car. He looked stressed.

I walked up to him next day and talked to him about his problem. “Is there a way that we could make three heaps, one heap of files that requires your priority attention; one that is of cases that do not need your attention and your sub-ordinate can manage and the third heap that is simply not relevant to you and hence is to be returned”.

“Oh, you have a point Dr Modak, my assistant stacks all the files as they come in. Can you help?”

There was a blackboard in the room which did not seem to be used much. I walked to the blackboard and started ideating the schema of prioritization for applications made by the industries. As I started developing the criteria, Bala joined and started commenting and making suggestions. Others in the room noticed this discussion and pulled their chairs around us. It  soon became a classroom of “students” and I was the “teacher”.

In the next two hours we developed a schema that Bala and his assistant could use to stack the files in three heaps. I then unfolded the science behind and exposed the team to some of the criteria and tools used by other regulators in the world. When we ended the session with a tea, few asked me for some reading materials. Next week onwards, Bala’s desk had only one heap of files and he did not carry files home anymore.

Member Secretary understood my method of teaching. He asked me to move and take a table now on the second floor! “You may like to teach there like you did on the first floor” He said with a smile. Thats the joy of teaching.

I wish my “last lecture” is in a room with a blackboard with students sitting around me – eager to learn.  I will enjoy teaching them through “story telling” and it will be a great joy to  see their faces getting slowly illuminated. This makes life worth living.

God – bless me please.

 


Cover image sourced from https://ctl.yale.edu/teaching


If you like this post then please Follow Me or circulate across your colleagues

 

My New Book – Environmental Management Towards Sustainability

I have written in my space of three decades of career a few books and publications. But I was always craving to craft a book on the subject of Environmental Management & Sustainability. I wanted to structure a book that could meet the needs of academia, professionals in practice and communities. I also wanted to position the efforts taken by the businesses, financing institutions, policy makers and regulators; compile some of the success stories and cite leadership examples. In addition, I thought that the book should serve as a textbook to run a 36-lecture post graduate course at the universities.

Since 2015 I started working on this project with CRC Press (Taylor & Francis Group). The task was arduous and challenging. It took several iterations of re-structuring and re-writing. Nothing is perfect when you write! And your quest to be good, often plays the devil! All of us have experienced this uneasy process when you want to create something different. You struggle.

In 2016 I suffered from a cardiac stroke and then several setbacks came along on the health front that led to interruptions and delays.  I doggedly continued and finally the book was completed by August 2017 for processing at the publisher’s end. My last twenty years of consulting practice at my company –  Environmental Management Centre LLP – greatly helped me in this endeavor. My colleagues at EMC played a key role in helping me to pull the examples, doing proof-reading and in referencing. Sustainability has been dear to all of us. Way back in 1996, we wrote our mission statement as “Practicing Sustainability to the Advantage of All”.

I am happy to inform you that the book will now be released by end of December 2017. I hope I will receive a set of copies of this book on my birthday – January 4, 2018!

The book has been structured in six Chapters. The first Chapter introduces the critical issues the world is facing today with relevant statistics, underscoring the importance of recognizing the nexus. The key concerns on polarization of population due to urbanization and skew in the global material flows are discussed. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are outlined highlighting importance of Resource Efficiency (RE) and Secondary Material Recycling (SMR). The Chapter ends by introducing the concept of Circular Economy (CE).

Chapter 2 introduces the stakeholders to sustainability such as G (government)-FI (financing institutions)-B (business)-C (community). It lists the key governing principles that need to be put into practice.  Responses from the national governments at policy level are then described – introducing examples of constitutional provisions. Next, the planning related interventions are illustrated with case studies such as zoning, eco-cities, eco industrial parks or eco-towns. Regulatory frameworks are then dealt with, citing examples of standards and their evolution in the life cycle perspective.

Chapter 3 is devoted mainly to Development Financial Institutions (DFIs) and Private Sector Financial Institutions (PSFIs).  Examples are cited of the operations at the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, followed by PSFIs who have adopted Equator Principles. This chapter also introduces various financial instruments, trends and opportunities such as Sustainable Stock Exchanges, Adaptation Funds and Green Bonds

Sustainability in the Business organizations (both manufacturing and services) is discussed in Chapters 4 and 5. While Chapter 4 introduces the strategies practiced by the business across the sectors and Chapter 5 presents more of sectoral experience with numerous case studies

In Chapter 6, the focus is on the role played by the communities. Communities play an extremely key role when it comes to achieving results on the ground. Sometimes the community plays a role as a watchdog, sometimes a facilitator and sometimes takes a leadership which we often call as Community Driven Development (CDD). Chapter 6 also underscores the importance of awareness, education, training and innovation. The topics such as Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and eco-entrepreneurship are also introduced in this context. The Chapter presents several case studies where social enterprises have been set up for the benefit of community at large. The importance of linkages between sustainability and innovation is brought out where we show how businesses and the governments along with the local community are moving on the path of innovation. The Chapter presents case studies that emphasize importance of partnerships across communities, government, financing institutions and the business.

The book uses around 140 examples/case studies in the form of boxes. In each box, there are discussion questions and references for further reading for the interest of the students and the faculty. I put considerable efforts and emphasis on examples and discussion questions as I thought that this feature would make understanding, learning and teaching more effective and interesting.

The book may be used as a textbook or a principal reference to design and conduct a 36-lecture course at graduate level on Environmental Management and Sustainability. The instructor could intersperse these lectures with practicums, discussion sessions and brainstorming events. For each of the case studies the book has the lead references given. So, the student is encouraged to go through the original references from where the case studies have been drawn and then discuss the case studies in much more detail.

One could also use the book selectively depending on the audience. The content of Chapters 4 and 5 which are little more focused like on Business could be used in combination with Chapter 1 (as an introduction) to conduct short term training programmes. Similar approach could be used to train offers of the government, financing institutions and the communities.

The book does not delve in detail on specific environmental management tools. However, concepts of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), practices in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS), frameworks such as Sustainability Assessment of Technologies (SAT) are introduced. The book cites number of references to gives directions to the reader on how to deepen knowledge on some of these tools. The students and practioners are encouraged to follow the references. The instructor can even consider exposing the students further by setting up reading assignments and prepare notes. For example, students may be encouraged to do a study on the application of LCA on some of the interesting products like washing machine, or plastic bags and then present these assignments in a group work and share with each other the methodologies used.

I must say I was fortunate to receive consent of Dr Bindu Lohani, my doctoral research guide and Ex-Vice President of the Asian Development Bank in Manila to write the Foreword for the book. His words of encouragement in my book are a result of our long relationship over past 35 years!

This book in summary makes an attempt to present an interesting and useful compilation of experiences put in the perspectives of key stakeholders such as government, financing institutions, business and the communities.  I do hope that you find this resource useful and help to put sustainability in practice.


The book is now listed on Amazon. Visit crcpress.com to avail 20% discount. Enter the code FLR40 at checkout.

For more details, or to request a copy for review, please contact: Gagandeep Singh, Senior Editor, +919646026201, gagandeep.singh@taylorandfrancis.com


I plan to conduct a series of lecturers based on this book on Saturday mornings in Mumbai, commencing from January 2018 till March end, 2018. I am keeping these sessions FREE just for the joy of speaking on this subject and to be in the company of people who are interested in sustainability.

I am looking for a sponsor who will lend me a lecture room with video recording facilities as  I plan to set up a website for this book with video clips of my lectures for potential e-learning. If there is any progress on this front, I will send you a notification.