Engineering a New Way of Life

I have a confession to make. I stopped the newspaper subscription. Every morning I used to spend precious minutes to hours with the newspaper and my morning cuppa tea. But then I started dreading my favorite time of the day – another tragic headline. Ending the self-imposed torture I quit reading the papers. And I feel so much better and freer. Any news of any importance that I may have missed does come my way via some media or the other. And even if it doesn’t so what? It wasn’t as if I was going to change the world, was I?

But there is something I could do – I could spread some positivism instead of negativity. In fact, riding high on the successful completion of the A to Z Challenge last year, I had decided on the theme for the next year – A to Z of positive news. I had been collecting snippets for the challenge. But now I find I am too tied up to participate in the A to Z challenge. Yet happily enough, I stumbled upon We Are the World Blogfest which seeks to promote positive news.

Participants are expected to join in with a short piece every last Friday of the month. I thought it was a really cool idea and jumped at the chance to share and spread some of the good stuff that is happening and is worth knowing about. I hope you too will join in.

For my first bit of positive news I bring to you Sonam Wangchuk who inspired the movie 3 Idiots. An engineer, innovator, and an education reformist, he is all that is Phunsukh Wangdu (of 3 Idiots) and so much more. The movie has come and gone but Sonam Wangchuk continues to scale greater heights.

In November 2016, he was awarded the prestigious Rolex Award for Enterprise. Wangchuk helped farmers of Ladakh to overcome water shortages by tapping melting waters and building artificial glaciers, known as ice stupas. The ice stupa are almost two-stories high and can roughly store about 150,000 liters of winter stream water which is unwanted at the time. These stupas melt in the summer providing the much needed water to farmers when they need it the most. Brilliant and simple solution isnt it?

In addition, Wangchuk has successfully applied the ice stupa technique for disaster mitigation at high altitude glacier lakes. He has been invited by the Sikkim and Swiss government to counter the phenomenon of fast-melting glaciers.

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Photo shared by my brother who met Sonam Wangchuk in Ladakh last week

The Ice Stupa that won the international Rolex award of USD 1 million for innovation from among 3,200 entries worldwide. It also qualified for the tallest Ice Sculpture in the world for the Guinness Book of World Records, beating the previous Chinese record by more than 6 meters.

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Apart from this, Sonam Wangchuk has been working in Ladakh for over 20 years through his Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL). Working with the J and K government and like-minded friends, he rewrote the textbooks, retrained the teachers, took in failures and is now creating success stories out of them. You can watch his talk here.

He also designed the SECMOL campus that runs completely on solar energy and uses no fossil fuels for cooking, lighting or heating, even in Ladakhi winters when temperatures fall to minus 25C degrees. He wants to translate and transform not only school education but also higher education. Not only in Ladakh but for the whole world. To fund his dream he has donated his entire Rolex prize money as seed money and is looking to raise more funds. I could go on and on but I think it’s time to stop. If you like you can read more about him on the web. Just type in Sonam Wangchuk – a man who is truly inspiring.

I hope you enjoyed this bit of news and if you have a minute to spare, have a look at this heartwarming video.

Do share your views, opinions, suggestions and positive news. Thank you for reading πŸ™‚

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