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18 April 2007

Have money, will spend

Globally people are being urged to consume less, conserve more and everything from food to clothes to commute to weddings, the mantra is, Go Green! In Mumbai consumers both individual and business have been asked to cut down consumption by 20% in 20 days or pay a fine for power.

Will there be a real effort to be more prudent? Or will the materialistic approach which rules say, " I cannot sleep without my aircon at night, I don't care about the bill or fine. Have money will pay".

An old Indian saying says, When the elephants fight it is the grass that suffers. This is how the power shortage and crisis in the city and state appears to be. It has less to do with global warming and climate change as one would think and more to do with power sharing, pricing, acts and bills and spats between the biggies. Leading to certain people enjoying their comforts while other households, small business, and professionals including doctors suffer in other parts of the city.

For quite a long time now, the power situation in the state and country has been under intense debate and study and many policy debates and decisions.

There was a news item some time ago about activists who stormed a lobby and demanded lights be taken off in a posh prestigious five star hotel. No one likes activism but the hotel authorities were quoted as saying that the lights are what create the ambience, which our customers expect and pay for, so we need them. Read - to get and retain customers, the cost incurred is a business cost, which we make up as profits later. Or take the example of employers who require employees to stay late,work weekends for business pressure and work demands when on the other hand as an individual he is urged to cut down commute. Not to mention power and water requirements of running the business establishment.

Hotels, automobiles, travel, airlines specifically etc are some of the industries which have little incentive to conserve or champion environmental causes. The public spat between Ryan Air Chief and Gordon Brown of the UK is now well -known.

In this babel, The Orchid Ecotel in Mumbai is an example of an hotel that from the very start has invested in environment friendly practices. Now if only that was the rule rather than the exception!

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