Physicist and conservationist Prof Vikram Soni has an answer
4/20/2018 8:49:37 PM
|written By : By Nithya Subramanian|
A physicist and conservationist, Prof Vikram Soni has been at the forefront of the movement to protect the environment. He took up cudgels not only with the local authorities, but also with the army which was quietly decapitating the Delhi Ridge near Vasant Vihar (a tony enclave in South Delhi) for commercial gains.
His latest book, Naturally: Tread Softly On The Planet, is almost like a survival guide on Earth. It takes you on a journey on the evolution of life on Earth and how it has been affected by a reckless drive for profits and technology. “He makes a plea for a kind of technology that is much more respectful and symbiotic,” said Nobel Prize for Physics winner Antony J Leggett.
India Se Media had the opportunity to interview Soni, Professor of Physics at the National Physical Laboratory and at the Centre for Theoretical Physics at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. India Se: You are a professor of physics but have taken to conservation in a big way, which includes your work in saving the Delhi Ridge. How did that happen and do you see any convergence between the two?
Vikram Soni: Yes. Conservation is an essential survival resource. Physics allows you to work out and quantify earth processes holistically, which has not been done yet and can move us to a new science and principle: From “Conservation”, which is a troubled ideal, to ‘’Conserve and Use’’.
India Se: As highlighted in your book through anecdotal evidence, there is a constant conflict between business interests and environment. Do you believe that businesses can be built without impacting the environment in a big way?
Vikram Soni: Yes, that is why we invented non-invasive solutions and “Conserve and Use” solutions for the planet. These give us huge health and economic benefits and yet do not lay waste to the planet like present-day technology.
India Se: What is your view on conservation and environmental policy/efforts in India?
Vikram Soni: Conservation and its non-invasive use of evolutionary resources like rivers, aquifers and forests and fully recyclable technology has not been addressed by our policies anywhere yet. The book suggests how we can go about this. India Se: Could you briefly explain the concept of “Conserve and use’’?
Vikram Soni: “Conserve and use” is based on the principle that nature provides and you can use this only up to the point that it can restore the ecology every year. It must be perennial and non- invasive.
India Se: It was reported that you had sent a proposal to the Andhra Pradesh government for its
new capital, Amaravati. What is the
status of that, considering the fact
that the Singapore government is
also involved in it?
Vikram Soni: Our proposal through
a booklet on Amaravati was unveiled
in Amaravati itself where a team
of 300 farmers of Amaravati was
present along with a senior member
of the ruling party. I myself sent the
book to the chief minister. But there
has been no action by the project
authorities or the chief minister.
Nor has the Andhra Pradesh
followed the recommendations of the committee appointed by the central government or any advice from outside.
India Se: What are some of the current projects that you are involved in?
Vikram Soni: Tackling water scarcity in the cities, mainly from a renewable and perennial source of water - the river floodplains – and providing perennial and genuine natural mineral water
from local forests for all cities at an affordable price are the two projects keeping me busy now. I am also working on
natural city design.
India Se: How do you keep yourself motivated
in your quest to protect the environment, especially when the road ahead is often very
rocky and tough?
Vikram Soni: I am motivated by my conviction that, to survive, we must change
our scheme of living. An individual has a personal identity, but also a larger identity which encompasses society, and a yet larger identity that encompasses the planet on which we
Till now we have charted a course where self-seeking fortune is the standard of success.
But our priorities must be reversed if we are to achieve an enduring living scheme that protects the environment.The first priority must be to preserve and secure the planet.The next priority should be an equitable society and finally we must look after ourselves.
It is clear that we need to respect the right of the Earth to remain healthy, the right of society to remain equitable and the right of individuals to remain true to themselves, or we will not find a workable democratic solution.