The Auroville community near Puducherry on the east coast of India has innovated in various ways to devise an eco-friendly lifestyle
There’s pin-drop silence when Krishna McKenzie picks soil in his hand to explain to visitors from South America and Europe his idea behind the Solitude Farm. He uses multilingual terms to refer to earth. Life in the soil is directly proportional to its fertility, he adds to his explanation on permaculture and the methods of natural farming at the farm in Auroville.
Japanese farmer Maonoby Fukoaka, known for his natural farming and re-vegetation of arid lands, inspired McKenzie. Solitude Farm is deeply committed to a sustainable vision of community-supported agriculture, eating locally and natural farming, and permaculture.
Auroville, the city of dawn along the East coast of India near Puducherry (earlier called Pondicherry), also has the reputation of being one of the most important demonstration sites for renewable energy technologies in India. It is a microcosm of the world where citizens from more than 25 countries live.
Auroville has the highest concentration of alternative and appropriate energy systems in India, including solar, wind and biogas generating systems. Of particular interest are the huge 15-metre diameter solar collectors installed on the roof of the kitchen, designed to generate enough steam to cook over 1,000 meals a day, and the Matrimandir Solar Power Plant, believed to be one of the largest stand-alone systems in India, comprising 484 photovoltaic modules with a total capacity of 36.3 KW. Some 750 homes and offices operate entirely or mostly on solar power.
Apart from solar energy, the Auroville community is also a world leader in compressed-earth building techniques, rainwater harvesting, reforestation, plant-based sewage treatment, wind energy, and effective microorganisms, dry composting toilets and grey water systems, permaculture and organic farming, natural dyeing and so on.
The sustainable lifestyle promoted at Auroville has been captured on camera to provide a photomontage of a climate-friendly community. All photographs are by the author.
This photo essay was done under the aegis of WWF Climate Media Fellowship 2017.
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