Friday, April 28, 2006

Compost tea, anyone?

Listening to: 'Trouble Sleeping' by Corinne Bailey Rae [Corinne Bailey Rae]

I've had a good day, as far as revision goes. Two chapters of Sustainability...and only dozed off once! How cool is that?

Sustainability is an interesting subject. Let me enlighten you *muahahahaha*. Basically, it's a subject that shows us engineers the detrimental effects of industrialisation and technological advancement that disregards the environment...and it presents suggestions on how to overcome the issues we face (global warming, famine etc.). From what I've been reading today, this course could've easily been called 'How Our Predecessors Messed Up Our Future' and the message wouldn't have changed at all. Scientists and engineers have spent the past few decades trying to modify techniques that shouldn't have been implemented in the first place. By trying to 'maximise yields' (and profit), we've seemingly dug ourselves into a hole that's almost too deep to crawl out of. Oops.

Yes, I said almost. Why? Because I'm an engineer...engineers are ingenious...we come up with practical solutions to the most difficult problems, using the knowledge we get from scientists. I'm confident that we'll get us out of this mess. Either that, or there'll be some form of natural/human-caused genocide somewhere on the planet that'll bring the population back to a more decent value. I remember that from O/L Social Studies...some guy said (too long ago for me to remember the name) that when things get too bad, some kind of disaster will get rid of 'excess' population. Sounds quite heartless, doesn't it?

Population...another one of my concerns, post-Sustainability revision. We've spent much of the past few generations improving the quality of human life. Advancements in the medical world have led to eradication of diseases, cures for congenital conditions...we've even had reverse heart transplants! (No cure for cancer yet, but I think Venus is gonna do something about that, aren't you my dear? ;-) ) The old live longer, the young live to grow old. A nice life, when I think about the fact that my grandfather plays with his two great-grandsons. But all these people have to eat. They have to drink. They have to be clothed. They need a roof over their heads. Have we created a society that we can't provide for? The way I see it, previous generations of scientists and engineers haven't taken into consideration the fact that our Earth is finite. Now we have to work with them to establish ways of overcoming the consequences of assuming an endless supply of resources.

It worries me...that as I go into my PhD in Biotech, I might be helping to develop a technique that drives our society further into dependence on finite resources. Shouldn't I be contributing to something that's more sustainable? Yes I know He said we should not dwell over the past, or worry about the future...but concentrate on the present instead. But somehow that seems apathetic and short-sighted in this respect. Wouldn't the characteristics of Samma Ajiva include consideration of the long-term consequences of one's industry? I wish I was at home...temples and wise monks are always nearby.

It's late. I'm rambling. Sustainability has messed up my head big time. My bed is calling. I should answer.

Oh almost forgot...the Sri Lankan national Cricket team was in Cambridge for their first warm up match, and I got photos of me with famous cricketers (the one with Murali being the prize). Me is quite chuffed!

BTW in case you were wondering...the title isn't that random. Compost tea is a seemingly viable alternative to pesticides (horrid things that poison our waterways and food).


  1. I know how you feel with the whole wondering about what you are doing in your field thing. I mean, you can wonder forever in circles because you want to the right thing but it seems somehow that nothing you CAN do IS right. does that even make sense? Dont worry, Dr Sam, you'll make a difference for the better in this world.....thats basically what I'm trying to say. Oh, and I didnt know you were going in for your PhD in biotech! great! - Niki.

  2. niki... ur compromising the anonymity of this certain altruist don't u think?

  3. The only dabbling you have done in the future is realising that what we do in the present needs to change. The next step is dwelling in the present as you start doing what needs to be done.

    I think what the saying is trying to... say (hehe) is that you shouldn't spend so long thinking about the future that you miss out on the present. It doesn't preclude planning.

  4. Teehee...I am sorry but as soon as you said "Sustainability is an interesting subject. Let me enlighten you", I yawned...

    It was not intentional. I swear! =D


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