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Manav Govil's avatar

Manav Govil

Low Energy Enthusiasts

"As an aspiring neurosurgeon, I want to find out what ways I can improve mother earth's condition so that I can pursue my goals."

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 308 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    1
    documentaries
    watched
  • up to
    155
    minutes
    spent learning
  • up to
    3
    meatless or vegan meals
    consumed
  • up to
    242
    minutes
    being mindful
  • up to
    60
    minutes
    spent outdoors
  • up to
    3
    more servings
    of fruits and vegetables

Manav's Actions

Food, Agriculture, and Land Use

Mulch the Base of Trees and Plants

Farm Irrigation Efficiency

I will prevent water runoff and increase absorbency by mulching the base of trees and plants in my yard.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Buildings

Learn about the Legacy of Redlining

Multiple Solutions

I will spend at least 60 minutes learning about the legacy of redlining and how city planning and environmental justice issues are interconnected.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Electricity

Learn More about Biomass

Biomass Power

I will spend at least 60 minutes learning more about the energy generation potential of biomass.

Completed
One-Time Action

Electricity

Explore Other Electricity Solutions

All Electricity Solutions

I will spend at least 60 minutes researching other Drawdown Electricity Solutions.

Completed
One-Time Action

Electricity

Watch a Video about Methane Digesters

Methane Digesters

I will watch a video about methane digesters (also commonly known as anaerobic digesters).

Completed
One-Time Action

Electricity

Learn More about Micro Wind

Micro Wind Turbines

I will spend at least 120 minutes learning more about the energy generation potential of micro wind.

Completed
One-Time Action

Electricity

Invite a friend to calculate the carbon footprint of their household

Individual actions are important, but people and organizations working together can make a real impact. I will share a carbon calculator with a friend and invite them to calculate the carbon footprint of their household.

Completed
One-Time Action

Food, Agriculture, and Land Use

Reduce Animal Products

Plant-Rich Diets

I will enjoy 3 meatless or vegan meal(s) each day of the challenge.

COMPLETED 1
DAILY ACTION

Action Track: Healing & Renewal

More Fruits And Veggies

I will eat a heart healthy diet by adding 4 cups of fruits and vegetables each day to achieve at least 4 cups per day.

COMPLETED 1
DAILY ACTION

Action Track: Healing & Renewal

Tend A Garden

I will tend to a garden, or prepare for one, each day using sustainable gardening practices.

COMPLETED 1
DAILY ACTION

Action Track: Healing & Renewal

Eat Mindfully

I will eat all of my meals without distractions, e.g., phone, computer, TV, or newspaper.

COMPLETED 3
DAILY ACTIONS

Feed

  • Reflection Question
    Electricity Learn More about Biomass
    Had you ever heard of biomass technology before you took this challenge? What did you learn that surprised you? Share your new knowledge with your friends!

    Manav Govil's avatar
    Manav Govil 6/03/2021 2:02 AM
    I had somewhat of a vague idea of what biomass power was before I started this challenge. I used to think it was a way to generate energy by using perennial plants and green. I had no idea how they generated energy using these greens, but I knew they used them. It turns out that biomass power is more fascinating than I expected it to be. 
    The basic definition of biomass power is the use of perennial biomass feedstock for electricity generation and combined heat and power generation – a solution that replaces energy sources derived from coal, oil, and other natural gas power plants. Biomass substitutes these other energy sources. 
    So the question arises, what specific biomass is the most environmentally friendly in terms of climate and energy impact? At first, scientists looked at corn. Corn fits the standard definition of a perennial crop, as corn has a lifetime of more than three years. However, many studies have shown that corn is not much better than fossil fuel energy sources for the environment. However, perennial grasses have naturally high productivity and need fewer chemicals and water than food crops such as corn. If these grasses are to be implemented into our energy-producing systems, we will experience a massive decrease in carbon emissions over the next few decades. Biomass power is a potent tool that can help us eliminate high-carbon output sources of energy and enable us to have the same output of energy, all the while producing less carbon.

    • NATHAN GE's avatar
      NATHAN GE 6/03/2021 8:31 AM
      Hi Manav
      Your research is very informative on the matter of biomass. It seems that there is a clear distinction in efficiency between different types of biomass. I wonder if there will be a gradual transition into greater use of efficient biomass as an energy source, or is that transition already underway. Also, I wonder what other types of biomass exist beyond corn and perennial grasses  that may be even better biomass fuel sources in terms of sustainability and environmental impact.
  • Reflection Question
    Electricity Learn More about Micro Wind
    Micro turbines can be placed on large structures to take advantage of stronger, steadier breezes. The Eiffel Tower now sports vertical axis turbines that produce electricity for use on site. Where could micro turbines potentially be installed in your city?

    Manav Govil's avatar
    Manav Govil 6/03/2021 1:38 AM
    I’d say that microturbines could potentially be installed on top of transition line towers. See, my community doesn’t have many tall buildings like the Eiffel Tower. However, it has a bunch of power lines. The towers that connect these power lines can act as bases for multiple microturbines each. These towers can then act as sources of the clean energy generated by the microturbines. That is the beauty of microturbines. They are small, making them easy to place at higher altitudes, and they produce clean energy or energy that does not involve the emission of greenhouse gases. Although they cost a lot of money to install, they are still a more environmentally friendly option than burning fossil fuels for energy.
    Another place where we can put up microturbines could be on top of our houses. These turbines could act in place of solar panels. As my region is very windy, this would work, causing these microturbines to spin and produce energy constantly. If placed on top of houses, energy would continuously be available to the household. However, the roof of the house would look pretty comical.
    Lastly, another place where we can place microturbines is on top of water towers. Of course, an external structure would have to be built to support the microturbines on top of the tower, but if we consider the height of the water towers, they would be the safest place to install microturbines.
  • Reflection Question
    Electricity Watch a Video about Methane Digesters
    What does your vision of a sustainable community look like? What would need to be changed in order for such vision to become reality?

    Manav Govil's avatar
    Manav Govil 6/03/2021 1:19 AM
    Methane Digesters are fascinating ways to digest organic waste that can be dangerous to the environment. See, methane digesters are anaerobic microbes that digest organic waste that would otherwise emit large amounts of methane. Organic waste is made up of carbon and is most famously produced by livestock. See, livestock manure is known to produce and emit methane as it decomposes. Methane digesters prevent methane from being released from waste.
    Methane released from manure is taken from the soil. Carbon exchange occurs between microbes in the soil and grass. Livestock then eats this grass and expel methane, releasing organic waste. Studies show that methane creates a warming effect that is 34 times stronger than carbon dioxide would over one hundred years.
    To control this issue, anaerobic digesters were created. Anaerobic digesters are chock-full of methane digesters. Methane emitting organic waste is added to these sealed tanks. These microbes then produce two products after decomposition: biogas and digestates. Biogas is an energy source, while digestate is a nutrient-rich fertilizer. Biogas can replace fossil fuels for heating and electricity purposes, proving a cleaner way to obtain and use energy. Digestates are great to mix into your garden soil to grow fresh produce!
    Now, what I have described above is the significant scale effect that methane digesters can have. Methane digesters are also used in our backyards and farmlands around the world. Anaerobic digestion use is increasing drastically as more people are getting educated regarding the positive effects these microbes have on crops and the environment. For example, digester gas, or gas emitted from organic waste decomposition via methane digesters on a small scale, is widely used as a source for cooking, lighting, and heating in China.
    What I would like to happen is for India to introduce such methods. As an Indian myself, I have been to India many times in my life. Every time I go there, I get into traffic jams caused by a hoard of walking cows. Cows are worshipped in India, as they are supposedly blessed by one of our goddesses. Killing a cow is taboo. Therefore, cows end up increasing drastically in population size. And wherever a large influx of cows exists, there is a large amount of methane released from their manure. This correlates with the fact that India is one of the largest carbon-producing countries globally, and much of it can be blamed on the large population of cows. To solve this problem, the Indian government could invest in anaerobic digesters rather than killing the cows. These digesters would have a constant supply of organic waste due to the sheer quantity of cows, and energy will be more abundant than ever. This would also solve the electricity issue India has been facing for decades. The light randomly goes out in homes all across the country without any rhyme or reason. This would be a solution to that problem.
  • Reflection Question
    Food, Agriculture, and Land Use Mulch the Base of Trees and Plants
    Name some of the human activities impacting the health of water systems, both locally (your watershed) and globally (freshwater and oceans). What can you do to improve the health of water systems?

    Manav Govil's avatar
    Manav Govil 6/03/2021 12:48 AM
    In an earlier post, I had talked about building and tending to my family garden. What might surprise everyone is that we made the soil for our garden. The other day, our friend gave us some of her compost. We then bought some moss peat from the store and got some black-leaf mulch, which is very popular to put in gardens in New Jersey. We mixed the compost, black-leaf mulch, and moss peat and formed our soil. The compost contributed to the microbes that would interact with the saplings and act as natural decomposers. The mulch, which is what this post is about, retains water to avoid water runoff. The black-leaf mulch, though, is not your average mulch. This mulch does not retain water very well. Now, you might be thinking, isn’t that counterproductive? The reason why you are adding mulch is to retain water. If this mulch does not do what it is supposed to do, why add it to the soil? To clarify, this mulch does retain some water but compared to other mulches, it does not do so well. We used this mulch because our region tends to get a lot of rain. The plants outside get enough water every single day, and this mulch does enough to hold on to that water for the plants and microbes to use on days it doesn’t rain. If we were to use a stronger mulch for our garden, the saplings might drown in their soil.
    Our landscape, however, uses a different kind of mulch. We use shredded bark mulch for our landscape, giving in the reddish color from afar. This mulch is best used on slopes and decomposes very slowly, allowing for adequate water retention. Our landscape is an uneven surface, so it is easier for water runoff to occur. That is why we needed to put stronger mulch on the landscaping. Now that I think about it, the landscaping at most of the houses around here has this kind of mulch. I tell you, if it weren’t for this Eco-Challenge, I would never have any reason to put in this much interest on mulch. If you think about it, mulch can save our homes from floods. Like I said before, it rains a lot in New Jersey. I remember around the time my family just moved into our house, we had a large flood. As the neighborhood developed, though, flood rates decreased drastically. Now, the sewer systems have not changed for decades, but landscaping has increased over time. I’m willing to bet that mulch is one of the prime reasons why I still have a dry basement!
  • Reflection Question
    Action Track: Healing & Renewal Eat Mindfully
    Mindful eating is healthier for us than eating with distractions. How does your eating experience differ when practicing mindfulness?

    Manav Govil's avatar
    Manav Govil 6/03/2021 12:25 AM
    I didn’t realize that eating mindfully was a thing before taking on this challenge and let me tell you, it is fantastic. The other day, while eating my eggs, I decided to look up from my phone and noticed a praying mantis outside our window. Fascinated by the fact that I needed an Eco-Challenge to tell me to look at my surroundings, I started to do so even more. At first, I began to notice the small things in my dining room. The cuckoo clock had stopped working. It needed to be reset, but I guess we all forgot. The roses on the table had wilted. They’ve been there ever since the quarantine had started. Then I saw my sister, who was engrossed in her phone. She hadn’t even touched her food! After I finished my eggs, I reset the cuckoo clock, got new flowers from outside, and annoyed my sister to the point that she would look up from her phone and talk to me.
    However, that’s when I realized that I wasn’t eating as mindfully as I should have been. I took a look at what I was eating. What was this crunchy texture that entered my mouth every time I checked my email? I looked at it carefully and realized that I was eating white bread instead of the wheat bread I usually eat. I was appalled! I could not realize that I was eating white bread? I shut off my phone and ate the rest of my eggs and toast, simply admiring the flavor.
    The next day, I was determined to make my mindful meals more fun. I decided to cook my eggs. Now, this may seem trivial to all of you, but it wasn’t for me. This was the first time I cooked something for myself on the stove, and I am no longer ashamed to admit it! What came out of my first cooking adventure tasted terrific! I cooked two eggs sunny side up. The yolk was only slightly melty, and in fact, delicious (don’t worry, everything was cooked). I then toasted some white bread (it was the only bread we had) and spread our homemade butter. My sister made me some cold coffee, and I thanked her, but then we started arguing that she put a plastic straw in the coffee when we have metal straws. I am attaching my masterpiece to this post and encourage everyone to consider eating mindfully. You will never guess what you might discover about your food, your environment, and yourself.
  • Reflection Question
    Food, Agriculture, and Land Use Reduce Animal Products
    Why do people in richer countries eat more meat than people in other places? How does eating more meat affect our bodies, our planet, and other people?

    Manav Govil's avatar
    Manav Govil 5/25/2021 8:38 AM
    This was an easy challenge to complete! I have been a vegetarian my entire life. I love eating fruits and vegetables and eating and cooking eggs, eating cheese, and drinking milk. It used to be pretty difficult to be vegetarian in the early 2000s. When my family and I went out to eat, we had to constantly specify that we are vegetarian and do not put in any meat in our food. Even so, we would get restaurants serving us chicken in salads, bones in soups, and fish. Some restaurants were so sneaky that we never actually knew we were eating meat. Take Olive Garden for example. The ingredients for minestrone on the menu indicated that it was a vegetarian option. Even the waiters said so. However, it came out that the minestrone used a non-veg stock. They later changed it to a vegan stock due to negative public opinion, but it was frustrating to find out that my favorite soup was a soup that I should not have been eating.
    Many people also don’t realize that many snacks and candies contain meat. I’m talking about gelatin. Gelatin, found in marshmallows, gummies, and Jell-O, is made of crushed unused animal products. I remember chewing on a rice Krispy when a friend told me about it, and I immediately spit it out!
    However, once veganism and vegetarianism became more aware, it became safer for us to eat out in restaurants. There was still the occasional oyster sauce in the Tom Kha soup, but other than that, we no longer need to be as wary outside the house. The reason why I am vegetarian is because of my religion. My family practices Hinduism, which similar to Jainism, is vegetarian. Cows are holy in India, so no Hindu would ever touch beef. However, the new generation is getting less and less strict regarding cultural and religious practices. Many of my Hindu friends and cousins eat meat (not beef though). If I wasn’t informed regarding the inhumane practices that killed livestock, I would have been non-veg.
    I’m proud that I’m a vegetarian. I never developed a taste for meat because I never had it. The other day, I tried eating an impossible burger, and I just couldn’t swallow it. Every fiber of my being rejected the beefy flavor. That said, I’m glad that I can eat whatever I want, and continue to reduce my carbon footprint at the same time. I encourage others to also participate in this challenge, as we are at a point where many meat substitutes decrease our carbon footprints and lead us toward a brighter future.
  • Reflection Question
    Action Track: Healing & Renewal Tend A Garden
    Have you ever had a significant experience in nature that altered your perspective or focus? If so, please describe it.

    Manav Govil's avatar
    Manav Govil 5/24/2021 8:20 PM
    Ever since I joined Drawdown, I have been fascinated by the many of the activities we can do to fight against climate change. This activity surprised me, even though it really shouldn’t have! My house has regular landscaping around it, but my family and I never actually grew a garden. Buying vegetables from the market can get expensive, and who knows where they were outsourced from? That’s why, three weeks ago, my family and I decided to start a garden. We made two gardens: one that would grow larger vegetables like cucumbers, carrots, and onions, and another that would produce more medium-sized vegetables like green and red peppers, coriander, eggplants, and more. The seeds have recently started sprouting, and we are all so excited to dig into our home-grown veggies!
    Making the garden was not as hard as I imagined it would be. Lucky for us, New Jersey has excellent topsoil. That’s why we embedded one of our gardens into our backyard. We then mulched that garden. The other garden that is growing peppers and such needs more care, so my father and I built an elevated wooden structure that would hold the dirt for our plants. After that, we tried to fence the on-the-ground garden, but the dang rabbits would keep on breaking in and eating our crops. We made sure to lock up our fence to keep the rabbits from coming in, and so far, it’s been a success! But if you think about it, the crops that grow on this land technically belong to the animals that inhabit it. The reason why the deer population is so large in New Jersey is that they have an unlimited source of food (or landscape) and the absence of predators (wolves were removed due to the influx of houses). To keep wildlife away from food that we want to eat, we must build fences. I can’t help but feel a bit guilty, though. We humans took their land and are restricting them from eating food that belongs to them.
    Regardless, we tend to our garden every other day, and it has been a fun bonding experience for the entire family!

    • Alice Ma's avatar
      Alice Ma 5/25/2021 8:35 PM
      Hi Manav! I absolutely LOVE your homemade garden! My parents have been considering starting a garden in our backyard as well, and we’ve actually got plans to spend this upcoming three-day weekend working on clearing some space in the backyard. Fingers crossed it goes well and in a few months, we’ll have fresh veggies to eat, straight from our own backyard! Living at home for the past year has definitely been a great advantage when it comes to getting fresh, seasonal fruits because my house has a variety of different fruit trees growing in our backyard. Every season we get to pick and eat fruits ranging from persimmons to oranges to cherries to peaches, but we’ve never had the time (or dedication) to properly grow a vegetable garden to complement the fruits. Here’s to hoping that changes this year! 

      Just like Emily brought up, there are so many benefits to having a garden right in your backyard. I definitely relate to Emily’s comment about starting a garden in the patio space of an apartment, especially since I’ll be moving into my apartment in Westwood soon and I have no idea if it’s even possible for me to start a garden. I think a great way for apartment-dwellers to also take part in gardening is through community gardens! I did a quick search and found that there’s actually a community garden not too far from campus: the West LA Community Garden in Santa Monica. I’m definitely going to try to make time to visit it! 

      What you brought up about wildlife also made me curious about how wildlife has learned to coexist with humans in large urban and suburban populations. I’m from the Bay Area, and most of the wildlife I’ve seen poking around my backyard are smaller animals like squirrels, rabbits, and the occasional raccoon or opossum, I can’t imagine seeing a deer walking through! Something that might be really cool is considering how we can make our gardens and backyards more compatible with wildlife. After reading your post, I did some research into how we could make our backyards more wildlife-friendly and came across a lot of different tips like installing bird feeders and bat or butterfly homes, planting native greenery, and using brush piles to create additional habitats for wildlife. I’m definitely going to look into a few of these to see if they are possible to implement in my own backyard. 

    • EMILY INIGUEZ's avatar
      EMILY INIGUEZ 5/24/2021 9:17 PM
      Hi Manav, 

      I am very impressed by your garden and commend you for taking the step to start a garden with your family! In addition to the delicious produce that you and your family will be cultivating, gardening impacts everything from the air we breathe to the minimization of carbon footprints we leave behind. As you know, plants produce oxygen through the process of photosynthesis as they take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through their leaves and use it to help expel oxygen and water. Carbon dioxide is what we expel when we breathe and it is still a waste product that plants help recycle into the oxygen we need to survive. In this way, your garden will reduce your household’s carbon footprint by also removing any chemicals and bacterias that may be floating around in the air, providing an overall healthier environment, to begin with. As you mentioned,  buying vegetables from the market is quite expensive, and the drives that you and your family may take to the grocery store to buy such produce are equally as expensive to our environment. When you grow your own food, you really do not have to make as many trips to the store to buy what you would have needed AND much of what you buy at the store may have traveled halfway around the world to get there- so you are saving energy waste, time, and money by growing most of your produce on your own. 

      Tending for your own garden additionally helps the biological cycle and overall ecosystem and gardens help replenish the nutrients in the soil. Topsoils are usually created by leaf litter and other organic materials that fall from plants and certain types of vegetation may help fix certain nutrients into the ground as well, and choosing those types of plants may help reduce the use of synthetic fertilizers. As you can see, gardening is definitely worth your efforts for both personal and environmental concerns and any sort of greenery that you can grow will provide an overall positive impact on your environmental surroundings. In fact, I will also start a garden in my apartment patio space because of how good it is for carbon sequestering. 

  • Reflection Question
    Action Track: Healing & Renewal More Fruits And Veggies
    How does eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat positively affect yourself, other people, and our planet?

    Manav Govil's avatar
    Manav Govil 5/24/2021 7:58 PM
    My household is usually a very hectic place. My father is in and out of the house, working his many jobs to support our family. My mother arranges public events for our community and is the general homemaker of the family. My sister and I usually go to school. Unfortunately, our lives never actually collided with one another until the pandemic hit. All of us were forced to stay in one home, and we were finally making time to sit at the dinner table as a family, go for walks and connect.
    This transition sparked our interest in incorporating new aspects into our lifestyles, one of which was fruits. Now, my mom made Indian food at home. Eating beans, rice, and veggies are great! Of course, we used to get the occasional Taco Bell when we felt like it. However, we would constantly double up on dessert after lunch and dinner and grab cookies as a mid-day snack. After taking a close look at our diets, we decided that it would be better to have a more natural approach to indulge our sweet tooths.
    After the farmer’s market opened up, my mom and I drove down and bought many apples, blueberries, pineapples, watermelons, and more. My dad missed some of the fruits he used to eat as a kid, so he went to the Indian store to get some Mangos and Guavas. At first, these fruits replaced our snacks and desserts, but slowly and surely, they took up our meals. Whenever I am in a rush for class, my mom cuts up many fruits, and I call that my lunch! Mindfully eating these fruits was more energizing than I realized, and it felt great supporting local businesses that cultivated and grew these fruits. Eating healthier has made me feel healthier. I want to encourage everyone to eat more fruits rather than sugary snacks. A more nutritious diet does make a difference in our daily lives!