Based out of the Design Centre in Porvorim, Centre 1 was Sensible Earth's first experiment - in a beautiful structure open to the forest, we housed a co-working space for entrepreneurs working towards resource positive Goa, a sustainability school, plant based café and community kitchen. With workshops, talks, a collectively planted food forest, and a growing community of change makers, we spent a year understanding the landscape of Goa's environmental and economic complexities.
The inverted pyramid:
From Centre 1 to GHH, we experienced a large shift in philosophy. By focusing on Impact first, our community is built through intentional interactions, and strong binding forces of collective purpose.
GOA HUMANITARIAN HELPLINE
The corona virus pandemic brought the local Goan economy to a grinding halt. As we all know now, the people that got worst hit were the daily wage earners and the elderly. Sensible.Earth enabled a citizens initiative to help delivery groceries in the city of Panjim.
Responding to the lack of information and mobilization, overnight we set up a cloud telephone system to enable thousands of calls coming in from across the state- the very first day we received over 40,000 calls from people seeking help and supplies. In the coming days, 30 to 40 volunteers were enabled to take calls, manage and deliver the food supplies. Eventually, the Sensible.Earth Centre was converted into a food bank, along with several other locations.
The initiate was taken forward and amazing work has been done by volunteers across the sate, the GHH was a true citizens initiative.
Purchasing rations, packing, logistic distribution (credit to Delhivery) and finally the process of vetting the calls, documenting the communities (largely daily wage earners), and distributing was a life changing experience for us a Sensible.Earth
To find out more, visit the GHH Instagram / Facebook
IDEAS FOR GOA
Once our work with GHH slowed down, we began to look ahead to a lot of changes within our own organization, and felt the struggle that a lot of small businesses and young entrepreneurs alike, were facing post-lockdown. In a rising attempt to look to a future of possibilities -
www.ideasforgoa.com was born.
A series of 7 webinars was organized with expert panels and bringing the local community together to discuss and deliberate. Some webinar topics were: local ecosystems, tourism and hospitality, learning and knowledge, health and wellness, creative services.
Our research and data has been logged in the form of a comprehensive report below.
Sensible.Earth has been working on bringing to life discarded bicycles back to life since our cycle repair Café initiative in August of 2019.
Via our Goa Humanitarian Helpline initiative during the pandemic we saw the challenges faced by people who depended on public transport. We also witnessed a bold new resurgence in recreational biking.
We also mapped the connect between creation of new bicycles with the mining and deforestation in Goa - material mined in Goa, processed and manufactured in China, and bicycled sold back to us here. We witnessed immense data emerge on benefits of bicycling on the environment and health.
Finally, in August of 2021 we met Ezekiel, an engineer and innovator, running the cycle repairs at Decathlon goa. Ez is passionate about cycling: the mechanics of it and the environmental repercussions. Together, we immediately embarked on building a few prototypes of beautifully crafted bikes created from discarded, old bicycles that lie around Goa in disuse.
The results encouraged us to continue to walk the path, and UPCYCLE was born.
Upcycles are all made from discarded bicycles, with over 80% upcycled parts. We focus immensely on our design, with utility as a key focus.
The Workshop at SE is well equipped to refurbish and repair cycles. We have space for community engagement, rentals and curated experiences.
So far we have upcycled 10 bikes completely, and as we experiment and our team grows, we expect to expand our work and truly make a mark for circular production and transport innovation.
CENTRE 2 at The House of Seven Doors
Working with our newly inverted pyramid, we moved into an old house on the Salvador do Mundo marshes. Instead of following our co-work and cafe experiments from Centre 1, we now work smaller and more focused. The bicycle repair and building shop, some small permaculture plantations, a fire pit and space for people to gather, and our office. We have begun to work with the Salvador do Mundo panchayat to clean up, protect and educate about the teeming ecosystem of the marshes. Some waste management projects, and community composting initiatives are also underway. Stay tuned.
ZERO TO LANDFILL
Packaging today has reached almost unmanageable levels in terms of quantity and proper disposal. We're creating a huge surplus that very often ends up as either litter on beaches and other public places, or in landfills. A lot of the waste is burned, which can cause severe health problems (even cancer) to anyone inhaling the fumes. Zero to Landfill is a wide-scale project in Goa, tackling some of these issues.
The project is preceded by a 3 month long pilot with 4 vendors in the area surrounding Reis Magos fort, Goa. The purpose of the pilot is to learn about the process, the challenges, and possible solutions. We are tackling 3 major issues:
1) Sale of products packaged in multilayered, unrecyclable plastic
2) Use of plastic straws, cups and plates
3) Buying and selling of packaged drinking water
Our goal for the pilot is - to come up with and implement sustainable and replicable solutions for each of these issues.
Along with this, we are trying to help the vendors with branding, so that each of them is unique, and therefore in a better position to sell their products.
We started off our project with a cleanup drive around the fort. It was attended by many, and we managed to collect more than 10 full bags of trash!
THE SALVADOR PROJECT
Salvador do Mundo: a highly biodiverse wetland ecosystem, a village, and our home, located just east of Porvorim, Goa. Teeming with migratory birds, otters, crocodiles, bats and numerous plant species. A huge carbon store and barrier to flooding, and a place for families in the village to fish for daily catch. Like many sensitive ecosystems across the planet, the Salvador mangrove is facing immense pollution, with plastic bags and beer bottles clogging every stream and root system. In a community effort to research and collaborate towards the sustainability of Salvador do Mundo, a collective of environmental experts, activists, the panchayat, students, local farmers and artists have come together under the organization Sensible Earth. We will document and research this journey through photographs and short films, collecting an emotional environmental history of Salvador do Mundo. These will collect into a virtual ‘site’: an interactive, immersive archive of information that acts as a window to see, and feel, inside the process of a local group of humans attempting to understand and rewrite their relationship to nature.
photograph by illesha khandelwal