Seeding sustainability

 Or simply nurturing eco-friendly entrepreneurial skills? To many, it may sound interesting and somewhat off the beaten track, as individuals can go back to basics or return to nature.

Whatever the case may be, this rather ambitious project has been the brainchild of Bangalore’s SEED Academy, tipped to be India’s first design school focused on sustainability. The two-year course, tailored to groom wannabe students, is scheduled to begin in the coming academic year, June-July.

In simple terms, the design disciplines and the SEED methodology emphasises on exploring and nurturing entrepreneurial skills. “We are confident that we can train entrepreneurs who can make a huge difference. Our talent base would make a difference in urban planning, urban design, product design, sustainability design and green design,” said Madhav Mahesh, Founder, SEED Academy.

There will be four disciplines, of which two will be based on industrial and product design and the remaining ones will revolve round urban planning and design. The institution has recently concluded talks on a four-acre property on Buddigere Road (near Old Madras Road) and the campus will be built in the next two years. Right now, it is planned to start operations on leased premises, which will enable students to access the latest technology and equipment.

SEED was initiated in an effort to create multiple design disciplines with a focus on sustainability. “Sustainability in the normal course mostly refers to economic or environmental issues. Our focus here would be to emphasise ‘sustainability’ in all mediums, all forms, in all spheres, as a way of life. To achieve this, design is the key. So the aim is sustainability through design, which would help build a sustainable nation that has thinkers who understand today’s issues, and can make a better world, tomorrow,” explained Mahesh.

Bangalore became the chosen platform since it was felt that the city offered tremendous potential.

The institution is looking at about 60 to 80 students in the first academic year, spread across, approximately four design disciplines. “We would look at students from engineering or art schools who want to do a post graduate course. SEED would also enroll graduates from any background into its design programmes. This would be one of the key differentiators of the SEED,” added Mahesh. While the curriculum is under a final review stage, the cost of the course would approximately be Rs. 3.5 lakh per annum for a two-year programme.

In other words, the thrust would be on issues like sustainability, ecology, enterprise and design. “The environment is one of the key issues in today’s world, it is also a focal point on every government’s agenda. It is time we did something about it, for which we need to educate people, so that they build and understand a sustainable and environment-friendly world,” explained Mahesh.

Upon completing the course, one moulds into a sustainable officer. As far as job avenues are concerned, one can become an independent design developer who creates sustainable, eco-friendly living conditions, products, practices and methodologies. Besides that, corporate houses have also created a post for a Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) which is a Green job. Environmental initiatives are taken to facilitate financial merit, improve profitability, productivity and enhance the image of the company. This is why Green IT is being implemented in many companies, whereby green buildings are being created to lower energy costs. While in most companies it’s a hands-on job, SEED Academy has come forward with a course tailored to mould aspirants into sustainable officers.

SEED falls back on key innovative designs that have improved life, like the ‘Life Straw,’ which is basically  a  portable water purifier in the form of a straw that removes water-borne parasites and gives purified water.  Or the ‘e-Charaka’, the icon of our freedom struggle. It not only produces yarn but also electricity, which can be stored in a battery and a two-hour operation can power an LED lamp or radio for eight hours. It has zero carbon footprints.

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