Voicing the need for sustainable sources

From the first time I visited India, two years back, there have been many changes. I didn’t notice any cows this time,” says Patricia Bader-Johnston in all seriousness, as she summarises her trip and arouses humour right at the beginning of the conversation.

The chat thus attains a casual status and Johnston opens up on her impressions about India. “My first trip itself gave me a good introduction to the food and culture of this country,” says the Canadian who shifted to Japan about three decades ago.

“Japan seemed very far away after I completed my education in Canada. It was a big adventure but I got interested in settling here since the culture is quite attractive just like in India,” she says.

Having been a public servant, for most of her life, this social entrepreneur is currently the representative director of eSurface Technologies in Japan. Her interest in technology for future developed during her stint with IBM.

“After the 2011 disaster in Japan (the tsunami) and the shutdown of nuclear reactors, there has been a lot of focus on sustainable sources of energy. This has opened up quite a few opportunities. In fact, some of the large investors in Japan are Indians,” she says on her recent trip where she was invited to be a speaker at Tedx Janpath.

As a part of the panel, she even heard Leslee Udwin (director of India’s Daughter) talk about her work. “I visited Darjeeling after the event was over in Delhi. As I watched boys and girls going to school, I realised that all boys were riding truck and all girls were walking. This gender distinction gives a hard life to females even after they grow up,” she says narrating a first-hand experience.

“I think it’s a shame to ban the film,” she adds voicing her opinion on the recent controversy. “I admired the idea of the film and thought where did it come from? After listening to Leslee I realised she wanted to make a film on the Indian people who came out on the street in support of women safety. We have never experienced a country coming out. After seeing the film myself, I felt it dehumanised both the victim and the rapist!”

Inspired by the energy of the people who were more than ready to talk about issues of social change, Johnston says, “People here are not just ready to discuss about such topics but also willing to share their culture with foreigners. It was impressive to see a 13-year-old entrepreneur on the same platform as an expert on sanitation – Dr Bindeshwar Pathak,” in reference to the Tedx talk.

The focus shifts back to renewable sources of energy and their need in present times.
“India too has a huge population like Japan and providing clean water to this population is a major issue. Even improvement of air quality is necessary. What can help India in achieving this are better rules and regulations such as the one adopted by Tokyo which is much cleaner today,” says Johnston, hoping to see the same being implemented when she comes back another time.

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