Save Your Planet- Go for Green and Sustainable Living

Natural resources are scarce, and they are speedily getting depleted with every passing day. Our beautiful world, which was once blessed with nature’s bountiful gifts, today stands hopelessly gawking at its own ravaged self!

How human activities have devastated nature:

Over the years, with the advancing civilizations, man’s needs have proliferated in proportion to his avarice. The thick forest covers have receded so as to give way to gigantic cities, plush malls and multiplexes. Excess mining activities have resulted in the exhaustion of valuable minerals. Huge construction projects have mushroomed in the water catchment areas, and the existing rivers are shrinking fast. Even the rich marine world hasn’t been spared from human onslaughts. Ginormous piles of rubbish are dumped into the oceans everyday, thereby endangering the existence of marine species.

What are the consequences of human excesses:

The air, water, and soil have become polluted beyond redemption. Global warming, the rising sea levels, droughts, landslides, flash floods, and other man made disasters have become regular occurrences. With shrinking flora, fauna and water bodies, there is scarcity of food everywhere. New forms of diseases are spreading like wildfire, since air and water are laden with toxins.

What should be done to redeem our natural resources:

It’s high time people changed their thoughts, and expanded their awareness towards the new ways of lifestyles. The best way out is to adopt sustainable ways of living so as to foster abundance, happiness and peace. Men and women ought to adapt to eco-friendly habits, which would sustain the existing ecology in the long run. Just go green, and propagate sustainable ways of living among your people and society!

Tips for Green and Sustainable Living:

  • Car pooling: Many people use alternative methods of transportation these days. In fact, solar power driven cars do not emit any harmful gases, and hence, do not pollute the environment. Car pooling is another way to control air pollution, since the number of vehicles on the roads gets reduced. 
  • Eco-Packs: Plastic bags are non-biodegradable items, which are made of carcinogenic ingredients. Indiscriminate disposal of these bags pollutes the land and air. People ought to use eco-friendly bags for packing food items, or for disposing garbage. Avoid using plastic bottles and food containers, since they have toxic ingredients, and contaminate the food items. 
  • Segregation of Wastes: E-wastes are non-biodegradable, and hence, should be separately disposed. This is because electronic devices have high toxic contents, and would be deleterious to the environment, if they are burnt with organic wastes. E-wastes should be safely recycled under surveillance. 
  • Composting: Organic wastes such as vegetable peels should be composted at home, so that the manure could be used in the flower beds, and kitchen gardens at home. This would reduce the unnecessary hassles of waste disposal. 
  • Solar Panel Roofs: Solar panels on roofs enable people in reducing the consumption of electricity. Homes remain cool, and well insulated without the unnecessary use of air-conditioners. The power bills get subsequently reduced. 
  • Healthy food Habits: Soft drinks and processed food stuffs are laced with chemicals, and hence, are injurious for health. Also, they are mostly metallic, or plastic containers, which pollute the earth after disposal. A well-balanced diet comprising organic food stuffs is good for health and overall being. 
  • Eco-Friendly Washing of Utensils: Washing vessels in running tap water results in wastage. Keep a large tub of hot water mixed with soap for scrubbing the vessels clean on one side, and a bowl of plain water for rinsing purpose on the other. This would eventually reduce unnecessary wastage of water. 
  • Save Electricity: Sometimes the electronic devices remain turned on even when they are not in use. This leads to unnecessary consumption of electricity. Switch off the electric gadgets when they aren’t in use. 
  • Use Disposables: Use disposable and reusable items as much as possible. Also, buy used goods whenever possible. For instance, you could buy used furniture which are put up for resale, instead of buying entirely new ones. 
  • Eco-Friendly Toilets: Flushing toilets leads to excess water wastage. Use eco-friendly toilets which are clean and environment-friendly.

Do Not Let Your Data Kill You – The Need for 3 R’s – Reduce, Recycle and Reuse

As the saying goes – anything in excess is a waste. Isn’t it true for information today?  Information or “data” – the four letter word which is more representative of the digital world has overwhelmed you, me and everyone transcending this space. Data in this form has various connotations – the more popular “Big Data”, Large or complex data, humongous data, etc.

On an average, data of companies have been increasing at a rapid pace – about 100% or more every year. Also, with users of social media being overactive, data transactions have multiplied manifold in real time. Though technical advances are being made to store this data in large repositories, there is a need for deriving context – meaningful information so as to Reduce, Recycle and Reuse data. For example, companies would like to use their data to understand and interpret information such as employee interactions, communications and client engagements. Data that is not used, but occupies useful repository space is a costly waste and needs to be eliminated. Regulatory requirements require one to use data to create intelligent and statutory reports that can be audited easily if the need be. The 3 R’s put in practice improve data management in a business environment:

Reduce:  Regulatory requirements for data, e.g. PCI data storage requirements or other Information governance or compliance standards, require one to be circumspect before planning for reduction of data. This challenge for cleaning up data not only results in a large volume of unused data, but also results in saving of data in local repositories of users with subsequent backups by the IT team.

Therefore, how do I reduce unused data? A Document Retention Policy, specifying the criteria for holding or removing data, the process governing such a decision and the relevant owners to implement and oversee is the first proactive step that any company can adopt that only appropriate data is maintained. With a policy in place, the discipline to actually implement such a policy enables a large reduction in unused data.

Recycle:  Regulatory Reporting is an important aspect for many industries. For example, in the US, Health industry related reports are mandatory, not only for the companies, but also for the patients, and the industry is well regulated.  Taxation or Financial obligations also require statutory reporting and audits. It is important for the data to be recycled and processed into useful reports for the auditors and the statutory authorities. Usually, intelligent software, ETL techniques, help in recycling such data.

Reuse: The most interesting part of data management is Reuse of data. The world of Business Analytics and Business Intelligence has offered options for deriving business insights from a large data set and intelligently reuse data. A new science “Data Science” has evolved in its own right and is promptly advocated by the Harvard Business Review. The HBR article from Thomas H Davenport and D J Patil in fact refers the job of a data scientist as the “sexiest job of 21st century”.

A few terms often used for reuse of data are:

  • Data Science: This is a term which loosely entails the combo of computer science, analytics, statistics, and data modeling. While this is a loose combination, and some companies have evolved their own courses or certifications, it still needs to mature as a science with comprehensive tenets and elaborate literature.
  • Smart data: Smart data is usually a subset of Big Data, with noise filtered out. While Big Data can be characterized by its attributes – variety, velocity and volume, a smart data is usually is characterized by velocity and value. Smart data is a key ingredient for intelligent BI Reporting.
  • Predictive Analytics: It involves smart methodologies utilizing data – machine learning techniques and statistical algorithms to predict the future outcomes of data. Companies gain out of predictive analytics by deriving or planning important outcomes from past data, e.g. revenue or profit.
  • Real Time Analytics: Analytics served real time, e.g. stock prices moving up or down, updates on page views, sessions, bounce rates, page navigation, advertisements dynamically adjusted based on type and frequency of customer usage, etc.
  • Intelligent Decision Systems: Use of Artificial intelligence in association with data is an area that helps users to derive the best and optimized decisions based on a large number of input variables. While this is still evolving, it can be used in number of areas such as building marketing systems that offer customers based on profile analysis, blocking of fraudulent transactions in credit card operations, etc.
  • Data Visualization: Pictorial or graphical representation of data intelligently, in an interactive way, help business professionals to identify trends and patterns in their data, e.g. sales data region-wise, or by customer profile.
  • Big Data Analytics: Reuse of data is not complete unless we use the term Big Data. The concept of Big data analytics has evolved from companies managing huge sets of data such as oil companies or telecommunication companies to social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn that involve large data sets. This form of analytics help us to derive hidden patterns, market trends, preferences of customers, unknown correlations, etc.

 Business Data Analytics, therefore is in its infancy, to be nurtured, developed and evolved over the years. The attraction therefore is immense, and so is the job of the Data Scientist!!!