Learning from Nature

“The rain to the wind said, you push and I'll pelt.” - Robert Frost

At this very moment I feel blessed to watch it rain.

It’s a rare occasion that I can sit in my office, here in Pune, and gaze out through the French windows. Our vision for ‘Suzlon - One Earth’ was to make the architecture such that everyone here can feel at one with nature and actually witness the seasons change; that we have been able to achieve this is ever so evident in the monsoon.

So as the wind ‘pushes’ and the rain ‘pelts’, I take a minute out to muse over the many talents of nature. As they say, without the ‘bounty of nature’- there is no existence. Technology may grow to overpower almost every human function, but not to need nature at all is just fodder for far-fetched science fiction movies.  Maybe a belief to the contrary has led to the dangers of global warming and climate change. We have failed to respect the limited quantities of coal, natural gas and oil.  Further, we have overlooked the damage that these carbon extensive energy sources cause our environment.

As the wind pushes to make the wind turbines, spread over the landscape of One Earth, our new LEED-certified headquarters, work overtime my belief becomes stronger. A marriage of sorts between technology and nature is the demand of the hour. Nature has provided for enough renewable sources to power the growth of this planet.  I don't not want to undermine the importance of traditional sources of energy, but - rather - to advocate a mixed portfolio that can deliver the energy supplies we need as a nation to grow, but in a fashion that is both sustainable and carbon-responsible.

I overheard a comment the other day.  An analyst was joking that nature is possibly one of the smartest investment managers, with the most diversified portfolio ever.  I tend to agree, the monsoons - high wind speed season - is ideal for securing wind energy, similarly the summers are the best for solar energy when the sun shines down with the greatest intensity. The moons move the tides and in turn control the phase ideal for hydro power generation. Technology comes in to play to make harnessing each of the sources possible and even make power from waste. Decades of practice have made us almost perfect at extracting energy from the conventional sources - completing the mix, the perfect portfolio.

We have been witness to nature’s wrath when this balance is disturbed; we have also been forewarned of the catastrophic effects our planet will suffer if we continue with our established energy patterns. Technology, as recent events remind us, fails many a times significant consequences. The only way to limit these incidents is to pay heed to nature’s sound advice: de-risk by getting the two together, to work along with nature or rather ‘make technology work for nature’ than make ‘nature work for technology’.

Time to tear myself away from the glass panes and back to work. I will let the winds and the rains do the rest of the talking!