PUNE: At a time when the Coronavirus Pandemic has slowed down the entire world, it is time to rethink on issues on sustainability and economy to avoid damages and impact in future and technology will play a key role opined various experts in a two-part webinar UN75 – 2020 and beyond: A dialogue, organized by Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Sanstha’s Dr Bhanuben Nanavati College of Architecture for Women under their initiative United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI).
The Webinar facilitated discussion on current and future global challenges and ways to curb them.
Future of Digital, AI and Robotic technologies in education, the Role of Educational Institutes, as well as citizens in combating climate change, Role of stakeholders and large organizations in addressing climate change, The Importance of Environment versus the Economy to handle climate change, and The Impact of Digital Technology on Human Rights, were some of the topics discussed in the webinar.
The webinar series saw some of the most eminent speakers including Dr. Anurag Kashyap, Principal, BNCA, Dr. Nitin Karmalkar, Vice-Chancellor, SPPU, Pune, Dr. Dnyaneshwar Mulay, Member, National Human Rights Commission, and Dr. Johannes Widodo, Director, ICOSMOS, Singapore, Ar. Jayantha Parera, Architecture, and Planning professional, Srilanka, Ar. Habeeb Khan, President, Council of Architecture, Ar. Manjit Rastogi, Founder Partner, Morphogenesis, and Dr. Priydarshini Karve, Founder, Samuchit Enviro. Dr. Shubhada Kamalapurkar, Academic Head at BNCA, and Dr. Sujata Karve moderated in the webinar.
Prof. Asmita Joshi, Director of UNAI Hub, BNCA was the convenor of the Webinar series. She introduced the speakers, and elaborated on the role of COVID-19 in solidifying the importance of digital technology in the day to day lives of people. She also said that in a tough time like this, the UN has called upon its hubs to reflect on the global challenges of now and in future, and discuss solutions to minimize their impact. She announced that a white paper would be published on the views that come forth through the webinar.
Prof. Mahesh Bangad welcomed the speakers and Dr. Mangesh Kashyap summarised the webinar.
Dr. Anurag Kashyap, Principal, BNCA spoke about how advanced digital technology can be harnessed in the future. He said that teachers need to make sure if the students are using technology productively. Technology is meant for human welfare and ensuring that it aids the life of people is important. He said that the role of any educational institution is to make people aware of the environment. Architectural institutes should encompass all aspects of environment and architecture because a climate disaster can have a worse impact globally. He added that “Empathy” which is the foundation of Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Sanstha is the way ahead. He thanked Dr.Ramu Damodaran, Chief of United Nations Academic Impact, NewYork for his continuous support to the BNCA UNAI Hub
Ar. Jayantha Parera, Architecture, and Planning professional from, Srilanka said the world must slow down for a while and relook at the issues of sustainability, to avoid damages due to disaster like the present pandemic of Covid-19. In short, we need to look for a paradigm shift in how to make effective sustainable development. He also said that we need to see if the future buildings will be to be constructed or manufactured using digital technologies in the next generation. He further said that the global architects must have certain ingredients like design excellence, management capability, business skills, and sound in ethics.
Ar. Habeeb Khan, President, Council of Architecture said we need to see at this issue holistically. This pandemic has not broken the world but has shown us the broken world. We are living in a very frugal world; the systems now are disrupted due to pandemic which should make us rethink. As long as the economic system is based on growth pattern then the entire world is not going to perish. We need to have a planned yet adaptive, sustainable, and equitable future that is dependent on need instead of greed. He further added that we should take this as an opportunity to think. The time has come that we evolve a newer economic model based on the fundamental principles to meet happiness. He added his views on digital technology and climate change. All the institutes should come forward and set and study live examples and educate the society regarding sustainable development.
Dr. Johannes Widodo, Director, ICOSMOS, Singapore spoke about the role of education in combating all the current problems. He said that even if digital technology is bringing us together, there is still a vast majority of people who have no access to digital services. The Internet is not sustainable since it needs a lot of power and energy. He said that the consumptive nature of people today and their disregard for moderation are the causes of global warming. He added that modern education focuses on strengthening the cognitive aspect when it should focus on the ethical and empathetically aspect. The next generation will be the catalyst for change, and we must take the right steps to educate them. He also said that we need to be more resilient and focus on both environment and economy. He stressed that Gandhian philosophy of Self-reliance and Swadesi is the way ahead.
Dr. Nitin Karmalkar, Vice-Chancellor, SPPU, Pune, spoke about the challenges faced in adapting to the new techno-dependent education system due to COVID-19. He said that in a time like this, making education available on digital platforms is the most viable option, but the challenge everyone in the country is facing is the lack of access to technology. In addition to that, training the teachers to deliver engaging, enriching, and interactive content to their students through digital platforms is challenging. He further added that efforts must be made to achieve sustainability in architecture, in technology, people must become self-aware, fuel consumption must be minimized and alternative energy resources must be used to minimize the effect of climate change. Industries must also control their dependency on fossil fuels.
Dr. Dnyaneshwar Mulay, Member, National Human Rights Commission, while speaking about the impact of digital technology on human rights said that technology is important in every sphere of life. However, everything has a few advantages as well as disadvantages and the same applies to digital technology. It is entirely up to people how they as humans must use digital technology with conscience, balance, and equity, without violating privacy and causing a threat to security. According to him, technology can be positive only when it enhances the basic human rights and human values
Dr. Priydarshini Karve, Founder, Samuchit Enviro said that certain climate changes happened are irreversible and we are already facing many impacts of it. The rise in sea level or melting of glaciers will slow down or will accelerate eventually. Keeping all this in mind, the challenge that we are facing today has two dimensions to it, one is mitigation which means we need to reduce green gas house emissions and have to shift from the fossil fuel-based economic model and the other aspect is an adaptation, where we have to learn to live with the changes happening. She added how adaptation is necessary as much as mitigation in the coming days and how everybody should focus on it.
Ar. Manjit Rastogi, Founder Partner, Morphogenesis said he believes in the power of nature to self-regulate which is happening right now. The changes will happen only when development becomes a part of an environmental master plan and this is where technology will play a vital role. We should come with design solutions that are a highly local and local response to the demographics, environment, and climate, and then at a collective level, the world will succeed but it has to be driven locally. It has to be a combination of how nature acts and how technology evolves.
Dr. Anurag Kashyap, Principal, BNCA summarized the session while Prof. Asmita Joshi, Director of UNAI Hub, BNCA gave the vote of thanks.
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