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SAM ECO 2014

SAM Conferences in association with Jeppiaar Engineering College

SAM ECO 2014


17th Aug 2014

As the human population grows and with it consumption, pressure on our planet's limited water, food, land, and biological diversity is increasing exponentially. Learning how to live sustainably on this planet is going to require that humanity learns how to utilize and manage our natural resources more effectively. The need for a new generation of highly-trained conservation ecologists and activists has never been greater.

SAM ECO 2014 aims to bring these new age thinkers and doers to enlighten people on how to help and protect planet EARTH to survive this turbulent ecological times

Disclaimer : Speakers, performances and demos may change or be dropped at the last minute due to unforeseen eventualities.

Nisha Thota

Managing Trustee & General Secretary Youth ExNoRa International


Founder “Tree our World"

Dr. Jayant Lokhande

Green businessman


Windmills from scrap yards


Water Harvesting Pioneer


Member, Supreme Court Committee for Solid Waste Management, India

Henry Hatch

Head, Telecoms Division, UGE


Ardent Environmentalist


Redesigning processes to be self-sustainable


Landscape Architect


Student, Researcher, Inventor, entrepreneur, writer


Oral/Performance Storyteller


Land restorer, founder Pitchandikulam


Nisha Thota, 32, is a Physiotherapist by profession, has a vision to see Tamil Nadu, her home state, to be in the forefront of tackling environmental issues and also be considered as the Clean & Green City of India.

Born in Chennai, she lives in the UK. Her commitment to the cause is demonstrated by the various programs and events that she had conducted and well appreciated by various well known individuals of TamilNadu extending their help and co-operation. She believes that the Youth is the future of the country and that the youth need to be engaged in various social activities.

With a view to encourage youth to vote during the Tamil Nadu state elections in 2011, she started a “Clean & Fair” election campaign with the caption “Change starts here” and gained appreciation of Chief Election Commissioner Thiru. Praveen Kumar. A similar campaign is initiated for 2014 Lok Sabha Elections.

In June, 2011, she started her first Solid Waste Management project in partnership with Vodafone India quickly followed by project on Sky Farming with CTS for 2 of their offices. Community level Solid Waste Management at Kilakkarai utilising simple and cost effective techniques is the first of her successful pilot programs now moving into the full implementation. Source segregation of waste was initiated by her at Boat Club, Chennai in co-operation with Chennai Corporation.

Power consumption, alternative sources of energy and traffic management are other areas of her interest and were part of the 2012 and 2013 lights out campaign. In the beginning of 2012, Nisha attempted to clean the Adyar Creek which has tonnes of plastic waste dumped by the locals. Numerous beach cleaning activities in coordination with corporates such as HCL, IBM and Vodafone have been successfully conducted by her. She has conducted numerous programs with schools to encourage and imbibe source segregation concepts.


LISA LOVE, loves people, dancing and trees. Lisa is the founder of ‘Tree Our World’ - working with farmers/gardeners in 7 countries, she is also co-creating a Global Advocacy Network for ‘Moringa Tree of Life’ (the world's most nutritious and sustainable food) and in the process of making her film ‘Tre*Evolution’. Lisa’s human and earth rights journey began in 1971 at age of 8, fundraising and recycling with SPEC and Greenpeace!

Lisa believes in and works towards Grass-Roots Sustainability: Feeding Ourselves, Feeding the World - Understanding basics of the relationship between ourselves, the Permaculture, Tree Restoration and Urban Community Garden movements and Global Food Security, Small-Holder Farming, Earth Restoration and Climate Change.

She and her team have also been creating and remembering a vast world of knowledge, experiences, systems and resources.

Her mission is to share this learning with as many people as possible by connecting, sharing and collaborating with others towards the intention of repairing, restoring and growing a sustainable thriving interdependent healthy people and biodiverse clean planet.

Dr. Jayant Lokhande

Dr. Jayant Lokhande, M.D., M.B.A. is an expert in botanical drug product (BDP) and biotechnology business management with integrated economics and regulatory aspects. He has worked for several nutraceuticals companies in the United States and India and has formulated successful strategies for marketing nutraceuticals worldwide. He has significant clinical experience in botanical drugs and the application of nutraceuticals in chronic diseases. He recently started his own company Indus Prowess Inc and Indus Extracts in the United States, for which his responsibilities include business analysis, product development, and technical marketing and sales.


WILLIAM KAMKWAMBA author of "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind", was born August 5, 1987 in Dowa, Malawi, and grew up on his family farm in Masitala Village, Wimbe, two and half hours northeast of Malawi’s capital city.

William was educated at Wimbe Primary School, completing 8th grade and was then accepted to Kachokolo secondary school. Due to severe famine in 2001, his family lacked the funds to pay the $80 in annual school fees and William was forced to drop out of school a few months into his freshman year. Rather than accept his fate, William started borrowing books from a small community lending library located at his former primary school. He borrowed an 8th grade American textbook called Using Energy, which depicted wind turbines on its cover. He decided to build a windmill to power his family’s home.

First he built a prototype using a radio motor, then his initial 5-meter windmill out of a broken bicycle, tractor fan blade, old shock absorber, and blue gum trees. After hooking the windmill to a car battery for storage, William was able to power four light bulbs and charge neighbors’ mobile phones. William continued to work on improving his windmill and by his third version he was able to pump water for irrigation. From then on he has found simple solution to help with procuring clean water, malaria prevention, solar power implementation and irrigation.

William has also sponsored the outfitting of the village soccer team “Wimbe United” with their first ever uniforms and shoes. Since receiving their Sun and Wind-themed uniforms, the team has been on a winning streak that has brought the village together with pride.


DR. SEKHAR RAGHAVAN quit his job as a physics professor to educate the residents of Chennai on the importance of rainwater harvesting and saving water.

His tireless efforts bore fruit when Dr. J Jayalalithaa, the then chief minister of Tamil Nadu, made rainwater harvesting mandatory for all the properties in Chennai, a first in India.

For his unique efforts in 2003, he was made an Ashoka Fellow ('Ashoka Innovators for Public' was founded by Bill Drayton in 1980 in Washington, DC to recognise social entrepreneurs of the world.) Ashoka Fellows are selected from all over the world who work at the grassroots level.

Thanks to Dr M S Swaminathan, in August 2002, Dr. J Jayalalithaa inaugurated Rain Centre. Because the chief minister inaugurated the centre, it got a lot of publicity.

In 2005, Dr Raghavan was introduced to the concept of ecological sanitation, which is actually composting toilets and started a project in Kovalam a village outside Chennai. A Japanese anthropologist was so impressed by the Kovalam project that he got a grant for 70 toilets, and 66 were installed in the Dalit settlement in Kovalam. The same concept is being used in many other villages today.

In 2010, the Harmony for Silvers (founded by Anil Ambani's wife, Tina) selected him as one of the ten recipients of Silver. This time, the award was for his work in the field of sanitation. He was called the Inventor of Ecological Sanitation.

Today Dr. Raghavan’s services are highly sought after not just in Chennai but through the length and breadth of the country. His services are free and the organisation works purely on donations


ALMITRA H PATEL was born in Bombay to Pheroze and Tehmina Sidhwa, in a large joint family home, but grew up in Devlali, near Nasik. Her father’s love of trees, gave her a lifelong love of nature, a friendly aunt loved to show her the mysteries of caterpillars turning into butterflies, and explain the secrets of anthills and beehives and wasp nests and the lives of birds and little mammals.

At Pune’s Wadia College, during her second year of college, her zoology instructor allowed her to help him with his Ph D experiments on colour vision in the giant rock bees that lived in the University tower. Dr Shah also let her help him with dissecting insects and plant parts for staining them to study their cell structure.

Almitra did her B Sc with Chemistry, B.S. in general engineering and an M.S. in industrial ceramics at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology in USA) Two years after she returned, she met and married Hoshang, a Chemical and Metallurgical Engineer and had two daughters while heading a small family business and developing an import substitute for induction furnace linings for melting iron and steel. What she enjoyed most was providing technical help to customers to reduce waste and improve productivity.

In1972 she and her family moved to a farm outside Bangalore and started a poultry farm. All was well on their scenic country road until 1991, when Bangalore City Corporation began daily dumping truckloads of city garbage on both sides of the road and into the marshes and stream banks “because there is nowhere else to dump it”. Till that time, like most city folk, Almitra never knew or thought about where city garbage ended up, or how. I was determined not to take a NIMBY attitude (“Not In My Back Yard”) and have it dumped somewhere else, because that would simply mean that some other farmers would suffer. A solution had to be found Almitra decided to find it, and found it. Today she has been responsible for numerous states and corporations taking the situation of waste management seriously and doing something about it.

Her long list of accomplishment include

In 1994: “Environmentalist of the Year for Karnataka” by the Economic Times.

1973 to date: Honorary Tree Warden for Karnataka

Has personally visited 135 Indian Municipalities to date (plus 19 facilities in 7 countries abroad) to inspect their waste management practices.

One of 8 members of the Supreme Court Committee for Class 1 Cities, constituted to formulate a national policy for hygienic urban solid waste management and disposal; Report endorsed by the Supreme Court in February 2000.

Member, Central Pollution Control Board’s Task Force to amend and update the Municipal Solid Waste.


HENRY HATCH leads the Telecoms division at UGE (Urban Green Energy), a company based in New York City that provides distributed renewable energy solutions for global enterprise customers. UGE Telecoms develops and deploys energy systems to telecoms sites in areas of the world with limited access to a modern electrical grid.

Henry is excited to be participating in the distributed energy revolution. He believes in the power of distributed renewable energy to encourage local production and consumption of electricity across geographies and cultures.

Prior to his work at UGE, Henry worked for various NGOs focused on international environmental issues. He holds a bachelors degree from Colorado College in International Political Economy.


Ananya Ashok believes that we are responsible for every action and inaction of today. Ananya Ashok, presently a Master degree student at the Central Institute of Fisheries Education, specializes in Aquatic Environment Management and holds a Junior Research Fellowship from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. Selected as the Best Fisheries Graduate of India and awarded the H. P. C. Shetty Award in 2014.

Ananya has traversed a path working on awareness for a sustainable environment. Looking back, she tried to create awareness for conservation of the Pallikaranai Marsh as an International Climate Champion with the British Council and went on to speak about the need for biodiversity as the Youth Speaker at the High Level Segment of the Conference of Parties 11, Convention on Biological Diversity in 2012. Realizing however that the problem needs to be addressed on a larger scale, she has chosen to take up the scientific way of doing it. Ananya’s research work focuses on the assessment of “dioxins” from environment – a thought imbibed in her mind from conditions surrounding the Pallikaranai Marsh in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

In her words “I am an ardent environmentalist who believes in working to strengthen the existing scientific knowledge base for sounder policy making”.


Saajan Varanasi, born and brought up at Berhampur, Odisha showed signs of leadership and various organisational skills right from school level. He was always with a quest to do something different and explore life and the world.

Presently still at a very young age of 22 years, he is studying architecture from School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, India. From the various positions of management he has held, the most important were the National Treasurer of National Association of Students of Architecture (NASA) India - the architecture student body of India, from 2012-2013. Finding the organisation in certain dismal state, He was the man behind its revival, regularising the operations, cleaning the modus operandi and bringing it back to its previous glory.

After that, a small idea struck him – looking at the dismal waste being generated every day in day to day life. “What if we can use them to make something and get back the value from it instead of just dumping it in the garbage?”.

This idea nurtured, and evolved into the ideology that is Design Mafia. He, along with his friends, Deepankar Biswas, Sashank Macharla, Hirak Hatibaroah and Abhishek Gwaskoti, founded DesignMafia, - an organisation that has been rapidly expanding and inspiring the student community and others in India and abroad to upcycle materials, and providing employment to the socially underprivileged. It is beginning to take up large scale social projects like housing designed from entirely recycled and upcycled materials. From a humble start by an 8 person team in January of 2014, It has grown to engage more than 6000 students and professionals across all streams internationally and has brought them together for the very strong cause of making a difference to the society and the rapidly declining ecology.


In the 1990s David Kamp, a young landscape architect, was on the fast track to success. A rising leader in a prestigious New York firm, David worked on a variety of exciting projects and was chosen as one of the designers for Australia’s New Parliament House. This latter initiative, a highly prestigious and internationally acclaimed project, not only provided a huge career opportunity for David, but also a philosophical one. As Australia’s symbolic home, the design speaks to the individual and to the world. Over the course of this project David realized how design can instill a sense of identity and offer opportunities to connect to oneself and to the larger world. Since then David came to see the response to stress and illness as a defining experience for most individuals and wanted to explore how design can address identity within this context. Soon, David quit his secure job in favor of the riskier endeavor of starting his own company. Dirtworks, P.C. is founded on the belief that nature and gardens have profound healing qualities…. that dirt works.

In David’s Words “I started my firm with the belief that nature has significant therapeutic qualities and that interaction with nature is essential to health and well being. In a health care setting, gardens can address the sense of struggle, isolation and vulnerability experienced in times of illness and crisis. They can create a rich and supportive setting that fosters a sense of well being, empowerment, dignity and promise”.”

Soon after starting the firm David was awarded a Loeb Fellowship in Advanced Environmental Studies at Harvard University, where he researched nature’s role in health and healing, and afterwards was awarded an artist residency at the MacDowell Colony. Besides maintaining a practice in New York, David is a recognized speaker in the United States and Europe and has taught a numerous universities including the University of Virginia and Harvard University. David is also co-founder of Meristem, an educational, not-for-profit organization promoting nature’s role in improving health and well-being. Most recently, David was on the steering committee that developedGreen Guidelines for Healthcare Construction, a tool for establishing sustainable guidelines in the construction and operation of healthcare facilities.

Working with the United States Forest Service Living Memorials Project and with the people of Somerset, Pennsylvania, David designed a series of memorial tree groves called The Legacy Groves of Somerset County. The concept grew from a desire to honor and remember those lost on September 11, 2001 with a living, growing tribute of trees. The groves are planted not only in memory of those lost on Flight 93 but also in appreciation of the first responders: the firefighters, emergency personnel, police and other rescue workers, as well as the volunteers who sustained and who continue to sustain the community.

The Legacy Groves are a living memorial created with trees to symbolize the continuity of life and reflect hope for the future. Native Sugar Maples of various sizes and ages are planted in naturalistic groves that offer a quiet place for peaceful reflection for individuals and the community. The first six groves were planted on September 11, 2003, at the Volunteer Firefighters Training Center and the county’s Technology Center. School, businesses, organizations, community groups, federal, state and local government agencies are encouraged to adopt and plant groves throughout the county and regional area of southwestern Pennsylvania. A tree nursery created at the Technology Center assures a continuous supply of Sugar Maples for future groves. The project is a part of the Forestry and Horticulture curriculum of the Technology Center involving students in the development and care of the trees, strengthening the ties between the community and groves.


Nikky Kumar Jha (born 1995) is a Student, Researcher, Inventor, entrepreneur, writer and teen expert. He published his first research paper at the age of 16 which made him youngest ever author to publish a research paper. Till now he has published six research papers in the international journals and eight under consideration. He also attended seven international conferences till now. His famous invention is on Generation of electricity from Ash, Hybrid phone charger, Wearable medical device to cure body and joint pain, Small portable fridge.

He was given the “PARYAVARAN RATNA AWARD” at the age of 14 followed by many National and International Awards. He is also on the threshold of breaking the world record of maximum number of undergraduate research paper published yet. Currently he is pursuing his B.Tech (2nd year) from GL Bajaj Institute of Technology and Management, Greater Noida.”

Nikky is founder of WebtechVilla (www.webtechvilla.com) an online magazine dealing in the sector of Invention and Entrepreneurship. Also he is Author of famous book Miracle Minds (www.miraclemindsbook.com) which is also known as SAM Book , the book consists of Inspiring stories of 15 undergraduates of India. He mentors student specially teenagers in different school across India. He currently lives in Greater Noida and can be reached at nikkykumarjha@yahoo.com , nikkyscientist@gmail.com and www.facebook.com/nikkyscientist.


Vikram Sridhar is a Performance storyteller and theatre practitioner based in Bangalore. He has been working with a number of theatre groups across India for about a decade now is the co-founder Tahatto, a Bangalore based theatre group. Tahatto performs regularly in Bangalore and in festivals across India. He has volunteered and worked with different organizations in the conservation space. And also consults and works with organisations in the social sector. He combines the three in his Storytelling to make a difference. He performs his stories across various spaces and cities in India. He has been written about in various media for his high energy interactive style of Storytelling.

Around the Story Tree is his initiative to reach out to children and adults from different backgrounds through storytelling, using stories and folktales in a contemporary form as a strong medium for conservation to connect listeners to their environment. To know more about his work, see facebook.com/AroundTheStoryTree.


JOSS BROOKS grew up in the Australian state of Tasmania, a place full of wild natural beauty and came to Auroville in 1970 after living in Europe and Africa. He joined the early pioneering efforts in land restoration at Auroville and founded the Pitchandikulam community in 1973 which is now a vibrant 60 acre forest with 800 species of plants in the grasslands, a nursery and an ethno-medicinal forest. In 2002, he embarked on environmental education to the villages by setting up Nadukuppam Environment Education Center in a village near Auroville. He also founded, Pitchandikulam Forest Consultants, a business unit to provide environmental restoration services and is currently directing the restoration bio-diversity at Adayar Ponga in Chennai.