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Sumant Kumble
Dec 01, 2022
In #UnleashValues
ENVR 430 has been a very interesting experience! I didn’t have clear expectations going in, but the course did strike me as being quite different from typical lectures (which it certainly was). Often times, the course material was quite bleak, but I do feel that it’s been valuable to gain an understanding of the many ways our governments and institutions have failed (and are failing) to address environmental issues. I really liked the format of the course, with the weekly reflections and the emphasis on the final project during the back half. The chance to introspect regularly while building toward the project made it feel quite rewarding. I thought a lot of the perspectives I got to see in class and on CoSphere were great, and make me feel as though my visions of a sustainable future are not out of reach just yet. I think for a long time, I’d resigned myself to the idea that a lot of the damage caused by anthropogenic activity was irreparable, since it was clearly not individuals but corporations which needed to act. Through ENVR 430, I’m realizing that there are ways to get involved with social-signaling and system-changing action as an individual, just by acting on values such as transparency and accountability that I believe are important. I’m better equipped to make more sustainable choices myself. I’ve also realized that open dialog, platforms for people to share their insights and values, and collective action, can all result in meaningful change: that’s why I’m rooting for everyone’s final projects to succeed!
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Sumant Kumble
Nov 19, 2022
In #UnleashValues
People have a right to have their corpses treated with dignity, and the bereaved should be able to remember their loved ones long after their passing. However, the harm the funeral industry does to the environment cannot be ignored. In conjunction with a shift towards less polluting methods of disposition of remains, I believe all nations should feature opt-out organ donation systems rather than opt-in ones. In addition to the benefits this would have on patients requiring organs, this could help people stop fixating on the sanctity of corpses (especially when you may not have cared all that much about the person), and dismantle stigma around discussing death. People might really be amenable to getting rid of anti-ecological death practices, if only we start to talk about it: they need to know there are options that don’t involve being mounted in formaldehyde like bugs, or being reduced to ash and dumped in an urn for your family to forget about.
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Sumant Kumble
Nov 04, 2022
In #UnleashValues
Typically, a participant in a clinical trial must have a full understanding of the procedures and chemicals they’re being subjected to, and freedom of choice in the extent to which they’re experimented upon: informed consent. And yet, we’re constantly exposed to endocrine disruptors, which affect us at the cellular level with consequences we simply cannot fully comprehend, while regulatory bodies have made no effort to communicate the risks that have been identified to the public. I believe that if known endocrine disruptors are too integral to production to be banned immediately, any products that contain them should contain warnings alerting consumers to their risks in the vein of cigarette packaging.
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Sumant Kumble
Oct 28, 2022
In #UnleashValues
I get the sense that stronger regulations to protect the environment can only be successfully enforced with sweeping changes to improve transparency in all facets of economic and political activity. From supply chains to donations to super PACs, consumers have a right to know more about whose profits they’re contributing to with their purchases, and what these profits are being used for. If companies were opened up to more liability and stricter financial penalties for failing to accurately represent their activities, we might see them make more responsible decisions.
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Sumant Kumble
Oct 21, 2022
In #UnleashValues
I envision forest management practices that are based on ecological considerations rather than economic ones. I believe everyone has the right to clean air and protection from fire, without needing to be far removed from nature. Human activity has greatly altered the frequency and severity of unavoidable fires (take it from the experts: USDA, C2ES). With more active forest monitoring and controlled burns to create fire breaks, we could contain extreme wildfires without excessively interfering with natural processes and ecosystems.
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Sumant Kumble
Oct 14, 2022
In #UnleashValues
I’m still a little skeptical of regenerative farming and its purported benefits with regard to carbon sequestration. There aren’t really a lot of peer-reviewed studies of how much of an impact it can make, or its economic feasibility and yields (sustainable practices still ensure present-day needs are met). It is abundantly clear, however, that soil health is in dire straits worldwide. While I believe that more pilot projects for any innovations in agriculture are necessary—the status quo will lead to disaster—I think an issue that can be addressed in conjunction with soil health right now is food waste. Roughly 20% of the food we produce goes uneaten, even as food insecurity runs rampant in underdeveloped and industrializing nations (https://globalnews.ca/news/7676470/global-food-waste-un-report/). Policies such as those implemented in the city of San Francisco that create strong financial incentives for minimizing organic waste disposed of as garbage could both help consumers demand food more responsibly and serve as a source of natural fertilizer for crops (which, in turn, could be used to lower start-up costs of agriculture pilot projects, lowering financial barriers, and shifting new production towards regenerative farming with healthier soil).
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Sumant Kumble
Oct 07, 2022
In #UnleashValues
I believe that while ecosystem service models are not a cure-all, a better appreciation of the wealth of benefits we receive from ecosystems is necessary (at the very least, since the intrinsic value of nature is hard to comprehend). To this end, with specific reference to water, I envision a progressive pricing system for all water consumption. This would provide all income groups with cheap access to amounts of water that they require to meet their basic needs, while exacting very high charges on corporations that consume vast quantities of water, which they often discharge untreated. In between these ends of the water consumption spectrum, wealthy individuals may be dissuaded from constructing water features and other monuments to vanity that waste potable water. Increased government revenue from these charges could be spent on repairing infrastructure, and investing in promising water purification technologies. Better valuation of water could also open up corporations or even governments to liability for pollution, since class action lawsuits would have a clear legal basis for a certain minimum amount of damages (making it more challenging for powerful institutions to dismiss or delay cases).
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Sumant Kumble
Sep 23, 2022
In #UnleashValues
I can’t help but feel that the three dimensions of injustice we discussed in class are involved in all—and even integral to some—modern economic activity. Most major undertakings that require government approval typically involve cost-benefit analyses that really only factor in net monetary effects, and neglect different values people try to uphold when engaging with others and nature. I think a future where our interaction with our environments is less extractivist and is built on frameworks that acknowledge marginalized perspectives is necessary. For instance, Indigenous Peoples typically see their territories exploited without being consulted, and receive meager compensation (if any) in return. I believe a paradigm shift is necessary, especially in light of the ILO’s findings that Indigenous Peoples are responsible for stewardship of 80% of the world’s biodiversity. It's not clear to me that just the provision of a platform to marginalized voices is enough. If the law begins to require that the views of those who inhabit areas near planned projects are heard and seriously considered (beyond seeking approval from elected leaders who are too often some mix of incompetent and malevolent) we may be able to produce and provide employment inclusively and sustainably, while breaking the ties between economic activity and the perpetration of injustices.
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Sumant Kumble
Sep 16, 2022
In #UnleashValues
Advertising essentially involves the creation of wants, and modern advertising does this really effectively by preying on peoples’ insecurities. I envision more tight-knit and supportive communities which could keep people from being so readily swayed by consumerist messaging. These could form from gatherings of like-minded people, who are willing to share their values and beliefs, even in the face of potential ridicule from their immediate social circles. Eventually, this messaging could embolden others whose consumption is currently driven only by societal pressure. I'm committing to sharing my stances on rampant consumption, even amongst groups that might be less receptive to such ideas.
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Sumant Kumble
Sep 15, 2022
In #UnleashValues
Hi! My name is Sumant, I'm a 3rd year biology student taking ENVR 430. I'm not really sure what I want to do with my degree, but I'm passionate about conservation and keeping my house above sea level. This course seemed like a great opportunity to gain exposure to discourse on sustainability, and contribute some of my ideas as well. The idea of making meaningful change over this term is also exciting! Follow #UnleashValues to help my class work towards identifying barriers to a more sustainable future, and finding means to overcome them.
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Sumant Kumble

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