$20 Limited Offer Sold out
You'll get one copy of Sand Stories in print and ebook form, plus you’ll get exclusive access to updates and an invite to join the Sand Stories community. *This bonus is limited to the first 50 readers.
1 copy + ebook included
0 of 50 left
You'll get one signed & personalised copy of Sand Stories in print and ebook form, plus you’ll get exclusive access to updates and an invite to join the Sand Stories community.
1 copy + ebook included
$59 Cool Cat
You'll get 3 signed & personalised copies in print, ebook AND audiobook form + a HUGE thanks from me in the acknowledgements section. In addition, you will get a cool, lightweight aluminium water bottle that you take along to the beach or your next hike.
3 copies + ebook included
$99 A Behind-the-scenes Video
You'll receive 5 copies of my book, signed & personalised, plus your name in the book as a sand supporter. You’ll also get exclusive access to an hour-long video. If you've ever thought of writing a book, allow me to shorten the learning curve and help you get started on making your dream come true too. This video will reveal behind-the-scenes stories of the creative process from both the first-time-author's perspective as well as the artist's perspective.
5 copies + ebook included
You'll receive 15 copies of my book, signed & personalised, plus your name in the book as a sand supporter. You will receive the video from the previous bonus. In addition, I will assemble a surprise box, full of items that I find interesting, fascinating and inspiring. Example items range from favourite books/DVDs to nourishing teas.
15 copies + ebook included
$500 Fine-dining in London with Kiran
You want this book to reach a group of people and contribute to this campaign in a big way! You'll receive 25 copies of Sand Stories, get recognized on the first page as a Patron, and also get any of the above bonuses. As a special thanks, I will also organise a dinner for you and a guest at a fine London based restaurant. We can talk Sand Stories, artwork, travel, or whatever else you'd like. Excludes travel.
25 copies + ebook included
$1000 Sand Patron + Premium Artwork
This is where the numbers start to become BIG. You'll be considered a sand hero ;) You'll receive 50 copies of the book and get recognized on the first page as a Patron.
As a special recognition, you will receive an original artwork replication (chosen from three print designs) from the illustrator behind the cover and art in Sand Stories, Michelle Bauer. Michelle is a very talented artist based in Switzerland. Her support has been invaluable throughout this journey.
50 copies + ebook included
$1500 Online Lecture
This is for sustainability-focused organizations, small groups or interested private individuals who want to help spread the word and become Patrons of Sand Stories.
You'll receive 75 copies of the book and get recognized on the first page as a Patron + get a 1-hour online lecture on sand-related issues followed by a 30 minute Q&A portion.
75 copies + ebook included
$1800 Professional Photoshoot & Corporate Video
You'll receive 90 copies of Sand Stories and get recognised on the first page as a Patron. In addition, you will get a professional photo shoot and a corporate video from www.paulcapelliphotography.com for a key event or for your marketing requirements. Includes the photographer's travel and shooting for 1 day anywhere in Europe.
90 copies + ebook included
$2400 Hire to Speak!
Hire me to speak at your event and I'll bring 120 copies with me for you and your guests to take home.
I will share both heartbreaking and heart-warming sand stories. We'll talk about wars between the Davids and Goliaths of our world, the Geopolitics of Sand and how we need to design solutions with women in mind.
120 copies + ebook included
$5000 All Inclusive Weekend
Ok, here is where you'll officially become a sand saint ;) You will have my gratitude forever and 250 books to distribute to your community.
I will organise an all-inclusive weekend of discovery for you in Northern Ireland. We will spend time doing nice things such as visiting The Giant's Causeway, a World Heritage Site. We will also visit another gem, Lough Neagh. It is the biggest freshwater lake in Britain. To put it in perspective, Lough Neagh is bigger than Malta and it is designated as a European Special Protection Area.
Unfortunately, this Jewel is threatened by unlawful sand extraction. To give you an idea of the scale, the sand extracted from it in one year could fill over 10,000 volleyball courts. We will meet a community deeply impacted by this activity.
For more information about Lough Neagh visit: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/northern-ireland/lough-neagh-why-europes-wildlife-jewel-needs-space-breathe
Includes travel from mainland Europe or UK for 1 person.
250 copies + ebook included
About the Most Consumed Commodity on Earth
Sand Stories sheds light on why sand is the most consumed commodity on Earth. It examines the problems caused by indiscriminate mining across the world and offers potential solutions.Share Tweet LinkedIn Embed https://pszr.co/dfcCX
|Science Environment #1 in Science|
|London, United Kingdom|
|6 publishers interested|
Sand has always been perceived to be a symbol of abundance in many cultures. It is popularly believed to be both renewable as well as inexhaustible. This book will challenge that perception and draw the reader's attention to a common yet surprising phenomenon of the scarcity of sand as a resource. From glass to urban infrastructure, from silicon chips to pharmaceutical products, sand is used in mind-boggling volumes. But extensive consumption has resulted in several social, environmental, economic and geopolitical impacts across the globe. Although specific industries have already begun to find alternatives due to shortage of sand, the gravity of the situation hasn't percolated into the mainstream yet. This book attempts to fill that void and make the subject readily accessible to those who wish to delve deeper. The language used in the book is not academic although reference is made to available literature.
I grew up in Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India. As the city grew exponentially, I recall reading numerous newspaper reports about rivers being damaged due to incessant sand mining, yet I remember seeing miles and miles of sand laden trucks along highways. The topic always surfaced whenever there was a particularly serious problem but then receded in the media's eternal quest for new stories. From 2010 - 2011, I did a Masters in Environment and Development from King's College, London and I chose sand mining as the topic for my dissertation. After graduation, I continued to research and write blogs to raise awareness about this pressing environmental issue.
I believe I am the right person to write this book because of my wide variety of skills, experiences, and demonstrated passion. My forthcoming book will re-examine the way our society engages and deals with sand as a resource. Most importantly this book will bring a unique 'join-the-dots' perspective to the subject as it connects today's problems with potential solutions. Together with you, I hope Sand Stories will be another step towards creating greater global awareness and advancing a platform for change in our lifetime.
This book is written particularly for those who are passionate about topics related to the environment and sustainability. It is a surprising inquiry into the production of a resource that is often taken for granted - sand. Sand is the world's most overused, yet undervalued resource after fresh water. Even though sand is part of nearly every square metre of what we see in our cities, it is truly the forgotten foundation of modernity.
This is what Dr. David Tickner, Chief Freshwater Advisor WWF-UK had to say about the topic on Twitter:
There is much to be said and much more to be learned. My book is an attempt to humanise our ceaseless demand for sand. It will appeal to anyone who self-identifies as an eco-conscious individual. In addition, professionals such as Architects, Urban Planners, Landscape Architects, Civil Engineers, Geologists, Environmental Lawyers, Water Sector Professionals, Coastal Engineers and Professionals working in the Sustainability Sector would also find it interesting.
Although the term 'Sustainable Development' is highly contested, the concept of sustainability is becoming more important by the day. The UN has chosen 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. In our resource-constrained world, what were once simply 'externalities' are fast becoming material. In their article in the Harvard Business Review, Lubin and Esty (2010) have proposed that sustainability is an emerging megatrend. This presents a huge challenge as well as a great opportunity. Since the key focus of the book remains on solutions, it would appeal to Change-Makers, Activists, Journalists, as well as Entrepreneurs working on green solutions.
Social Media is a key part of my campaign. I post regularly on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus as well as LinkedIn. I have an active website with a growing community of subscribers. I plan to reach out to key audiences through various groups on facebook and yahoo. I am also in talks with a few in the teaching community to use the book in their curriculum.
I have invites to speak at conferences as well as editorial articles and guest posts in the pipeline. Once the book is completed, I plan to host live events as well as virtual summits to bring together a diverse set of stakeholders and spark conversations around the book.
With the right publisher, we will work together to leverage my social capital and your marketing resources to ensure the book reaches the widest and most relevant audience.
Bhaskar Rao Patil looks weary as he talks about his experience with declining catches over the last few years. He is the president of the fishermen’s colony in Bankot, a small fishing village near Mumbai on the Western coast of India. The lines on his face tell the story of his life. His hands are calloused, gnarled and strong. One can tell that he has seen better days. His clothes look clean but threadbare. Seated in very modest surroundings along with a few other fishermen, he talks wistfully about bygone days, while the others nod in agreement. “Gone are the days when we could fish easily. We could catch 50 pamplets (the local term for pomfrets, a high value catch) in one hour. Today it’s hard to find 5 even if we fish for the whole day. In the past, five people depended on one boat but today one boat can support only one to two people. Our life is under pressure.” His deep-set eyes turn to the horizon far away. He points to the dredgers and the big barges in the distant part of the river. They are his nemesis. The barges are filled to the brim with sand, a commodity that is dredged up from the rivers and transported to the trucks waiting along the banks. He explains how the local fishermen today live in constant fear for their livelihood because of them..
From a distance, the dredgers and barges look pretty harmless, but, they’re destroying the livelihood of these fishermen and many others in the region. Up close, the barges look big enough to hold about 10 to 20 boats of these fishermen. And when they are filled to the brim with wet sand, no prizes for guessing who wins if they crash into small boats of simple fisher folk. The fishermen say accidents happen fairly often and their nets too are frequently damaged but local officials are unwilling to register complaints against the barges as they are owned by ‘Big hands’ (i.e. elites). It feels like a losing battle for these local fishermen. They are up against a powerful, wealthy, well-connected and sometimes ruthless politician-builder nexus. The dredgers use suction pumps to suck up as much sand as they can, all of which is headed to the construction industry in Mumbai, the financial hub of the country. The commodity they take away to build a thriving city is the very lifeblood of these fishermen’s livelihood.
Fishing is a seasonal occupation here as one cannot fish in the monsoon season which lasts from June to August. What the fishermen earn in three to five months of the fishing season is what they and their families have to survive on for the rest of the year. But seasons don’t matter to the dredgers and barges. They operate non-stop, all year round, shipping away precious sand to more profitable places. Most of the fishermen in these communities are illiterate. The few that can read and write have only completed primary education and most aren’t trained on any other income-generating skills. In the absence of alternate employment, they have to depend on money-lenders and fish traders to survive the lean period and this keeps them in a state of perpetual indebtedness. As the talk continues, Bhaskar Rao Patil’s wife Kanti Bai enters the room with a tray of steaming hot tea and some snacks. She chips in with her part of the story. The women of the village play an equal role in society in these villages. The men fish, but it is the women who sell the fish in the markets. With tears gleaming in her eyes she says “We’d like to send our children to good schools but we hardly make any money to spare these days.”
Rampant illegal sand mining has resulted in falling fish stocks because dredging destroys the spawning habitat of the fish and muddies the water. As a result, only a few of the most resilient of fish are able to survive and they are not as profitable for the fishermen. When their boats are damaged by the barges, they are often unable to get bank loans to repair or replace them without a registered police complaint and lack of collateral property. So it drives them deeper into poverty. These people have been fishermen for generations and they know their river like the back of their hand. But sand mining is soon making their traditional knowledge obsolete. Indiscriminate sand mining makes rivers more violent as it deepens river channels and causes erosion of riverbanks. With families to feed and fewer fish left in the rivers, the fishermen are forced to head deeper into the sea. But they are ill-equipped for the dangers this presents and they face a double whammy. Out in deeper waters, the tides have almost doubled in height, thanks to land reclamation around Mumbai. These fishermen are completely out of their depth in these waters and the only skills they have are rendered inadequate.
It is said that Jesus called his disciples and made them fishers of men. But here around Mumbai, with no leader to show them a way, 80,000 fishermen have turned to fishing for sand. They know for certain that their actions ensure their children will never be able to fish in these waters. At least not the kind of fish they used to catch. They know their identity and way of life is at stake. But that seems to be the only way they can feed their families. They pin their hopes instead on getting their children educated and sending them to the cities so they will never have to live a life of such hardship. For now, they are able to get by. The demand for sand has been increasing.
Mumbai, a city that never sleeps and never stops. With an urban population pegged at just over 22 million, it is the most populated city in India and the eighth most populated city in the world. The massive growth in population has occurred over a relatively short time span though. In 1991, the city had just 9.9 million people. Nearly half of the influx has been due to the search for better employment prospects. The number of super-rich too has increased exponentially. Across 25 global cities, Mumbai has witnessed the highest growth in the number of Ultra-High Networth Individuals over the last decade. The world’s most expensive home (at the time of completion) - Antilia , 27 storeys tall, with 3 helipads, underground parking for 160 cars and a staff of 600 people to maintain the house can be found here. It is named after a mythical island in the Atlantic. For the owner, it was the fulfilment of a long-cherished dream. Mumbai after all is the ‘City of Dreams’ and millions flock to the city hoping for a chance at a better life. It plays host to a wide range of industries right from manufacturing to cutting-edge technology and houses 2 major stock exchanges. The Headquarters of many Multi-National Companies and large Indian companies are based here. The city is also a hub for cultural export in the form of the thriving Bollywood industry. Mumbai alone is responsible for over 6% of India’s GDP. The ports too are a critical part of its success. There is no dearth of jobs or talent in Mumbai. But there is one thing it is short of.
Space. This is its most precious commodity. A prominent journalist Bachi Karkaria says the built environment has increased fourfold since 1925 – and at its fastest rate over the past 30 years – all at the cost of green cover and wetlands. She writes ‘There’s less than 0.03 acres of open space per 1,000 people. The global norm is four; London has a profligate 12.’ Most of the working class lives in Chawls. These are multi-level tenements with small single rooms (usually used by a whole family) with a shared bathroom for each floor. Middle-class families on the other hand, live in one or two bedroom apartments. A luxury in comparison, but it is still a tight squeeze. Affordable housing is in dire shortage. In the rest of the country, people manage to buy their own homes by their mid 30s. But here in Mumbai, people work well into their late 40s or 50s before they can pay off the mortgages on their homes. The demand is so huge that the government simply cannot keep pace and they turn to the private sector for help. Naturally, developers are hungry for as much sand as they can get. But for various reasons, sand is in short supply. They blame the politicians and the environmental lobby. ‘Roti, Kapda, aur Makaan (loosely translated as food, clothes and shelter) is the dream of every citizen’ says Satish (name changed), the director of a successful construction firm. ‘How can you deprive them of this dream? It is easy to ban anything but it’s important to provide alternatives.’
‘In thirty years of my career, I have never heard of such a thing. Shortage of sand?!’, he snorts incredulously. ‘It’s not that there is no sand. This is all just a ploy to make you pay more’, he says. To Satish and his colleagues, the hullabaloo around the supply of sand makes no sense. They are more than sceptical and they harbour a deep mistrust. To them, sand is abundantly available and they feel the whole situation has just been engineered to create an artificial shortage. Once the prices go up by more than hundred percent, they never come back to the original price. Instead, they settle at about sixty-seventy percent of the previous price and that then becomes the new norm. ‘In the end, it is the consumer who pays the price. I run a business, not a charity. I simply have to pass on the costs to the customers.’
On the condition of anonymity, he talks at length about how developers are forced to buy sand from certain suppliers. He talks about how each region is controlled by powerful vested interests. ‘You can buy sand from elsewhere but you still have to pay these guys if you want your consignment to actually reach you. So in the end, you might as well buy from them.’ In sticky situations, some developers compromise on the quality of materials he says while others like him compromise on the price. ‘Sand used to be about 4-5% of the project cost. Now it is about 20% of the cost. We don’t worry about cement anymore. We worry about sand. Cement, you can pay and tomorrow you will get it. Sand - you will not. The sand supplier used to be the last person who would get paid. We used to stock sand outside and when it rained, it would often wash away. Not anymore.’ Reports indicate that sand is in such short supply that the Government has had to import sand from Indonesia and the Philippines.
While developers come to terms with the new reality, the government is working hard to promote affordable housing. The Mumbai Development Plan 2034 suggests that it intends to make additional land resources available for development by changing No Development Zones that include salt pan lands and coastal wetlands where scores of migratory birds seek refuge in the summer. Fierce protests are on to save eco-sensitive zones such as Aarey Forest that once used to be a part of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. But many Mumbaikars have no time for this debate. With exhausting commutes and long work hours, all they want is ‘Roti, Kapda aur Makaan’ and some fun along the way. A Mumbaikar friend explains. ‘Yaar (my friend), people buy apartments like they buy a pizza. You don’t care about what goes into it as long as it looks great’.
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