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Near zero budget infrastructure to initiate evolution of adaptive socio-ecosystem towards climate crisis.




The geographical region of this proposal is community of Coimbatore, an expanding urban conglomerate in the birodiversity hotspot of India, Western Ghats. Community, here termed as an entity comprised of natural,artificial, social, and economic environment [1]. These components act in complex way to sustain present and prospecting its shared future.

Executive Summary

Resilience can be defined as the “capacity of a system to withstand disturbances while still retaining its fundamental structure, function, and internal feedbacks” [2,3]. By inculcating resilience characteristics in communities, it is a better way to withstand the catastrophic negative change posed by climate crisis on its socio-ecological system. Natural environment (ecosystem) of communities poses the needed resilience characteristics. Diversified components, multilevel inter linkages, self organization of ecosystem provide essential characteristics to withstand itself and buffer the stress. The communities can acquire these characteristics by learning and integrating themselves with their ecosystem and adapt them with anomalies raising due to the same system change. This kind of internalization (acquisition of characteristics by community) requires the much needed consensus and agreement within the community.
This proposal looks for ways to acquire information about socio-ecosystem to generate relevant knowledge for community[4]. So that the community by social learning can appreciate the functionality, interdependence of socio-ecosystem and its complexity, dynamism, uncertainty[5]. Thus the community can become resilient by innovate, experiment and adapt to the situation given by the comprehension of socio-ecological system. This necessitate the requirement of credible, usable,  dynamic, open-access information about functioning and state of socio-ecosystem. Recent developments in information technology especially in personal communication and computational techniques provide the needed facility to procure those informations. The infrastructure thus created reflects the analogy of cloud and rain event, where the resilience can be seen as the shower of rain and events happening for that such as innovations as lightning, experiments as turbulence and cloud formation as adaptation.

As an initial "safe fail experimental" implementation, the proposal deals with the information procurement about two interrelated components of Coimbatore community that is its urban forestry and public transport [4]. In Indian scenario these two components are very closely interrelated. Road widening as a measure of rapid development pose considerable destruction of trees culturally planted in the sides of roads. Whereas the dependency on personal transportation increases because of not so easy public transportation. That puts the circular pressure on necessity of widening the roads and thus destruction of urban forestry in roads. Lack of setup for efficient management and ever increasing petrol cost makes public transportation system a non profitable business. The resilience on both the components can be achieved by generating community concern, real time information about public transport system(city bus fleets).

The community concern gives opportunity for  conservation measures and participatory decision making on urban forestry. Real time information about bus movement gives tools to search the availability of public transport and planning facility for user thus increases usability and it gives further advantage of situational management for public transportation managers to make their business sustainable.The aim of proposal is to inculcate resilience in urban forestry and public transportation system of Coimbatore by establishing and generating information infrastructure about it. The action sought for this aim is establishment of community driven, interdependent information infrastructure named as envirocloud. Mechanism sought for establishment is by utilizing the already available resources such as mobile technology, social networking facility, open source sensor web enablement specifications and following implementation model of open source, volunteer involvement initiatives, thus promises very low budget for implementaion of proposal.   



Implementation of information infrastructure for urban forestry and public transportation system. The action comprised of social networking and networking of public buses in world wide web. Procuring dynamic data from these components into distributed data warehouses and disseminate the relevant information from the data into end users of community.

Social networking is for generating community concern on urban forestry. Implementation will be by inviting participation of volunteers to share their environmental observations on urban forestry. Procurement of observation will be by using open source crowd source software Ushahidi[6]. The crowd sourcing will be maintained as far as simple by including widely available communication facilities of common public such as SMS. The environmental observation will be task based voluntary participation in which people asked to look for certain characteristics in particular urban tree in their locality which will be requiring simple to moderate level close observation of the tree.

The networking of public buses is for better tracking of their current position and generating better utility and planning opportunity for end users. Implementation will be carried out by two phases. First phase will be procurement of static information about public bus transportation route, timing etc and disseminating those information into end users through SMS messaging on request. This will be similar to Google® transit. Second phase will be on procuring dynamic information about bus movement and generating specific information related with bus movement inquired by end user. For this, the buses will be connected to Internet   through mobile phones carried by bus conductor. Instead of using current bell type code for communicate with driver to start or stop the bus, conductor will be making a call to driver's mobile phone. The time in between the call will be recorded by server and it makes calculation about location of bus and likely reaching of that bus in specific locality.

Interdependency of the two components will be established by incurring voluntary observation task on environmental monitoring (urban forestry) to users who used public bus transportation tracking facility.

Why: Rationale for the proposal


1. Long track record of organizational failure in management of complex system such as socio-ecological systems rationalizes resilience rather than control the crisis.

2. Necessity of Get together and community organization for acquiring the resilience characteristics.

3. Bottom up approach is most of the time better for societal change and learning, mainly it bypasses large investment, non ownership state the most daunting problems with top down approach.  

4. Real time spatial information is required for improved management of transportation system a networked system. Internet of documents revolutionized knowledge dissemination; internet of things will give next phase of revolution knowledge generation about complex systems.

5. Conservation of biodiversity can only be initiated by generating the appreciation of dependency of biodiversity by communities in public sphere.


How: Feasibility of proposal

1.Win-win situation, user, transportation manager and community as a whole got benefited.

2. Open source and crowd source model, the software and hardware development by voluntary, internship involvement, sustainability by community taken over by appreciation of its usability.

2. Community involvement: provides ownership and thus gives aspiration to initiate and sustain the infrastructure.  

Vision of the future under this proposal

Imagine, you need to reach your workplace as soon as possible. By internet searching you found the vehicles likely to go in the street nearer to your home. You got search results of vehicles going in your specified route and likely to reach your destination and reach your current position. The vehicle will be from private two wheelers to public buses that are willing to share their transportation facility (willing to give a lift). You are now started to interact with your preferred vehicle from the search list, by login and negotiating with the movement management system and owner of that vehicle your plan route according to your needs was fixed

Now, you fixed your trip by sharing the energy cost of that trip. While interacting with the movement management system of the trip vehicle, you came to know that, five minuter are remaining to reach that vehicle to your door step. In the meantime, you will be observing the tree in front of your waiting shed; you are a fan of that tree and for a long time lending your voice for her in the social-networking site.. By surprise, you came to know that she is started to be flowering, with immense pleasure and enjoyment, with your past spotting records of the birds visited the tree, you discovered that a new visitor bird was perching nearer to bunch of flowers in the tree. Excited by this, you will be sending the SMS about this fascinating event to envirocloud and posting a status comment in her social-networking site. By then the five minute is up and your trip vehicle is at your door step.


Nishadh.K.A. and Azeez.P.A.

Environmental Impact Assessment Division, Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore, India.

N.K.A conceptualized the envirocloud idea and written the proposal, A.P.A named envirocloud and took part in brainstorming of the proposal.


1.   Norris, F.H., S.P. Stevens, B. Pfefferbaum, K.F. Wyche, and R.L. Pfefferbaum. “Community resilience as a metaphor, theory, set of capacities, and strategy for disaster readiness.” American Journal of Community Psychology 41, no. 1 (2008): 127–150.

2.   Heinberg, R., and D. Lerch. The Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Century’s Sustainability Crises. University of California Press, 2010.

3.   Walker, B.H., and D.A. Salt. Resilience thinking: sustaining ecosystems and people in a changing world. Island Pr, 2006.

4.   Berkes, F., J. Colding, and C. Folke. Navigating social-ecological systems: building resilience for complexity and change. Cambridge Univ Pr, 2003.

5.   Meinke, H., R. Nelson, P. Kokic, R. Stone, R. Selvaraju, and W. Baethgen. “Actionable climate knowledge: from analysis to synthesis.” Climate Research 33, no. 1 (2006): 101.

6.   O. Okolloh, “Ushahidi, or’testimony’: Web 2.0 tools for crowdsourcing crisis information,” Participatory Learning and Action 59, no. 1 (2009): 65–70.

 Word cloud of envirocloud