Anupam Mishra is an author, environmentalist and water conservationist. In this video from TED India 2009, he talks about the centuries-old water collection and storage techniques used in India’s Golden Desert, the lowest-rainfall area in the country.
When I first watched this video I was in the process of deciding whether I wanted to pursue civil engineering or mechanical. This was one of the influences that tipped me towards the former. At one point, Anupam Mishra talks about a government project to bring water to the Golden Desert from the Himalayas thousands of miles away, and mentions that many of those canals are now covered in lotuses or sand. The systems that were locally designed and built, on the other hand, are still in use hundreds of years later.
I like the idea that a core part of my career could be asking not just, “Will this work?” but, “Will this work here, in the long term?”
I like the idea of being involved in something that could, with some maintenance, be used hundreds of years later.
And I really like locally effective solutions that capitalize on their surroundings rather than just trying to impose the same thing everywhere.