SAY “NO” TO PLASTIC

 

Why should we say “No” to plastics?

Say No to Plastic because it takes 1000 years to decompose into smaller pieces, which seep down into the soil and release chemicals, which eventually reach the water supply. Manufacturing of plastic bags is harmful to the environment because non-renewable resources are used (petroleum and natural gas).

Here are some simple slogans to say (NO TO  PLASTIC) in any way:-

1) Plastics give a helpful hand, but they are polluting our land!

2) If you are ‘Fantastic’ then do something ‘Drastic’ to cut the ‘Plastic’

3) Go Green, Plastic is Obscene!

4) Handle with care, plastic is everywhere

5) Don’t be drastic; Say “NO” to plastic.

6) Stop bagging the planet – say NO to plastic bags.

7) No plastic is fantastic.

8) 4R’s:- REDUCE, REFUSE, REUSE, RECYCLE PLASTIC BAGS

9) Do not laminate our mother earth!

10) Do something drastic, cut the plastic!

Ms. Neelima  //  French Faculty // Samsara School

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Educate Children to Save Environment

Children are our future. This future can be bold and beautiful or dark and dreary. We can nurture a generation of environmental leaders who love and respond well to the environment by making choices to live, work and play in a way that respects our natural spaces.

We can follow simple tips to teach environmental lesson to the children. Always encourage children to use appropriate receptacle for their waste: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle as much as they can. Little things like packing a Waste-free lunch, get a favourite character reusable lunch bag, close the faucet while brushing and bathing, switch off the light when you are out of the room can make a powerful lesson for the children.

Use stickers as reward for the kids if they follow little steps to save environment. The same way you teach kids to respect others, you can teach them to respect nature. You can teach little ones about environment conservation and consequences of destroying the environment in play way manner.

Remember kids learn by playing!

Kirti Khanna // Samsara School

Reading

It is said, “Reading is to mind what exercise is to the body”. Hence it’s very important to develop reading skills in a child. There is no age factor as one can start reading to a new born too. The baby might not understand the words but will surely develop listening skills gradually. And no matter what your baby’s age is; reading together is a great opportunity for bonding. So here are a few tips to build up on the reading skills…

  1. Choose a topic of interest to your child or rather make him choose, it can be cars, jungle animals or their favorite cartoon character. Just ensure you provide them with plenty of options- pleasure and information both.
  2. Set a reading routine. Make it a very special time where you read together his favorite books. Let your child know that you love reading too!
  3. Have a “Reading Treat” later. For example after reading Goldilocks and three bears go for a “Porridge treat” or a “Visual treat” by letting them watch it on ipad/mobile. Let them see what they read. This will make reading more enjoyable for them.
  4. Encourage  writing and then reading out. Give them full support in finding out new words. For example whenever I am cooking and my kid wants to talk to me I tell him to write on a piece of paper whatever he wants to say and then later I ask him to read it out to me.
  5. Combine reading with another activity like learning how to make a craft work by reading the instructions. Or ask them to read to their younger sibling.
  6. Encourage your child when they pretend to read. They might just make sounds to imitate the act, don’t try to correct them.
  7. Don’t push or get annoyed. If your child is not showing interest don’t force him instead talk to him for a while until you understand why he is not paying attention to the book. Remember focus is on the pleasure part and not on learning ability.

Have a happy reading and remember -“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” — Emilie Buchwald

Hina Hussain // English Educator // Samsara School

Channelize Anger in a Positive Way

 

With the clock ticking fast the only way to make a mark in this world is through positive aggression. The population is increasing by leaps and bounds. Competition is getting tougher too. The only way to survive in this scenario is to ensure that you focus on your positive energy.

Aggression can make us destructive and even mean. Some of us have worse tempers than others, but in any case, if anger is not managed properly, it can become a huge problem. Some of the ways to channelize anger are: People may go to watch Shows and Rock or other performances to use it as a positive way to vent out their aggression in a supportive space.Getting your aggression out physically through running or some other kind of exercise or workout is very effective.Music and art are great outlets for expressing and ridding yourself of harbored negative emotions. Go for it. Meditation and thinking about the consequences of aggression also helps.

It’s important to teach the art of self-control. Children need to be taught not to kick or hit

whenever they feel like it. It is here that child needs parent’s guidance to develop the ability to keep his feelings under control and think about his/her actions before acting on impulse.The best way to control anger is to count from 1 to 10.And it actually works.

 

“Never respond to an angry person with a fiery comeback, even if he deserves it….Don’t allow his anger to become your anger.”

 

Sarita Saklani / Science Educator / Samsara School

The Failures of ‘Too Big to Fail’

The phrase “Too Big to Fail” first found its way into common financial lingo at the time of the 2008 financial crisis. Initially, the term referred to all those corporations that required the support of the government because their sheer size meant that if they collapsed the impact on the economy would be disastrous. Now, used as a throwaway term to describe any financial institution that imposes its obnoxious presence on the economy, it highlights a systemic flaw in the way we view large banks. Over the years, big banks have leveraged this status in order to get away with some of the most nauseating crimes in white collar history.

 

The British banking behemoth, HSBC (Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation) has become the poster child of white-collar crime after it laundered approximately $900 million for Mexican drug cartels and processed transactions for many countries facing US sanctions including Sudan, Iran and Cuba. The “World’s Local Bank” came to be known as the official banking destination for drug lords and terrorists alike. According to a 2018 Congressional Research Service report, since 2006 about 1,50,000 homicides in Mexico were related to organised crime. Every dollar laundered by HSBC was instrumental in claiming the lives of innocent people in Mexico. In every essence, HSBC was funding murder.

 

HSBC had for long been looking to expand its operations in Mexico and hence they merged with Banco Bital, a bank with considerable Mexican presence especially in drug production areas like Sinaloa. HSBC made a conscious decision to overlook a multitude of suspicious transactions and the dodgy banking culture of Banco Bital. The result was the inflow of thousands of dollars of questionable money into the legal banking system.

 

In 2010, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) of the United States issued a 31-page order mandating several changes in HSBC’s banking procedure. The document painted a condemning image of a bank unable and unwilling to police itself and its clients. In order to save face and prevent intervention from the authorities, HSBC hired a bunch of people whom they called ‘Anti Money Laundering Compliance Officers’. However, these measures were as phoney as the legality of their transactions. In actuality, HSBC hired this herd of employees to basically sit at cubicles and clear the large backlog of alerts that the system would generate each time a rule was broken.

 

Investigations by the US Senate began once authorities got wind of the shameless negligence with which HSBC was conducting business despite prior warnings. Internal documents that emerged during these investigations revealed that several high ranking HSBC executives knew exactly what was going on. If there was a case in which you could indict a bank for money laundering then this was it. However, to the surprise of many, a deal was worked out. Under this settlement, HSBC and HSBC Bank USA were granted a deferred prosecution agreement and were required to pay a fine of $2 billion dollars. Under such deals, the government agrees to defer or forgo prosecution if the organization agrees to change its behaviour. This leads us to ask that if the Sinaloa Cartel had promised to change its behaviour, would the American Government have granted it a deferred prosecution agreement also?

 

On paper, the fine seems a mammoth amount however it accounts for not more than 5 weeks of profit for HSBC, an institution that by its own admission was the preferred banking destination for drug cartels. This supposedly huge fine was a matter of speeding ticket for them. Ultimately, no arrests were made despite decades of dealings with drug lords and terrorists. To add to that in a statement released by HSBC as a part of their deferred prosecution agreement, it admitted to the fact that HSBC group knowingly and willfully engaged in conduct and practices outside the USA which caused HSBC bank and other financial institutions in the United States to process payments in violation of US sanctions. Even the admission of guilt did not prove to be a reason enough for US Justice Department to take an action upon HSBC.

 

The case had adequate charges and commensurate evidences to indict HSBC but with  2008 financial crisis still fresh in the minds of Americans, Justice Department didn’t want to take the risk of potentially causing an economic calamity by indicting a bank that was too big to fail. CBS News called ‘It a case that had everything, everything except an arrest’

 

In the same year as HSBC avoided indictment, over 90,000 individuals were sentenced to imprisonment on account of drug offences in the USA while on the other hand, in 2017 the US Justice Department announced its plans to dismiss all charges against HSBC. In America, the chances of going to jail if you’re caught with an ounce of cocaine are extremely high but apparently if you launder billions of dollars of drug money you’re let off scot-free. HSBC is just one of the many examples that show the damage that can be inflicted by allowing an institution to become so large to the point that prosecuting even the individuals in them is not an option.

 

This pattern, however, had emerged long before HSBC started laundering money. At the cusp of the 2008 Financial Crisis banks offered, as investments, what they called Collateralized Debt Obligations. Banks would bundle debt such as auto loans or mortgages in a security which was essentially a package of pooled assets. Value of these CDOs would be derived from the promised repayment of these loans i.e, debt obligations hence making them collateralized. During the housing boom, CDOs were sold like hotcakes in the financial markets as mortgages were generally exposed to a very low risk of default. These financial tools created an insatiable demand for mortgages. However, the fact of the matter was that there were only so many potential homeowners with good credit. Fueled by greed, banks now started to give out high risk loans to borrowers with bad credit scores, also called subprime lending. Subprime lending was accompanied by the fact that traditional insurance companies also started insuring these securities. This meant that a lot of people were betting money on the ability of risky borrowers to pay back their large loans.  With falling real estate prices, defaulting owners had no incentive to pay off dues for their houses that they could no longer sell. When the inevitable financial crisis happened and people started defaulting on their loans the value of these CDOs dropped drastically. The insurance companies that had insured these derivatives did not have the cash flow to back their commitments. Banks went into a frenzy when they learnt that they would have to absorb the losses. Share prices dropped faster than ever before. Wall Street was left in shambles.

 

Often the financial jargon of the Great Recession distracts us from the primary cause of the economic collapse – greed. The corporate greed of large banks and their executives who had no sense of accountability and chased profits blindly is what led to the loss of 5.5 million American jobs, $3.4 trillion in real estate wealth from July 2008 to March 2009 and $7.4 trillion dollars in stock wealth in the same period. With the exception of the Lehman Brothers, almost all other banks received a hefty bailout package which cost every US household $2050 on average. While we agree that the failure of such large institutions would’ve prolonged the crisis, the fact that only one Wall Street executive was prosecuted is in our opinion, deplorable.

 

In the wake of the Financial Crisis, it seems not a week has gone by without a global bank being fined for unethical behaviour. By the end of 2016, the costs associated with these fine settlements for some sixteen large banks amounted to more than $320 billion. At first glance, one would think that big banks are finally beginning to pay for their crimes. However, these deals are very carefully structured in order to ensure minimum hindrance to the bank’s operations due to their systemic importance. For these banks, no fine is large enough and in essence they have been granted immunity from (and by) the justice system. It is a possibility that if these banks weren’t sheltered by the American government they would’ve been a lot more careful about who they were lending to thereby circumventing the crisis altogether.

 

At present, the RBI has included three Indian banks including SBI, HDFC and scandal-ridden ICICI Bank on its “too big to fail” list. These Systemically Important Banks or SIBs are subject to stricter norms and requirements as mandated by the RBI. Despite ICICI having been given the status of a domestic systemically important bank, the CBI and SEBI had launched enquiries into the involvement of Chanda Kochhar, former Managing Director and CEO of ICICI bank in a nepotism scandal. In June of 2018, Kochhar went on a “planned leave” and further stepped down from her post. This just goes to show that no matter how important a bank might be to a country’s financial system it is never too large to be held accountable. Nevertheless, Kochhar’s exit came at a time when tensions were already building in the Indian banking sector due to a torrent of consecutive banking scams.

 

In the aftermath of the PNB-Nirav Modi scam, the government infused in the bank approximately 20 billion rupees to keep it from failing. PNB might not be on RBI’s “too big to fail” list nevertheless its irresponsible behaviour has been subsidized by the government. By protecting these lenders from market discipline we are incentivising risky and in some cases illegal behaviour. By setting this precedent, the government has made risky behaviour the new rational behaviour and now banks have all the reason to lend recklessly and chase profits blindly. If this pattern persists then these banks will continue to divert money away more deserving industries which in turn will have chronic effects on the economy.

 

Failure is indeed necessary in a free market and financial sector should be no exception to this principle. When an institution fails a more successful firm can purchase the former’s good assets thereby releasing them from the clutches of incompetent management and thereby increasing market efficiency. What we suggest is a two-pronged strategy to re-establish credibility in the financial sector.

 

Let banks fear the possibility of failure and their executives the possibility of jail time. Another alternative to the “too big to fail” doctrine could be to break up large banks into smaller entities as soon as their impact on the national economy reaches gargantuan levels. Apart from these strategies, we also believe that bringing back the provision of a bail-in instead of a bail-out could provide a partial solution, despite it being a controversial idea at the time of its introduction. If depositors believe that their money could be at risk they will choose to lend to those banks that make sustainable decisions. Merely fining banks will only deplete the entity’s capital and reduce its margins temporarily. It will not change the culture of exploitation that rings within an organisation which has become too big to fail and as a result too big to jail.

  Shreya Roy /      Sri Ram College of Commerce                                                                           Manan Surana /   Sri Ram College of Commerce

                                                

                                                      

                                                                             

Problem Solving Skill – a powerful tool for science education

For a decade now, our team of educators have been bracing for the radical shifts in pedagogical methods, assessments and ‘out-of-the-box’ ways to exposure, alongside the routine academics. We all, endeavour to adopt the best classroom techniques when it comes to imparting lessons and buckle up the curriculums. Most of the time, we do attain the aim of passing knowledge to the futurists; but today I am specifically referring to the path makers of nature, universe and technology – our science students.

Having said that, do we really let curiosities, scientific attitudes and thinking skills form the first foundation brick of our children?! Worth a (many) thought(s)…

Making the students go by the ‘problem solving method’ is the best way to develop their scientific attitude. One of such implementations in Samsara’s chemistry lab, dawned onto me that students would grown up to be self-reliant only if we allow them to find solutions of the problems they face and learn to shoulder the responsibility.

We know, but often fail to work the simplest ways to reach our goals of learning. How good it would be if we bring into focus the need of hands-on activities, experimentation and the like. Equipping students with the magnificent tool of ‘Problem Solving’ is THE way to empower them in finding their own way.

Yes!! Let me tell you more about it.
Once, two of my students ran into a blank-wall during a practical exam, with some salt stuck in their funnel. Like a practice they approached me for helping them out; I rather decided to go offbeat, and very diplomatically asked them to sort it out themselves; allowing them to use the available reagents in the lab. I didn’t disappear from the scene totally but kept close watch on them. They both went about using a needle to trying to dissolve the salt with water; while the success was made with their last attempt of trying an acid, making the salt and anxieties melt down simultaneously.

The Big Bang revelation for them took place in a simple school lab; and happiness on their faces stamped their first self-earned win.

When questioned about the whole process their words inferred the properties of salt but to me my students now knew- ‘nothing is impossible and failure is just the first step in the path of success’. It reminds me of the wisest words ever said for any scientific research, “If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?!” by Albert Einstein.

Sweta Singh | Ex-Science Educator | Samsara School

Edited by: Namrata Gupta | Blogger | Samsara School

Go Places With Spirituality

We are bound by our human conditions so much so that we make ourselves believe nothing can be done, even before the good fight starts.

Yes, ‘The Good Fight’ which is not even close to running away from this world or the demons that work in your mind, rather make friends with them; just never get dictated by them.

To fight the bad, we need to know it first. The subtlety can be understood when we prepare to embrace ourselves wholly and spiritually. ‘Sometimes’ would not be apt to say as we are most often in such critical situations that every possible path is diluted as a deadlock, and we keep on looking for more and more options (read external patch up solutions). 

As I said, we are accustomed to silent our inner voice and choices and think-say aloud our dependence on the things and people of this world, which ironically are not capacitated enough instead, bound by the material world conditionings. 

We only have to look inside for everything that we want to know. But there’s a process.

Like all our learnings and knowledge have come through books, educators and our real life experiences, so is the need in life for a mentor, guide, master; the one who can take you higher on a spiritual platform, a raised altitude from material notions and concepts.

BELIEF – in the existence of oneself, one’s soul – is your only Qualification.

I was fortunate enough to get the guidance from my mentor- instating and reinstating my Faith and Hope in life. In this fortunate wheel of life, the vicissitudes that come along are more often than not leave us scarred and in solitude. And the one that gives us the qualm of a lifetime is the fear of losing our loved ones. When this unrecoverable loss hit me; it blew off my world; not at once though, one after the other.

The ordeal began with the tragic demise of my mother, and whilst I trudged through the phase, a few years later, it was my father’s turn to leave behind the family name to his children. Death wanted more and fed on one of my brothers. It didn’t stop here, yet again I was bared with one more human loss, the untimely death of my second brother, which still haunts me a lot. Being the youngest in my family my eyes saw many deathbeds questioning the whole universe round-the-clock – “why did this happen with me??”.

Bringing me to light were the words from my mentor –

“Although to us someone’s death may be difficult to understand and accept, from the deceased standpoint one’s death is part of their eternal life. Ultimately everything comes down to our faith. If we wish to live a life that is free of fear, doubt of anxiety it is essential that we understand two vital aspects of life. (1) The dignity of life (2) The eternity of life.”

So, with this answer I am continuing my journey through faith, practice, study and always remind myself what my Mentor says – Suffer what there is to suffer; enjoy what there is to enjoy. But never be defeated in any situation. Gradually, like the light emerges through darkness, my journey of peace emerged through the land of fear, doubt and anxiety. Of late, I lost one of my uncles (my father’s real brother) but this time I faced the situation more courageously and calmly.

I don’t know if my story can inspire anyone or even if it’s meant to, but if I succeed in changing one life by making it perceive a higher platform that every human being is entitled to, my purpose of life would agree with me. Never let yourself forget that happiness and all the magical secrets lie within us only. All we need is to believe in ourselves and discover them with an optimistic approach which will surely saturate our personality with ray of hope, zeal, courage and motivation to face life at any troublesome circumstance with smile and calmness. I will round off  with- ‘No matter what happens, the important thing is to continue with your faith. If you do so you will definitely become happy, or atleast be satisfied with your decisions. Even if things don’t get solved the way you’d initially hoped or imagined, when you’ll look back after the moment has passed, you will understand on a more profound level how it was meant to be, in your best interest and subtlety in the language of universe’.

Embrace your power to heal, fight the odds and live life !!

Reema Sharma | Educator | Samsara School

Edited by: Namrata Gupta | Blogger | Samsara School