Hyun – Digest for Dec 2021


(Garhwali: Hyun; Snow)

A huge shout out to the Waste Warriors and Linger teams for this digest’s title. There are dozens of words for snow and snowflakes: Qanik (snow falling; Inuit/Yupik), nysnö (new snow; Norwegian), feefle (snow swirling around a corner; Scots), snjómugga (a small snowfall; Icelandic), kramsnö (snow that can be easily shaped into snowballs; Swedish)…. the sheer diversity of words for this winter phenomenon is bewildering. As is the fact that close to 80% of the world’s fresh water comes from snow and ice!

Snowflakes are nothing but a collection of ice crystals, and the person to whom we owe this knowledge was an American farmer!

Wilson ‘Snowflake’ Bentley
invented the technique of microphotography of snowflakes, and became the first person to photograph a single snow crystal in January 1885. Throughout his life (1865-1931), Bentley took thousands of
snowflake photographs
, some of which form part of his collection (including this letter offering the photos) at the Smithsonian Institution Archive.

In keeping with the season, the Rainmatter team slipped into semi-hibernation mode. We tied-up a few ongoing threads, caught up with some of the first grantees, ceased new conversations, paused funding and retreated to comfortable caves to recoup our energies. And yes, we requested Glific and Reap Benefit to demonstrate the WhatsApp tool that can be used for data collection, helplines and chatbot. In case you missed attending, view the
Glific demo here. (Thanks Akshay, Abhishek, Gautam & Divya).

From the community

Farmers For Forests has had an eventful year. The team collaborated with Mitti Collective (farmer survey on regenerative agriculture practices) and are in-talks with Tech for Wildlife (mangrove restoration) and the Maharashtra State Rural Livelihoods Mission (to market and sell value-added forest produce in Gadchiroli). Co-founders Krutika Ravishankar and Arti Dhar received the Mary E. Woolley Fellowship from their alma mater, Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, United States of America. They plan to channel the funding towards FFF’s Gadchiroli Project i.e. 10,000-hectare reforestation and deforestation prevention project on community forest land. Given a lot of forestland comes under government ownership, the team would love to be an on-ground implementation partner for governmental efforts to meet the country’s Nationally Determined Contributions.

Zerocircle Alternatives was announced as one of the three winners in the start-up category of the India Plastic Challenge 2021, a Union government platform to showcase solutions aimed at reducing Single Use Plastics (SUPs), leading towards a circular economy. Zerocircle is pioneering the use of seaweed as a biodegradable packaging material.

Centre for Wildlife Studies wants to implement conservation and research efforts across the entire Western Ghats in 69 Protected Areas. To this end, the team extended their on-ground efforts to three new Western Ghats range states, with programs now in Goa, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Despite losing several Indian CSR donors owing to the pandemic, CWS was able to launch the Adopt-a-PHC program (delivery of medical aid and supplies to primary health centres in rural Western Ghats) in May 2021; the team completed deliveries to over 600 PHCs in Goa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu by December 2021.


Blue Sky Analytics has been on a hiring and building spree this pandemic year. It launched Zuri (datasets on greenhouse gas emissions from biomass fires across the world) and SpaceTime (multi-dataset mapper that visualises datasets in a spatial and temporal context). Blue Sky Analytics is now a 20+ team, and is looking to add more talent.

(Bumper) Noticeboard

📌 Mongabay has an explainer video for the worrisome changes proposed in the Biodiversity Act Amendment Bill. Do send your observations and remarks to Jairam Ramesh, former Union minister and now a member of the Parliament’s Select Committee examining feedback and comments: [email protected]

📌 Current Conservation magazine has a gorgeous special issue on conservation in Africa. This was published ahead of the 30th International Congress for Conservation Biology, which was scheduled to meet in Kigali, Rwanda but instead met virtually in December.

📌 Citizen Matters published a handy FAQ for how to set up a community EV charging station.

📌 Saathi Re is an online database of over 56,000 social impact organisations in India. This is a valuable crowd-sourced initiative, and the team organises and analyses data from social enterprises, NGOs, Section 8 companies and even informal social impact groups. Go explore – no login required! Muchas gracias and bumper karma points to Bindi and Pramit of CSIP, Ashoka University, for alerting us to this.

📌 ATREE-CSEI is seeking to recruit a senior research associate (Green Cities initiative) and a project manager (REAL-Water project). Details on their website.

📌 Mongabay is inviting diverse and talented folks to join their newsroom. Check this for information on the positions, including for reporting, graphics, video production and more.

📌 Samanvay Foundation’s open-source AVNI platform can be used for diverse kinds of use-cases, including surveys, data collection, monitoring and updates and offline stock management. Check out their webinar series or schedule a demo.

📌 Down To Earth has an in-depth report on a zoonosis that is imperiling the lives of tea garden workers in Assam.

📌 NCF’s Hornbill Nest Adoption Program was featured on the NatGeo series, On The Brink. It captures the roles and emotions of the nest protectors and the excitement of the annual hornbill breeding season. Watch it here.

📌 iThink Biology is a supplement to textbooks for students (and aren’t we all learners in the school of life) to study biology through an interdisciplinary lens with examples from the Indian context. This is a labour of love by the folks at Azim Premji University.

Parting Shot

A treat for trivia junkies: The visualisation and research wizards at Information is Beautiful “roved the data web for something positive, progressive or awesome for every single country*. The first to do something beautiful. The most excellent. Or just the world leader for something “nice!”. Guess which country has the most scrabble players and which nation has very good cashews!

Until next time, may your roads be auspicious
śubhāste panthānaḥ santu
Team Rainmatter Foundation

Cover photo: Sven Piek on Unsplash

This entry was posted in Featured, General on by .

About Marisha

Resident listener at the Rainmatter Foundation. A large part of her role is to listen... not just to the people and entities Rainmatter engages with, but also to the message that the planet has been sending: we have to be sustainable, not extractive.

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