Ted Mathys (India)

Ted Mathys

Ted Mathys (Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group): Ted earned a Bachelor’s degree in international relations from Carleton College. His research focused on the social dynamics of achieving environmental sustainability in the context of globalization. At the time of his fellowship, Ted was pursuing a degree in international environmental policy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. After his fellowship, Ted wrote: “I learned to undertake rigorous research in difficult conditions. More than this, I was challenged to think about poverty and (the) environment in much more complex ways.”

04 Aug

Operation Bamboo

Delhi is throwing a party. In autumn 2010 the city will play host to the Commonwealth Games, a sort of mini-Olympics for the United Kingdom, its overseas territories, and all of the postcolonial states that share the dubious distinction of having once been under the Queen’s proper fist. From badminton to boxing, pistol shooting to […]

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Posted Aug 04, 2009

17 Jul

Chintan Recycling Center Vlog

As my research on climate and wastepickers progresses, I’ve been working with Chintan to identify several areas in Delhi that might serve as case studies of local recycling efforts and their relationship to emissions reductions. The volume and composition of waste recycled by wastepickers in a specific geographical area is probably the most crucial bit […]

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Posted Jul 17, 2009

09 Jul

Follow the Cornflakes

In the last week I discovered how wastepickers in Delhi are unwittingly converting my breakfast into lucrative carbon credits without receiving a cent of the profits. Every morning before heading off to the Chintan office I eat a bowl of cornflakes with a banana. It’s both the minor indulgence of a Midwestern American guy living […]

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Posted Jul 09, 2009

03 Jul

Wastepickers and Climate Change in 20 Steps

I’ve been asked by several readers about the connection between wastepickers and climate change, since that’s the focus of the policy research I’m undertaking for Chintan this summer. In an effort to respond to these questions with pith and punch, below is a quick primer on municipal solid waste, greenhouse gases, and informal recycling in […]

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Posted Jul 03, 2009

26 Jun

The Young Corridor

In India, education is a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution. This strikes me as a worthy inclusion, one that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Declarations and constitutions are often bloated with concepts like “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” whose scope and interpretation remain nebulous. Happiness, it turns out, was synonymous with “property,” […]

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Posted Jun 26, 2009

18 Jun

Seven Social Sins

The new one rupee coin is arguably the hippest coin ever minted. The front is smooth and spare, depicting the number one; the word RUPEE in English and Hindi; and a hand entering the frame from the right, giving the thumbs-up sign. The two rupee coin is equally stylish, but here the hand flashes us […]

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Posted Jun 18, 2009

11 Jun

And Kites Flew Over the Trash

Recently I hopped on the back of a motorcycle and rode through the arcade video game that is Delhi’s highway system, across the Yamuna River to the outskirts of the city. Each week Chintan hosts community meetings with wastepickers in various locales, and this week’s meeting took place in the gritty borough of Bhopura. Most […]

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Posted Jun 11, 2009

04 Jun

Recyclable by Bicycle

My first morning in Delhi, demolished by jet lag and seeking refuge from the heat, I wandered out of my austere apartment, rounded the corner, and promptly saw a motorized rickshaw get in a wreck. Instantly a dozen people swooped in to lift it back up onto its wheels, check to make sure that the […]

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Posted Jun 04, 2009

10 May

Gearing up for India

Out the window to my right a patch of fog is nestled in a verdant West Virginia valley, a perfect postcard cliché. The highway snakes back and forth through wildflowers and Freightliners. I’ve formally abdicated my role as driver, and now Rachel is barreling us toward Washington, DC, where tomorrow I will meet the other […]

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Posted May 10, 2009





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