Vasai – room to move

On the north-east edge of Mumbai, where the seven islands underlying the city merge with the rest of the state of Maharashtra, St Augustine’s High School, Vasai Road, finds itself with room to move. With spacious grounds and some tall trees already established, it stands in marked contrast to the crowded site at Dadar, the Brothers’ other school in Mumbai.

World population, the statisticians say, will grow by another 50% (to, say, 9 billion) by 2050, and then slowly decline. Urgent questions of food, energy and waste production circle these seemingly simple statistics, as well as the rights of Earth, its ecosystems and species. The students enrolling at Vasai now will influence the course of these events, for better or for worse.

Poised to expand both its buildings and school population, the St Augustine’s site raises the question that is so acute for all of us – the way forward. Can we do more, and do it better? The old ecosystems underlying Mumbai (mangroves and wetlands) may have much to teach us here.

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