Palmyra – nature’s perennial gift in the face of climate crisis

Palmyra thrives in arid conditions and is grown extensively in Tamil Nadu. The roots store water, its leaves are made into brooms and also used for thatching. The succulent juice of the fruits is rejuvenating. Native birds roost in its branches. Palmyra is organically healthy as against the toxicity emanated from the processing of sugarcane. P. Veilmuthu decries the decimation of the trees by real estate developers. The Channar community had nurtured the Palmyra for generations. Their livelihoods are now at risk.

Vanishing coasts

The Coromandel Sea Coast with its mangrove trees and indigenous species has stood the test of time against severe cyclones. Arun Kumar graphically portrays the inroads made by commercial enterprises and the current devastating effect of hurricanes. Harbours have disrupted the littoral movement of the sands. Oliver Ridley Turtles that came ashore in large numbers to lay its eggs have reduced considerably. Salinity has penetrated the wetlands destroying livelihoods. 

Bottled Bomb

Nakeeran exposes, the charade behind the claims of Safe Drinking by the 600 million dollar bottled water business conglomerates. Clean drinking water is guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. However they exhaust the ground water, and for ensuring purity uses reverse osmosis and Ultra violet penetration. Toxic Methyl Parathion is generated and beneficial bacteria is destroyed in this process. The reality is that 708 million in the world remain without safe drinking water. 

Magazine: Campaign for Climate Justice 2013-14

This release is a compilation of articles written and published by fourteen freelance writers from the three South Indian states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala for the campaign on climate justice during the programme year 2013-14.

It is hoped that the efforts of these fourteen freelance writers, when read in the Indian languages media and by a global readership on the web, will further escalate the awareness among the readers, their communities and policy makers who will inspire local, national and international identification with what is at stake. On the national platform, it is hoped that these articles strengthen and lend teeth to environmental movements underway in the country and enhance awareness on the implications of climate change in India and validate the reports by commissions and committees. Available languages: English, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam

Environmental hazards of electronic waste

Kirubakaran makes a passionate plea for the proper disposal of e-waste. The Vellaru land fill in Coimbatore is a dump yard for more than 10 million tons of wastes out of which 2 and half tons is composed of electronic wastes. Old computer disks, mobiles, television sets and circuit boards fill this area. The heavy metals like lead and barium contaminate the ground water. On one occasion a fire broke out and the noxious fumes travelled several kilometres and disrupted the operations in the nearby Airport. This in spite of the fact, that cess is levied at the time of purchase for disposal of its outdated components. Regrettably plans are afoot to export the hazardous wastes. [Photo: The Vellalur dump yard or landfill is the main point for garbage dumping in Coimbatore]

Climate change and fisheries

It has been proven that the sea surface temperature has increased, the wind patterns have changed and that the biota of the estuaries have been impacted by the reduction in the flow of fresh water. Mechanized fishing have decimated most of the marine species. Industrial and tourism development have turned the sea coasts into a dumping ground for industrial wastes and garbage. Sumana Narayanan affirms that all these have impacted the viability of fishing operations and the capacity of the fisher folk to adapt. [Photo: Arun Kumar P.] 

Wayanad: A case of Kerala’s environmental degradation   

Paddy the main sustainable crop in Wayanad, a lush forested region situated in the North Eastern part of Kerala at a height of 700-2100 meters above sea level, is being replaced by cash crops like banana and areca nut. Rules are flouted with impunity and illegal construction takes place regularly. Unbridled tourism with its resorts and adventure sports are leading to deforestation and climate change. Mining and stone crushers have denuded the hills and polluted the environment. Jisha A. S. is convinced of the need for grassroots opposition to the current practices. 

Attapadi under threat from climate change

Three tribal groups, the Mudugar, Kurumbar and Irular who lived in the forests of Attapadi Palghat have been displaced from their natural habitat and relocated to dry waste lands and coaxed to adjust to main stream life styles. The Tribals fear that the soil, they nurtured for generations is now disintegrating under their feet. Krishnavanam, a lush green forest of 130 acres, is a beacon of hope in their midst. Writes Naseera.

Mangrove (tidal) forests and thermal power stations

Mangrove forests known as “khandal“ in ancient Sangam Tamil Literature were the vanguards on the sea coast. They withstood cyclones, strong winds and held the estuaries firmly in its place. It is the breeding ground for many of the fish species. Its enriched humus is the cradle for the propagation of plankton positioning it as the first rung in the variegated food chain. Nakeeran in this well researched article affirms that effluents from thermal and desalination plants are destroying the mangrove forests and in a matter of time the fish from the seas would be a memory of the past.