Silting of river bodies and destruction of tree cover have all played a part in driving the Kadar indigenous community in Kerala to near extinction. Ranjith Kavumkara in a passionate comment outlines the causes that have obliterated their traditional vocations as Honey Gatherers and Fishermen.
Agriculture practices that stood the test of time are embedded in our culture. The dawn of Independence with the heydays of the Nehruvian era in the 1950s had instilled in us the vision of accelerated growth and a self-reliant economy that is secure in its food requirement.
Implications of the rampant use of chemical fertilizers and overturning of traditional methods of cultivation were not taken into account when policies were framed. The resultant spin off in terms of river bodies drying up, unplanned felling of trees, erratic rainfall patterns have all taken a huge toll on the livelihoods of farmers who for generations lived in harmony with the natural rhythms. In desperation to stem the tide, bore wells that had been dug mindlessly have sunk water tables and polluted our supply chain.
The author M.N. Kulkarni is making a plea to revisit our inherited wisdom, to align plans for growth that are in sync with our gifted legacy. Picture above: A dried up Kalyani, a traditional water source, in Nidigal, a village in Belgaum district, Karnataka.
A passionate plea from the heart of Poornaprajna Belur to revert to time honoured farming practices that for generations preserved medicinal plants, wild fruits and vegetables. At times when allopathic drugs were not easily accessible, this repository of ancient wisdom healed wounds, cured stomach ailments and promoted wholesome lifestyles. Poornaprajna is disheartened that along with medicines and food, tradition, culture and vocabulary linked to them are disappearing. His vision is for rejuvenating our legacy of healthy life styles that have for centuries stood the test of time.
The puncturing of the ozone layer, rampant deforestation, developmental projects, drying up of river bodies, and pollution of the atmosphere are destroying the capacity of human kind to survive on this planet. Motorized vehicles guzzling petrol and diesel emit volumes of carbon dioxide into the air. They have no foliage sinks to absorb the noxious fumes. Renuga Kasi goes on to emphasize that even refrigerators and air conditioners spewing fluorocarbons into the environment stifle our ability to survive. She goes on to say that of the nine planets in the solar system, only earth has the capacity to sustain life. It is incumbent on us to reverse this trend of deceleration; recapture our equilibrium which is being lost due to the destructive actions of mankind.
The developed nations of USA and Europe have discreetly offloaded their supply chain manufacturing processes to developing countries like India. The finished products include Textiles, Leather and consumables like Bread and Burgers. Nakeeran, in a forceful essay, documents the depletion of water resources that is driving the exporting countries to starvation and collapse. Surface river bodies are polluted and ground water reserves are fast diminishing to near famine conditions. He makes a plea to put an end to virtual water trade by steering to local economic activity, reducing time, distance and becoming self-sufficient within a Geographical zone.
Until about forty years ago, innumerable varieties of millets were grown extensively in Antharsathe, a town in HD Kote taluk. Market forces, says Siddhartha, have now determined the cultivation of cash crops like Bt cotton and sugarcane. They are supplanting traditional farming practices, which had a repository of knowledge concerning soil regeneration, fertility, storing and exchange of seeds.
The public distribution system is now the institutionalized storage facility for wheat and rice. The seeds the government distributes for millets are considered by many farmers to be suspect.
In the context of climate change, thousands of farmers are bucking the trend and reverting to organic farming and cultivation of crops that are more in sync with local conditions.
Luois Figaredo has documented that the tribal people of Wayanad have honed practices to cope with extreme conditions imposed by climate change.
Imposing solutions from mainstream society to help the tribals cope with the unpredictable changes in climate would be ridiculous as they are already very attuned to the vagaries of the environment.
The concept of Swadeshi, as stated by Gandhi, is that self-sufficiency in food at the local and regional levels can ensure food sovereignty.
Siddhartha explains that the cultivation of millets, practicing mixed cropping and making use of the public distribution system’s warehouses can consolidate sustainability. Furthermore, trading of surpluses between villages and towns can enhance the economic viability of the rural community. Efforts to improve livelihoods by utilizing compost and traditional crops would also ensure stability.
Zulfiquar Shah has forecast that South Asia, with its shared natural resources, would be most affected with the onset of accelerating climate change. Himalayan glaciers would melt, floods and dry spells would be common, and those living in the coastal regions would be particularly vulnerable as sea levels rise and islands submerge. There would be mass migrations and pressure on the infrastructure in towns and cities. The environment is no respecter of boundaries, so the emphasis of the article is to call for a regional meeting of concerned scientists and policymakers of the affected regions to work out modalities to cope with the inevitable changes that are bound to occur with the looming crisis.
The emphasis of this article is in renewing our female attributes of compassion, justice and truth. Acquisition, power and control, all male traits, have dominated our psyche and pushed the human race to the brink of self-destruction.
Radha Kunke says that our natural tendency to work cooperatively has been subsumed in the race for greed and aggrandizement. Remnants of these behaviours can still be observed in tribal societies. The author calls for a spiritual turnaround.
In the article, she gives classic examples like Google with its open source platforms, Gen Y striving to move out of stifling cubicle environments and grassroots-level initiatives where resources are utilized to renew and regenerate traditional modes of spirituality.