The situation of reedbeds seems irreversible, as the rivers are drying up. What is remaining is being dug and sucked up. The birds who roost and feed their young are ‘demented’ about the changed situation. Thatched homes with straw and reeds which were a common sight is now being rapidly replaced with Tin and Plastic. We probably need to answer the Latin expression Quo Vadis – Where are you going!! Writes Lingaraja Venkatesh. [Picture Above: A Streaked Weaver Bird working on building its nest.]
What and who gives humans the right to its ecosystem? Ancient and today’s tribal communities believe that their right to utilize resources in the ecosystem on which they depend is encompassed with a huge responsibility to protect and conserve it. In all situations right is a community (such as family, office, institution, association, organization, state or any other group), and therefore there is no such thing as private or individual right. This makes responsibility also beyond the self. The author Nirmal Selvamony provides interesting insights with examples, into rights and responsibilities towards our ecosystem.
“Climate Change and Grassroots Adaptation Process” describes case studies carried out in five distinct ecosystems in India. These studies sought to use communities’ knowledge and skills to identify alternative options for livelihood adaptation in the face of changing weather and socioeconomic conditions, therefore reducing vulnerability to longer-term climate change.
The rampant municipal solid waste problem in India and its mismanagement is pointed out through a case study of the Bangalore Municipality. The author Kathyayini Chamaraj critically evaluates the pros and cons of the MSW Rules and particularly the aspects of segregation and collection.
A sustainable society does not fall from the sky nor does it just happen one fine morning. It has to be created through a long and arduous process. There are innumerable nuances and principles that are involved.
Where and how does one get these across to people? Where are the forums? I believe that the best place to begin this process of creation of such a society is in the classroom – with children. Here lies our future!
Many of us have struggled for and with the poor for over four decades now. We have fought human rights abuses, land alienation, untouchability, feudalism and violence against women.
We have mostly won major victories and changed the lives of the poor with whom we had worked. But forty years down the line, most of us are faced with the stark fact that fighting poverty and fighting for the economic rights of our people is now virtually impossible, and moved beyond our control.
From easily identified local exploitative individuals, the forces causing poverty have moved to new, distant, complex structures way beyond the reach of communities. The blame is now conveniently laid on catch phrases such as market forces, globalisation, liberalization. But the question still remains as to how one deals with these faceless forces? Writes Stan Thekaekara
Oamjie John describes the new green revolution in Kerala, with organic farming becoming a mass movement. Through a series of short descriptive case studies, Oamjie talks about the influences on these communities and individuals to take up organic farming.
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.