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.
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.
Siddhartha of Pipal Tree explains how globalization, in its wake, has brought a distorted distribution system with local retail outlets storing products that have crossed great distances and blurred transnational boundaries. The carbon footprint that it leaves behind is decreasing our ability to live as a human species.
Before globalization, unpolished rice and vegetables were grown locally without chemical fertilisers and genetic modification. Market fundamentalism and financial strength by multinational corporations are holding sway and destroying a whole way of live that was fundamental to the traditional ethos. A wholesome way of life is gradually being annihilated by mega-agribusiness.
Sanjay Khatau’s passionate commitment is for the tribal people who, facing the brunt of climate change, find themselves disoriented from their traditional moorings.
Tribals are experiencing erratic rainfall, longer summer months, and shorter winters. Their traditional cropping patterns, which included cultivation of millets, harmonized with the seasons. They are now being thrown out of gear by soil erosion, multiple sowings and gradual destruction of soil fertility.
The public distribution system offering low prices for rice has paved the way for complacency. Indigenous farmers now lease their land for cash crops. The young people migrate to cities for better prospects. The hope is that they would in the course of time return to look after the land.