Photo by Austin Yoder

Welcome to the drought

Despite large-scale water supply infrastructure built over the years in India, areas prone to drought have only increased. Communities having had to deal with changing climate and ill-planned infrastructure, innovate and look at simple systems to manage water requirements. Gopakumar Menon throws light on such best practices, and asserts the need of the Government to learn from these.

Sustainable Planting

Communities moving away from traditional farming in search of opportunities in cities is a common trend in India. With is the loss of traditional farming knowledge and practices that have proven over and over to be sustainable is worrying. But there is are a few shining examples, as shown by the author Mari Marcel Thekaekara, in her article on Sustainable Planting.

From Shallow Cleanliness to Zero Waste

Alex Jensen in his thought-provoking article on waste management, focuses our attention on plastic wastes in India and the associated environmental problems. He highlights linkages between climate change, environmental health, plastics production, waste & health of the economy, to drive home the point of interdependencies and the need to move towards zero waste options. Above: Leh landfill. Photo Credit: Juan Del Rio

Sesame: the dismal story of a rainfed crop

Sesame known as the Queen of Oil Seeds is grown extensively in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Orissa. It is drought resistant and many pests find it inedible because of its salty tang. The only requirement is regularity in the rainfall pattern. With the accelerating changes in climate the inherent need of the sesame crop for good rain at planting and dry spells during harvesting has become skewered. Ganapathi Bhat observes that this unpredictability has reduced productivity and many farmers are seeking alternate means of livelihood. 

Devoted commitment to our inheritance: Stories of people returning to Agriculture

Unbridled usage of chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides had denuded the soil of its rich micro nutrients and drastically reduced yield. The skyrocketing debt and lack of productivity led many farmers to commit suicide. The youth moved to cities for better prospects, lived in abysmal conditions and earned a pittance which was hardly enough to meet their obligations. Mallikurjana Hosapalya writes about reverse migration from cities to villages through stories of some of the youth and urban experienced couples who had chosen to return to the villages, to take up agriculture, using time honed methods that had stood the test of time.

Conscientious food habits for us and our planet

The wide range of Millets that are grown in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and the Deccan Plateau, have nourished the consumer and sustained the soil. They just require 200-300 mm water as against 2500 mm needed for “Green Revolution“ rice farming. Arthi Chandrasekar has learnt from her elders about the innumerable possibilities of cooking delicious dishes from Millets. She passionately advocates the need for reversing the decelerating trend in climate change and the looming crisis in water.