There is a dire need to shift from chemical fertilizer and pesticides induced agriculture to traditional methods of farming. Modern agriculture brought in by the Green Revolution of the 1960’s has increased GHG emissions. Earlier domesticated cows contributed dung and urine to fix nitrogen and fertilise the soil. Inter-cropping, vermicomposting and mulching regenerated the land. M.N. Kulkarni writes about farmers in Kariyamanappara Village in Tumkur District returning to the time tested methods of cultivation.
Wayanad’s coffee and pepper with its temperate climate and even rainfall thrived in its rich fertile soil. Subini S. Nair writes that the temperature increase over the years have led to a proliferation of pests and diseases which are gradually destroying the crops. To offset the reduction in yield and decrease in quality of the harvest, the gates for imports have been opened. This has affected the economic sustainability of the farmers. Unable to pay his debts they resort to committing suicide. Real Estate development has further annihilated livelihoods.
The pristine backwaters of Alappuzha and Kuttanad, the Rice Bowl of Kerala, is being polluted with oil, human waste and disposable plastics. Sumesh Mangalassery has decimated the idea that the tourism is a boon to the local community. Livelihoods have been destroyed and the ecology of the land laid to waste. Greenhouse gases brought in by Tourism is destroying the coasts. He argues that measures to mitigate its impact needs to be implemented on a war footing.
The fishermen communities on the Kerala-Maharashtra coast in the West and in the Orissa-Tamilnadu coast in the East are facing the brunt of climate change. Oamjie John in his well researched article states that Sardines and Mackerel have moved to deeper waters in the wake of increase in temperature, variability in rainfall patterns and uncontrolled spewing of toxic waste and effluents along the coast. Night time trawlers have also depleted the density of fish. This has had a direct impact on the livelihoods of many living along the seacoast.
Effluents and emissions of greenhouse gases have polluted the estuaries and marshy lands of Pazhaverkadu and Koddikarai in Tamil Nadu. Coral reefs have attenuated and micro organisms have disappeared. Flamingos and Plovers travel phenomenal distances to feed and rear their young. Their numbers have reduced with the drastic effects of climate change. E. Shanmuganantham emphasises the need to protect our natural resources, and preserve the habitats for migratory birds.
Arcattuthurai, a fishing hamlet in Tamil Nadu is facing a human crisis with its men folk, abandoning their vocations and going abroad to sustain their livelihoods. There they work at menial jobs and put their health at risk. G. Sakthivel Murugan asserts that climate change, and differing wind patterns are destroying their means of survival. Mackerel and Pomfret have migrated to deeper waters as it gets warmer closer to shore. He submits that newer technologies like GPS, Walkie Talkie and Echo Sounder should be made accessible to Fishermen.
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.
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.
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.
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]