Dalits more so the women, are considered lowest in the social hierarchy. They are relegated to working as landless labourers, sanitation workers and in jobs that are dangerous. G. Shantha a committed social activist with a great deal of verve has documented their traumatic circumstances. Their discrimination extends to not having easy access to safe drinking water and for having to travel long distances for fetching enough for their domestic consumption. They are exploited by the higher caste and the current brittle status of the Dalit women would worsen with the accelerating impact of climate change.
The bustling town of Tumkur in Southern Karnataka is a rain shadowed area and millets form the staple diet of the people living in this vicinity. The crop survives under arid conditions. In the coming years, cultivation of millets is going to be wide spread, mainly because of its rich nutrition content and ability to withstand the vicissitudes of nature. Malikarjuna Hosapalya emphasizes that the reversion to traditional method of cultivation has been proven to be economically more viable than cash crops like areca nut and ground nut farming.
The Agricultural hinterland of Tumkur and Chitradurga in Karnataka is the focus of study by M. N. Kulkarni. The decrease in the rainfall has drastically affected the cultivation of crops in this area. He emphasizes that integrated farming systems have the potential to mitigate the effects of accelerating climate change. Planting of fruit trees and forestry plants along with seasonal crops, and in common lands, school premises, temple premises can increase the green cover and enrich the soil while sequestering carbon. Pic Above: An example of a complete integrated farming system
It was a rainy day. I was giving a wash to the bull and cows my friend had in his farm, in the river that flowed next to it. Suddenly the bull started running. Instead of letting go the leash that was in my hand, I ran after it, hoping to stop the bull in its track. In a flash of seconds I was flat on the river bank with a broken leg and I saw the bull looking at me from a distance with a nonchalant expression! This was my introduction to rearing cattle and learning to farm – Narrates Joe John.
Siddharth D’Souza describes LAYA’s experience in implementing sustainable agriculture and energy initiatives like CFL solar lanterns, microhydels, energy efficient wood stoves, bio-sand water filters, hydram and solar pumps, low carbon farming etc. among the adivasi communities of North Coastal Andhra Pradesh.
Siddharth D’Souza emphasis in his essay, that for developing countries like India, binding targets or national level reduction goals would not suffice to reduce impacts of climate change. We should look at drastic solutions towards mitigation of climate change which will involve a rethink on our western influenced lifestyles.
The unpredictable rainfall pattern, the aridity of the soil and the geography of the land that was rocky and uneven posed insurmountable challenges to the farmers of Kamadhenu and Kampilikoppa villages in the Dharwad District of Karnataka.
Anitha Pailoor who travelled extensively in this region records that the farmers have reconfigured their agricultural practices by carefully husbanding scant resources and adopting organic farming to adapt to shifting conditions including a changing climate. Picture above: Kallava, one among many farmers, who has reaped the benefits of tree-based farming.
Kerala’s densely populated land mass hugging the Arabian Sea is facing the onslaught of Climate Change, the shifting patterns of El Nino and the decimation of mangrove forests along its coastline. Oamjie John delineates the changing scenario – the decrease in rainfall, migration of fish species and the disappearance of the Ridley Turtle’s breeding sands. He passionately avers that ancient knowledge systems and techniques could possibly offer solutions to modern technology and unscientific plans. Photo: Sunil Kupperi
Rivers are a vital link to our inherent capacity for survival. The threads woven by Kunjurachan and his father is an unwinding tapestry of deforestation, concrete jungles replacing paddy fields and unbridled contamination of the Meenachil River. The forty four rivers originating in misty hillsides are now sluggish tributaries choking the life of Agriculture in Kerala. Traditional practices of farming, intuitive knowledge of the seasons have now given way under the onslaught of modernisation, bringing in its wake packaged food and distilled water. Writes Maju Puthankandam.
Quarries, mindless tourism projects, construction of dams and encroachment of forests in Kerala have impacted its ecosystem, upsetting the delicate balance of flora, fauna and its indigenous inhabitants. The benign co-existence woven over generations is now in shreds. Maju Puthenkandam asserts that to save ourselves and future generations we have to re-prioritize development in a way that synchronizes with the environment, protects our mountains, water and land bodies.