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

Magazine: Campaign for Climate Justice 2014-15

The media in India, especially the Indian languages media, has a vital role in creating awareness among the general public and in engaging policy makers on aspects related to climate justice, low carbon farming, alternative energy and other mitigation and adaptation strategies. The communication campaign of Pipal Tree is hence aimed at facilitating alliances of freelance writers, social researchers and activists to come out with stories and articles on how climate change is being felt by communities, and what would form effective adaptation measures for those whose livelihood is affected by the changing climatic patterns.

This release is a compilation of articles written and published by twelve freelance writers from the three South Indian states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala during the programme year 2014-15.

Available languages: English, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil 

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.

Towards low carbon agriculture

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. 

Climate change exacerbates the plight of farmers in Wayanad, Kerala

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.

Climate change and tourism – A saga of betrayal 

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.