Climate justice – What does it mean for coastal communities

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.

Migratory birds driven to the brink with mindless destruction of their habitat

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.

Migrating fisherfolk in the face of looming catastrophe

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 – nature’s perennial gift in the face of climate crisis

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.

Vanishing coasts

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. 

Bottled Bomb

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. 

Magazine: Campaign for Climate Justice 2013-14

This release is a compilation of articles written and published by fourteen freelance writers from the three South Indian states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala for the campaign on climate justice during the programme year 2013-14.

It is hoped that the efforts of these fourteen freelance writers, when read in the Indian languages media and by a global readership on the web, will further escalate the awareness among the readers, their communities and policy makers who will inspire local, national and international identification with what is at stake. On the national platform, it is hoped that these articles strengthen and lend teeth to environmental movements underway in the country and enhance awareness on the implications of climate change in India and validate the reports by commissions and committees. Available languages: English, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam

Environmental hazards of electronic waste

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]

Climate change and fisheries

It has been proven that the sea surface temperature has increased, the wind patterns have changed and that the biota of the estuaries have been impacted by the reduction in the flow of fresh water. Mechanized fishing have decimated most of the marine species. Industrial and tourism development have turned the sea coasts into a dumping ground for industrial wastes and garbage. Sumana Narayanan affirms that all these have impacted the viability of fishing operations and the capacity of the fisher folk to adapt. [Photo: Arun Kumar P.] 

Wayanad: A case of Kerala’s environmental degradation   

Paddy the main sustainable crop in Wayanad, a lush forested region situated in the North Eastern part of Kerala at a height of 700-2100 meters above sea level, is being replaced by cash crops like banana and areca nut. Rules are flouted with impunity and illegal construction takes place regularly. Unbridled tourism with its resorts and adventure sports are leading to deforestation and climate change. Mining and stone crushers have denuded the hills and polluted the environment. Jisha A. S. is convinced of the need for grassroots opposition to the current practices.