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.
This magazine is a compilation of articles written and published by eight freelance writers from the three South Indian states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala for the awareness campaign on climate justice during the programme year 2012-13.
These stories and articles are aimed at putting into place effective adaptation measures, particularly in the context of the rural poor who rightfully deserve a consideration for climate justice. Available languages: English, Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada.
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.
Silting of river bodies and destruction of tree cover have all played a part in driving the Kadar indigenous community in Kerala to near extinction. Ranjith Kavumkara in a passionate comment outlines the causes that have obliterated their traditional vocations as Honey Gatherers and Fishermen.
Agriculture practices that stood the test of time are embedded in our culture. The dawn of Independence with the heydays of the Nehruvian era in the 1950s had instilled in us the vision of accelerated growth and a self-reliant economy that is secure in its food requirement.
Implications of the rampant use of chemical fertilizers and overturning of traditional methods of cultivation were not taken into account when policies were framed. The resultant spin off in terms of river bodies drying up, unplanned felling of trees, erratic rainfall patterns have all taken a huge toll on the livelihoods of farmers who for generations lived in harmony with the natural rhythms. In desperation to stem the tide, bore wells that had been dug mindlessly have sunk water tables and polluted our supply chain.
The author M.N. Kulkarni is making a plea to revisit our inherited wisdom, to align plans for growth that are in sync with our gifted legacy. Picture above: A dried up Kalyani, a traditional water source, in Nidigal, a village in Belgaum district, Karnataka.