Debutant director Aparnaa Singh’s Irada is said to have been inspired by real events –the pollution of groundwater by a chemical manufacturer with the blessings of a state’s ruling party. Set in Punjab, Irada advocates solutions that viewers will be hard-pressed to replicate, but its concerns are timely, character sketches memorable, and its empathy unmistakable.
The worldview that informs contemporary global culture was conceived during the European ‘Enlightenment’ of the 17th century. Its shortcomings have become increasingly evident today, and they are beginning to be seen as the root cause of the many seemingly intractable global problems that confront us today. This essay presents an overview of an alternative worldview.
The planet is getting hotter, leaving people hungry and fuelling wars around the world and you want to do something about it. But with a green movement to cater for every age, location, and type of plastic recycling, how to turn your enthusiasm into action? Maeve Shearlaw’s tips for getting started as a climate activist.
Enlightenment thinking is coming to an end… But our civilization still operates as if reality is about organising inert, dead matter in efficient ways. It is impossible to achieve sustainability with our prevailing ‘operating system’ for economics, politics, and culture if the underlying ‘bios’—our unconscious assumption about reality—remains tied to an ideology of dead matter.
George Monbiot in The Guardian: The rise of celebrity culture did not happen by itself… It is hard for people to attach themselves to a homogenised franchise, owned by a big corporation. So the machine needs a mask. It must wear the face of someone we see as often as we see our next-door neighbours.
Noted water conservationist Anupam Mishra passed away at the age of 68 on Monday. Here’s a tribute and a video where he talks with wisdom and wit about the amazing feats of engineering from centuries ago by the people of India’s desert regions to harvest water. These ancient aqueducts and stepwells are still used today.
Sophie Lewis writes: We often hear people saying it’s impossible to attribute any single weather event to climate change. While this may have been true in the 1990s, the science of linking extreme events to global warming has advanced significantly since then. However, how we communicate these findings has not kept pace with the science.
Set in the world of a spoofed prescription drug commercial, Nature Rx offers a hearty dose of laughs and the outdoors – two timeless prescriptions for whatever ails you. This award-winning comedy series is a friendly reminder to us Earthly inhabitants what feels good and what is worth protecting once we take an adventure outdoors.
In ‘Tending Our Land’, authors M.G. Jackson and Nyla Coelho present a vivid, historical account of the great human enterprise of food production, an entirely new story– one that reinstates an ancient but eminently relevant imperative for our times. It makes essential reading for policy makers, academia and the budding bold generation of land tenders.
On the eve of the American presidential election, where the two leading candidates offer little hope for climate action, it’s worth revisiting this hard-hitting 2006 article by Chad Harbach, who warned, “(Other countries) will do nothing until the United States demonstrates that a grand-scale transition to renewable energy can be achieved by big industrial countries.”
Pranav Prakash quotes a journalist from The Hindu: “What passes for environmental journalism in India is often bourgeoisie environmentalism, unfortunately. Air pollution in cities matter, while 300 million Indians who cook in crammed, dark, smoke-filled kitchens don’t matter. Ultimately, it’s a question of representation. Whose concerns are addressed or aired depends on who is speaking.”
Does the concept of a living planet inspire and uplift you, or is it a disturbing example of woo-woo nonsense that distracts us from practical, science-based policies? While no amount of evidence can prove it false, we must acknowledge that the science that militates against an intelligent, purposeful, living universe is ideologically freighted and culturally-bound.
Leo Hickman writes: Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio has spent the past three years asking a wide variety of people around the world about climate change. His collection of interviews in the film–ranging from Barack Obama and the Pope through to Elon Musk and Sunita Narain– cover the science, impacts, vested interests, politics and possible solutions.
Felix Padel writes: An Adivasi economy, in its traditional or pre-globalization form at least, was based in many ways on ecological principles. In the words of a Kond elder in Kandhamal district, Odisha, “Where are the saints in your society? In this village we are all saints. We consume little, share everything, and waste nothing.”
Dia Mirza writes: We cannot call this devastation of ecology and livelihoods ‘natural calamities’ anymore; it’s evident that there is a nexus of powerful people who are ignorant to the ramifications of their idea of “development” and “progress” that is gutting our forests, polluting our rivers and leading many states to a state of drought.
Survival International has given its “Racist of the Year” award for 2016 to President Ian Khama of Botswana. The award is given annually to the person displaying the greatest prejudice against tribal peoples. Nominees in 2016 included Australian cartoonist Bill Leak and Indian godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, whose film MSG-2 depicts tribal people as “evil”.
Watch video recordings of keynote presentations of the just concluded 5th International Degrowth Conference. They cover a range of subjects from critiques of economic growth and capitalism and green economy, to radical alternatives on economic, political, social and cultural fronts; alliances between global north and south; climate justice; the nature and future of work, etc.
Charles Eisenstein writes: Psychedelics can bestow expanded consciousness and ways of being that are incompatible with those that presently undergird our society. Psychedelics have the power to subvert the alienation, competition, anthropocentrism, standardization of commodities and social roles, and reduction of reality to a collection of things that propel the world-destroying machine of modern civilization.
Acclaimed novelist Amitav Ghosh‘s non-fiction take on climate change and our collective inability to acknowledge its danger – titled The Great Derangement – has been hailed as a landmark, which promises to change the conversation around this crucial issue. In this series, we’re re-publishing interviews which feature the writer at his forceful and articulate best.
Nirmalangshu Mukherji writes: A real solution to the issue of survival requires that humans learn to progressively forget knowledge systems currently advanced in the most dominating centres of learning. If indigenous knowledge systems are our primary route for survival, every bit of knowledge beyond indigenous knowledge must be subjected to serious critique for their relevance.