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inspiration & musings

How a holy hill got its groves back

From The Hindu: An afforestation initiative led by naturalists and locals, with support from forest and revenue department officials, has resulted in the Arunachala hill in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, shedding its barren, brown visage. Lalitha Sridhar reports on the decade-plus-long turnaround of a damaged fragile, semi-arid ecosystem by successfully harnessing scientific expertise and local knowledge.

Layla and the owl’s eyes: Ecopsychology and being human

Will Falk writes: Just like an owl on a chain is no longer an owl, and an elephant in a zoo is no longer an elephant, humans cut off from the nature are no longer human. We are animals and animals are an ongoing process of relationships. When those relationships become impossible, we lose ourselves.

Satya Sagar: What on earth is a human being?

Satya Sagar writes: It’s time to step back, reflect and ask again and again the questions:  who or what exactly are human beings, how we should live in this world and where we should go?  For this time the very survival of the human species may lie in getting the answers right with great honesty.

Three times rise in killings of India’s land, eco-defenders: Modi govt blamed for “stifling opposition” by any means

From Counterview/Global Witness: A just-released global report has revealed that the number of land and environment defenders killed in India has almost trebled, from 6 in 2015 to 16 in 2016, blaming it on “a disturbing trend” of increasing police brutality, indicating the Modi government’s determination “to stifle opposition to ‘development’ by any means necessary.”

Fight back: An ecopsychological understanding of depression

Will Falk writes: I’m an environmental activist. I have depression. To be an activist with depression places me squarely in an irreconcilable dilemma: The destruction of the natural world creates stress which exacerbates depression. However, acting to stop the destruction of the natural world exposes me to a lot of stress which, again, exacerbates depression.

Felix Padel: Adivasi economics may be the only hope for India’s future

India’s Tribal communities are under extreme pressure, right from big dams and mines to violent insur gencies and militarisation engulfing their lands. In 25 years, will these communities cease to exist? Or, will they represent thriving, revitalised models of egalitarian sustainability that the rest of the world has come to recognise and is learning from?

Spearfishing champ, chef and artist Kimi Werner on living in nature

In this wonderful TEDx talk, Kimi Werner, a free diver and fish hunter, uses her life’s story to illustrate a key lesson she learnt – that of slowing down when everything tells you to speed up. What really shines through is how her childhood memories of living in nature shaped her experiences later in life.

Vinchurni: A story of rejuvenated land, water and wilderness

From Vikalp Sangam: Located in the village Vinchurni, in Maharashtra’s Satara district, the 100-acre Maganlal Gandhi Smrutivan was originally a rocky grassland, that has since been transformed into a fertile estate that now teems with various interdependent lives. Behind this makeover is the 89-year-old former ‘Bhoodan’ activist Babulal Gandhi, aka Babu Kaka, and his family.

Tribute: Bill Kayong, Malaysian activist who fought to protect native forests

From Yale Environment 360: On this day last year, Bill Kayong, an up-and-coming political activist in Miri, a coastal oil town in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, was shot dead. At the time, Kayong was leading a campaign to protect native forest lands and stop incursions on traditional lands by logging and palm oil companies.

A teenage philatelist explains what butterflies can teach us about the ecosystem – and human spirit

From Scroll.in: Thirteen-year-old Ramprasad Mahurkar, part of a long tradition of artists, writers and scientists obsessed with butterflies, says:  “I love butterflies because they are beautiful and inspiring. A large proportion of the earth’s food crops are pollinated by butterflies, plus they’ve been studied to understand the phenomena of evolution and the role of genetics.”

World Environment Day is now little more than a greenwashing opportunity

Nitin Sethi writes: Whatever a government might do to run the economic engine of the country or its politics, it has to continuously claim that it is a win-win for both the environment and development. It will talk about its moves to set up zero-effect and zero-defect industries. We all know such an idea does not exist.

Paul Kingsnorth: The Axis and the Sycamore

The Axial Age, which refers to the historical period between the eighth and third centuries BC, was a period of profound transformations, which created “the foundations upon which humanity still subsists today,” a period of collapse from which emerged new ways of seeing and being… We may be living through a second Axial Age now…

Why the fight for environmental justice is also a fight for social justice

Nityanand Jayaraman writes: June 5 was World Environment Day. Over the last few days, this author, an environmental activist, has been asked by many people to lay out things that people can do without really straining their daily schedules. These simple things may not exist anymore. Instead, here are six things for everyone to consider.

In memory of Prashanth Ettaboina: A passionate life cut short

Anuja Mital writes: A year ago, on this day, a young 23-year-old wildlife researcher and my classmate, Prashanth Ettaboina, passed away. Ever the optimist, and crazy about tigers like no one else, the news of his suicide shocked us all –although till date there has been no satisfying inquiry into the circumstances surrounding his death.

Earthbag Diaries 4: Finishing touches, and lessons learned the old-fashioned way

Requiring no special equipment and no special expertise, and very economical to boot, earthbagging is famous as an ‘idiot-proof’ technique, popular with first-and-only-time owner-builders the world over. Venetia Kotamraju, who moved from busy Bangalore to a farm on the Western Ghats, writes on her experiment with earthbagging. The final installment in a series of four.

A relation of love with the land

If I were into species research, I would declare the discovery of Atulya Bingham as that rare new species that the world desperately needs. If I were a birder she’d be that exotic bird whose sight delights one every time. She is rare because she writes about nature in a way no one else does.

Obituary: U. Subbaraju – A life lived from first principles

Ajit Ranade writes: Mahatma Gandhi famously said that the world has enough for everybody’s need, but not for everybody’s greed. U. Subbaraju, a person who actually lived this principle in his own quiet life, who always carried a gentle smile and a helping hand, passed away earlier this month. He was just 50 years old.

Winners of the Whitley Awards for nature conservation 2017

From The Guardian: Indian winners of this year’s prestigious ‘green Oscars’ are Purnima Barman, who has been inspiring women to protect Assam’s greater adjutant stork and its habitat, and Sanjay Gubbi, who has been working on reducing deforestation in Karnataka’s tiger corridors. Whitley Awards are donated by the Shears Foundation in memory of Trevor Shears.

Point of no return: How a bunch of city-dwellers got back to the basics

From The Hindu: Ten years ago Siddharth, an IIT-IIM alumnus based in Chennai, put the brakes on his corporate career, that of vice-president for a technology R&D firm. He was 35 when he picked up a shovel to become an organic farmer instead. Not a landlord who employs labour but, quite literally, a subsistence farmer.

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