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livelihoods & rights

Conservation betrayals in Central India

Heera Bai reports: Across the Tribal Belt of Central India, indigenous communities are constantly being evicted from ancestral lands to make way for development projects, industry, tourism and government-sanctioned conservation initiatives. In the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the Baiga community have faced a legacy of evictions that dates back more than 30 years.

Ground Report: India’s slow but sure shift away from coal

Keith Schneider writes: It is almost impossible for a single place to embody the full array of emerging factors around climate, carbon, water, finance, culture and cleaner technology that have utterly changed how India and the world view the value and risks of coal. But if such a place exists, it’s Vilambur in Tamil Nadu.

How Bidar beat back the drought

From The Hindu: Bidar’s Naubad karez, or tunnel wells, are an ancient engineering marvel. It’s a complex system, which works inversely underground to leverage gravity — that is, the plateau’s natural gradient ascends from the mouth to the mother well but the tunnel underneath has been cut to descend from the mother well to the mouth.

Sagarmala: The Rs 10 trillion project that is wrecking India’s coast

From DNA: Sagarmala is the Indian Government’s Rs 10 lakh crore programme to build Coastal Economic Zones (CEZ) and industrial clusters around 14 key ports. But, the Sagarmala plan document lays out its goals as if the coast has been an empty or unproductive space, and is now poised to be a “gateway” to growth.

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.

Why India’s Competition Commission must stop the Dow and DuPont merger

From The Wire: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is currently assessing the likely adverse effects on competition of the proposed merger of Dow Chemical and DuPont. If it goes through, the merger will create the world’s biggest chemical and materials company. But there are a dozen reasons and more why it must be stopped.

What the data tells us about ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’

From TheWire: Public memory in India is amnesiac. Still, it is difficult to forget that Narendra Modi rode to power in 2014 on the plank of promoting development, aptly captured by ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’. Three years down the line, it’s time to take stock. These findings seriously question the Modi government’s record so far.

Luddites have been getting a bad rap for 200 years. Turns out, they were right

From Quartz.com: The Luddites were the bands of English workers who destroyed machinery, especially in cotton mills, which they believed was threatening their jobs. As machine learning and robotics consume manufacturing and white-collar jobs alike, New York Times journalist Clive Thompson revisits the Luddite’s history to see what the 200-year-old workers’ rebellion can teach us.

Sunita Narain responds to comments on “Why I would not advocate vegetarianism”

When I wrote about vegetarianism, or more precisely, why I as an Indian environmentalist would not advocate it, I had expected an emotional response. My article was meant to provoke a discussion. Here’s what I learnt from the responses; let’s see if we can find a middle way—not to agree, but to debate and dissent.

How come Bangalore doesn’t give an inkling of the severe drought in its backyard?

Devinder Sharma writes: The development process is so designed that cities have been made drought proof over the years… Life in the mega city does not even provide an inkling of a severe drought prevailing everywhere in the state, where as many as 139 of the 176 taluks have been declared drought hit this year.

GM Mustard in India: Five unanswered questions

From The Indian Express: Each time with the GM debate, agro-business and biotech industry puts huge pressure on the Indian government to destroy food culture and replace many old nutritious-rich foods with by patented toxic monocultures. By threatening India with the GM Mustard, corporations are destroying the centre of diversity of mustard for the world.

The devastating reality of Somalia on the brink of famine

Vice News reports: Drought has devastated vegetation and water supplies, and hunger is soaring. More than half the country — 6.2 million people — are in need of emergency aid to avoid starvation. And around 1.4 million children will risk acute malnutrition in 2017, according to UNICEF — 50 percent more than what the charity

A season of regret for an aging tribal expert

From The New York Times: At 82, the anthropologist T. N. Pandit passes his days in the gentle occupations of old age: poetry, a Buddhist study circle, a daily walk in the park. It is rare for anyone to ask him about the years he spent with the hunter gatherer tribes of the Andaman Islands.

Yogendra Yadav: Tamil Nadu’s drought is also a policy-induced disaster

From The Tribune: The drought has affected 21 of the 32 districts, including the ‘rice bowl’ area of the Cauvery delta, where we travelled. Farmers’ distress was visible everywhere. This is not just a natural disaster. Our travel made it clear that a good deal of farmers’ distress is due to man-made or policy-induced disaster.

A rare, pristine estuary comes under threat in Karnataka

TheWire.in reports: The Aghanashini is one of the last free flowing rivers in Karnataka: it has no major industrial establishments, dams or townships on its banks. It is in this rich and highly productive estuary that the state government plans to build a multi-purpose estuarine port, which’s now one last step away from final clearance.

Worst drought in 140 years leads to farmer deaths, riots, policy impasse in Cauvery Delta

Keith Schneider reports: The thickening chain of death and sorrow in the Cauvery Delta, formed from the powerful links of water, agricultural, and industrial policy, is bludgeoning Tamil Nadu. The human toll, counted in the escalating numbers of shattered hearts, is a disturbing measure of how extravagant, water-consuming development practices no longer fit environmental conditions.

Not so cute: World Wildlife Fund declared ‘greenwasher of the year’

‘Greenwashing’ has been defined as creating “a false or misleading picture of environmental friendliness used to conceal or obscure damaging activities.” Not something you would normally associate with the WWF, whose cute Panda logo has helped make it the face of wildlife conservation globally. But there’s more to the story, as this new report shows.

Drought in South India: A Firstpost special series

This is the introductory article in Firstpost’s nine-part series of ground reports on the ongoing water crisis in south India. The series will cover various aspects of the near-calamitous situation in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, with the onset of blistering heat waves that are putting more pressure on existing water resources.

This 9-year-old is suing the Indian govt for not acting on climate change

Ridhima Pandey, a 9-year-old from Uttarakhand, has filed a lawsuit against the Centre for failing to take action on climate change. Don’t be surprised, after all it’s her generation that’s going to inherit the earth with all the environmental problems left by ours, writes Meera Gopal, who is representing Ridhima before the National Green Tribunal.

Why the Asian Development Bank is facing a hundred protests in India this month

A 100 actions of protest will be held across the country between May 1 – 7, 2017 to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the ADB, highlighting the gross human rights violations, loss of livelihood, and environmental destructions caused by the ‘development model’ being pushed by ADB and its ilk, using public money.

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