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Planning/Policy

The electric car must fail

Ratheesh Pisharody writes: A classic method of avoiding personal sacrifice is to explore “alternatives”. The individual thought behind this is simple. “Can I keep sitting on my privileges by pretending to make a dramatic change with sufficient optics and industry backing, but with no personal cost/effort?”. And the pop-icon of “alternatives” is the electric car.

War, mismanagement and climate change: Iraq’s environment on the brink

From Fanack.com: From Saddam Hussein’s destruction of the unique Southern marshlands to the burning of croplands in Iraq’s greenbelt in 2019, the country’s valuable natural and cultural resources are being degraded rapidly. At the same time, growing awareness of environmental issues has spurred the rise of groups that want to change the course of the country.

Just like the economy, India’s forests too are thriving only on paper

From Live Mint: Dodgy numbers, a ‘flexible’ approach to the facts and self-serving definitions beginning with how “forest cover” itself is actually defined. This is what accounts for the unanimous skepticism among ecologists and other experts of the “growth” in India’s forest cover, claimed by the recently released India State of the Forest Report 2019.

New Zealand’s ‘well-being budget’ and the unnecessary evil of economic growth

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has presented a pioneering national budget where spending is dictated by the “well-being” of citizens, rather than productivity and economic growth. But as long as other major economies continue to prioritise growth, New Zealand may become a lone wolf trapped in an increasingly hungry bear pit, writes Jack Peat.

The conservation industry’s ‘New Deal for Nature’ is a disaster for people and planet

Stephen Corry writes: The latest idea to be heavily promoted by big conservation NGOs is doubling the world’s “Protected-Areas” so that they cover 30% of the globe’s lands and oceans. What better answer to climate change and biodiversity loss? But it’s actually dangerous nonsense which would have exactly the reverse effect to what we’re told.

Mikhail Gorbachev: “We need a new economic model, the planet is overburdened”

Mikhail Gorbachev, founder of Green Cross International, on the need for urgent economic and social change to promote true sustainable development that does not over-consume and waste natural resources, while at the same time ensures opportunities and peace for humanity. This 2012 interview with the former USSR President and Nobel-winner remains just as relevant today.

Combustible Australia, combustible world: Lessons for India

Aseem Shrivastava writes: There are several lessons for India in the Australian catastrophe. For starters, it must restrain its own fossil barons: both within our shores, and beyond. Adani’s mammoth Queensland coal venture, for example, will significantly boost carbon emissions (both within Australia and to countries like India to which the coal will be exported).

Why “Corporate Social Responsibility” is a hoax

Álvaro de Regil Castilla writes: Over the years, as I watched CSR evolve, it gradually became evident that it was really a hoax, for the simple reason that short-term maximization of profit is baked into the corporate DNA. Businesses thus cannot be socially responsible as long as the institutions of democracy remain captured by marketocracy.

Nine competing geoeconomic projects that will shape Asia’s future

From Great Game India: A global contest with at least 9 geoeconomic projects is underway in and around Asia. Regional powers are putting forward ambitious plans for building roads, railways, and other hard infrastructure across the region. A preview of a competition as wide-ranging as the region itself; whose long-term ecological cost will be incalculable.

Ahead of ‘Day Zero’, Delhi’s water crisis is about to turn into a water war

From ABC News: Delhi is one of 21 Indian cities that could run out of groundwater, according to a 2018 government thinktank report. Disputes over water often lead to violence, especially in the city’s unauthorised settlements. The state government and the local “water mafia” are drilling bores, further depleting groundwater and exacerbating the larger problem.

A $5 trillion economy for India: At what cost?

PM Narendra Modi wants India to be a “$5 trillion economy” by 2024. The consequences of such high GDP growth –even setting aside questions regarding its distribution or true worth– will result in depriving the dispossessed sections of society of access even to natural resources, while driving fragile ecologies to a point of no return.

Your money or your life? Putting wellbeing before GDP

Researching public perceptions of the future, I’m not aware of any progress indicators that reflect the real depth of people’s concern. The current wave of global political unrest and protest is commonly attributed to growing inequality, corruption, austerity, thwarted expectations and climate change. But the real reasons also go deeper, challenging the entire narrative of modernisation itself.

The 2019 Nobel Prize shows why we need to dump conventional economics

Ted Trainer writes: The prize has gone to three people studying how the poor can derive more benefit from existing “development” practices. It sees no reason to question the existing market and growth-driven economy and its derivative, development theory. It doesn’t threaten the massively unjust and environmentally destructive global systems that keep billions in poverty.

Mihir Shah: India’s water crisis has a simple solution

“This plan has multiple win-wins: Improvement in soil and water quality, higher incomes for farmers, reduced malnutrition and obesity, and a simple solution to India’s water problem by drastically reducing use of water in agriculture.” Also watch: ‘Bringing the Science Back Into Water: A New Paradigm for 21st Century India,’ a talk by Mihir Shah.

Blip: Humanity’s 300 year self-terminating experiment with industrialism

In his new book ‘Blip’, Christopher Clugston synthesizes the evidence produced by hundreds of research studies to quantify the causes, implications, and con­sequences associated with industrial humanity’s predicament. He presents compelling evidence to show how industrial civilisation’s enormous and ever-increasing utilisation of nonrenewable natural resources will lead to global societal collapse in the near future.

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