We tend to think that nature and cities are polar opposites. Delhi’s steadily worsening ‘airpocalypse’ only reinforces this binary. But this wasn’t always so. In her book ‘Nature in the City’, Harini Nagendra takes a deep dive into Bangalore’s ecological history, going way back in the past to the 6th century CE, with surprising results.
From Hindustan Times: The NGT has repeatedly criticised Bengaluru’s civic authorities this year for letting the city’s water bodies become toxic waste dumps. The central body could find similarly mistreated lakes in countless Indian cities, where wetlands are being lost due to urbanisation, changes in land use and pollution. What lakes have survived are shrinking.
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.
On the first anniversary of Bangalore’s Aikyam Community for Sustainable Living, founder Sandeep Anirudhan travels back in time to recollect the journey that led to a different approach to building sustainability awareness. ‘The biggest realisation was that there was no isolated solution for any of the problems we face, because everything is connected’, he writes.
Deepa Bhasthi writes in The Guardian: The illegal dumping of waste mixed with mass untreated sewage in Bangalore is creating a water crisis which threatens residents’ health–and is causing the city’s famous lakes to catch fire. This is the new story of the city, which some scientists believe will be “unliveable” in a few years.
Wildlife biologist Nisarg Prakash writes: After a flare-up in my depression and increasingly erratic behaviour, I was shunted out from a landscape that I once knew like the back of my hand. It was here that I’d retreated to the land, to the hills, valleys and streams as a poultice for the cuts and bruises.
Rahul Chandran writes: A resident, who did not wish to be identified, talks about certain benches where the maids and drivers were not allowed to sit. “We had one more rule earlier— now its scrapped— the maids are not supposed to travel in the passenger lift, they were supposed to travel in the service lift.”
Samar Halarnkar writes: In Nature in the City, her evocative exploration of Bangalore’s natural history, Harini Nagendra, says, “… residents engaged in practices such as placing a plate of warm rice (often with ghee added) outside to feed crows, leaving water baths for birds in the summer, and sugar and milk for ants and reptiles.”
Yesterday, with protests over the Cauvery water dispute bringing Bangalore to its knees, many of the city’s techno-optimists found themselves stranded on its burning roads, like bunnies caught in headlights. It might just be another sign that ‘life as we know it’ is about to change forever, both in India and the world, writes Vijay Kundaji.
The de-greening of India’s cities is creating water-starved heat-islands. Bangalore may be India’s most drastic example, but the short-sighted assault on greenery is nationwide. Projections show that in 2030, Kolkata’s vegetation cover will be just 3.37% (from 34% in 1980), Ahmedabad’s 3% (from 37% in 1990) and Bangalore’s 14% by 2020 (from 46% in 1992).
Recent research by IISc reveals startling numbers on Bangalore’s reckless urbanization and its consequences: during 1973–2016 (1005% concretization or increase of paved surface) has had a telling influence on the natural resources, such as decline in green spaces (88% decline in vegetation), wetlands (79% decline), higher air pollutants and a sharp decline in groundwater table.
Inviting you to participate in the Climate महा सत्संग (Maha-Satsang) A part of Indian Youth Climate Network’s ‘Climate Catalysts 2014‘ event Dates: 30th August & 31st August, 2014. Time: 09:30- 18:30 Venue: Paradigm Shift, 8, 80 Feet Road, 4th Block, Koramangala (Bangalore) About the event: The primary focus of the workshops is on students and