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livelihoods & rights

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.

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.

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.

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.

Beggars as choosers: Why India’s poor opt to beg

Beggars are usually ignored on the streets and questions are asked about why they don’t work. But many have indeed worked as paid labour and have chosen begging as the primary activity, finds Sabina Yasmin Rahman. As India’s urban and rural poor reel from a state-made economic crisis, this revealing study takes on an urgent relevance.

Welcome to the global rebellion against neoliberalism

Massive protests have been roiling through Algeria, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Spain, Sudan, the UK, and Zimbabwe—and that’s only since September. As distinct as the protests seem, the uprisings rocking scores of countries all share a common theme, argues Ben Ehrenreich.

How caste shapes water conflicts in drought-ridden Maharashtra

Anuj Ghanekar writes: Drought affects everyone, but the Dalits are the worst affected. They often become targets of threats and violence in different ways if they try to access water or demand rights for water, with several atrocities on record. One study noted several instances where water sources used by Dalits were deliberately contaminated with human excreta.

The Great Water Grab: Wall Street is buying up the world’s water

Jo-Shing Yang reports on how Wall Street banks like Citigroup and multibillionaires are buying up water sources all over the world at unprecedented pace. Simultaneously, governments are moving fast to limit citizens’ ability to become water self-sufficient. Also read an investigative report from The Guardian: Liquid assets: how the business of bottled water went mad

Climate justice is injustice, if partial

Ratheesh Pisharody writes: While we pretend to have weaved in a “justice angle” into the climate emergency narrative, we conveniently veto-ed ourselves back in. Thus we ensure we represent the perpetrators and also the victims. By taking away a large part of that victim-hood-bank we seem to want an unfair share of “climate justice” too.

The invisible victims of an unfinished city

From Mongabay India: First envisaged in the early 2000s, Lavasa was touted as independent India’s first privately owned hill city. But over the years, the project faced numerous legal cases of usurping the land of villagers and violating environmental conditions. It’s now a ghost town with empty, unfinished construction or buildings vacated by their occupants.

How the ‘Gujarat model’ is devouring Gujarat (and not just Gujarat)

From The Hindu: The perverse ‘achievements’ of those relentless in their advocacy of the Sardar-Sarovar dam are now evident. The riches of Gujarat—shown as a model to the rest of India—are the result of such violent extraction, exploitation and destruction that benefit a few while victimising many. Any protest is being beaten into the earth.

SAPACC: A big step forward for South Asia’s climate justice movement

From The Wire: The SAPACC campaign rests on two pillars: climate science and mass mobilisation. Large organisations coming together on an issue considered too abstract for a movement only a few years ago is a significant shift. It reflects the climate’s intensifying impact in South-Asia and how the issue has exploded in the public consciousness.

Jaunti Live: The first Green Revolution village now has a farm crisis

From Down to Earth: India is going through one of the worst farm crisis in its history. To understand about this crisis we have to investigate the roots of the celebrated Green Revolution and what happened after that. This is the story of Jaunty, the village which was once the flagbearer of the Green Revolution.

Shashi Shekhar: “We are not allowing sub-soil water to recharge”

The irony couldn’t be crueler. Even as large parts of India battle floods, a new report has ranked the country 13th among “extremely highly water-stressed” nations. Alarming news, since India has “three times the population of the other 17 combined”. Former Water Resources chief Shashi Shekhar casts a knowing eye on India’s ballooning water crisis.

The European Far Right’s environmental turn

Kate Aronoff writes: Until now, European far-right parties have tended to question climate science as another example of cosmopolitan groupthink, if they mentioned it at all. But some have begun to embrace the fact that climate is on European voters’ minds. France’s National Rally recently unveiled a climate policy platform just before the European election.

P. Sainath: How a patch of Anantapur came to be a desert

From The Wire: This specific patch of some 1,000 acres near Dargah Honnur village in Anantapur district –once covered by millet cultivation– has over many decades become more and more a desert. That has been driven by often paradoxical factors –and created the kind of space that filmmakers send out location scouts to look for.

Poisoned earth, poisoned people: The unravelling of Punjab

From The Guardian: Cancer rates are the highest in the country, drug addiction is rife, and 900 farmers have killed themselves in two years. How did Punjab turn toxic? A new film explores the roots of its problems; ‘Toxification’ tells the moving stories of farmers at the sharp end of the chemical epidemic engulfing Punjab.

We have drought-proofed our cities, and left farms and farmers to die

Devinder Sharma writes: This year, nearly 82% of Karnataka is reeling under drought. But in Bangalore, you won’t get even a hint of the terrible human suffering that continues to be inflicted year after year. Karnataka has suffered drought for 12 out of the past 18 years. But life in Bangalore has never been affected.

The terrifying implications of India’s elections for people and the planet

Basav Sen, director, Climate Policy Project, writes: The Modi government’s far right bigotry is well known, but its equally disturbing environmental record isn’t. While indigenous peoples and other rural populations have borne the brunt of the Indian state’s environmental recklessness, urban populations aren’t faring much better. Half of the 50 most polluted cities worldwide are in India.

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