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.
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.
“The worst thing about cars is that they are like castles or villas by the sea: luxury goods invented for the exclusive pleasure of a very rich minority, and which in conception and nature were never intended for the people”. So starts Andre Gorz’s justly famous 1973 essay which remains as relevant today as ever.
The 900km, all-weather road enhancing connectivity between four major Hindu pilgrimage sites is PM Modi’s pet project. It will not only displace hundreds of people, but create a massive rush of pilgrims, putting untold pressure on the delicate Himalayan ecology. Experts say it’s also ill-conceived, given its location on the ‘floodway’ of the Ganga basin.
Jindal, Adani, Vedanta are the Big Three who are transporting most of the millions of tonnes of coal unloaded at Goa’s Mormugao Port every year. In a painstaking investigation carried out over four months, Smitha Nair of The Indian Express tracked three key coal routes to find a trail of health hazards and environmental damage.
From Truthout.org: This superbly researched 2015 paper explains why China’s unfolding environmental crisis is so horrific, so much worse than “normal” capitalism almost everywhere else, and why the government is incapable of suppressing pollution even from its own industries. It should serve as a warning for India, whose official policies increasingly mimic the ‘China model’.
Prem Shankar Jha in The Wire: When nearly 350 million vehicles have to be charged every day, not only will an entire nation-wide, and therefore expensive, recharging infrastructure have to be built, but the power these vehicles will consume will have to be generated first. Nearly all of this will have to come from coal.
There is a difference between an apple sold on a bandi and in a supermarket. It can happen that the price in the supermarket is lower, but it’s not difficult to understand that the ‘value’ added to it in a super market is more. Thus, the lesser the value added, the more sustainable it is.
From Chinadialogue.net: China’s massive Asian infrastructure network of proposed new roads, railways, ports and airports, linking 65 countries to itself must grapple with the same problem as the ancient Silk Road it’s been named after. Sand. Deserts present as big a problem along the “Silk Road Economic Belt” as when camel caravans ambled across Central.
To mark the bicentenary year of the bicycle, and to promote cycling among children, Ecologise Hyderabad and Ride A Cycle, Bangalore has published book on bicycle maintenance entitled ‘You and Your Cycle: A Guide to Maintenance’. The fully illustrated 40-page book is authored by Lavanya K and Shamala Kittane and is priced at Rs. 50/.
Cycle enthusiasts from across the city of Hyderabad gathered on January 29, 2017, to celebrate the bicentenary of the invention of the bicycle. The event was organised by Ecologise and included a film screening and a talk by T. Vijayendra, a founding member of Ecologise Hyderabad, on the relevance of the bicentennial year of bicycle.
Bill Laurance writes: An unprecedented spate of road building is happening now, with around 25 million kilometres of new paved roads expected by 2050. An ambitious new study that mapped all roads globally has found that roads have split the Earth’s land surface into 600,000 fragments, most of them too tiny to support significant wildlife.
Sonal Shah writes: Cities have concentrated on bettering vehicle and fuel technologies and building bus rapid transit or metro rail systems. However, they need to focus on managing demand, augmenting their bus transport systems, improving last mile connectivity and enabling compact development. This will shift people towards non-motorised and public transport and avoid motorised trips.
Vidhyadhar Date writes: A developed country is not one where the poor drive cars, but one where the rich use public transport. Building more roads to reduce congestion is like trying to put out a fire with petrol. India has failed to learn from developed countries’ mistakes and is on a disastrous path of motorization.
In the Union Budget, the government has decided to exempt the new-age cesses on electric and hybrid cars. But are these green cars really green? They do not pollute the areas that they are being used in because all they are doing is move the pollution from the point of movement to the source of electricity.
Virtually everything in our homes, everything in our stores, got there on a truck. Prior to that, 90 percent of those items were transported on a ship and/or a train. If trucks, trains, and ships stopped running, our global economy and way of life would stop too. Alice Friedemann’s new book examines precisely this prospect.
Common Dreams reports: A new analysis, published in Science Advances journal, reveals that global water scarcity is a far greater problem than previously thought, affecting 4 billion people—two-thirds of the world’s population. Previous analyses looked at water scarcity at an annual scale, and had found that water scarcity affected between 1.7 and 3.1 billion people.
The Economic Times reports: The Central government has unveiled a new Crop Insurance Scheme with the premium to be paid by farmers as low as 1.5 per cent of the sum assured for all rabi crops and 2 per cent for kharif crops. The scheme comes without any cap on overall premium rate to ensure full claims.
India’s energy emission growth at 8.2 per cent, highest globally: PwC Asian Age Buoyed by strong economic activity, India’s energy emission growth was highest in the world at 8.2 per cent last year, says a report. According to the report by global consultancy firm PwC, the sharp rise was on account of double-digit growth in
Senior Indian journalist Vidyadhar Date’s book Traffic In the Era of Climate Change was released in 2012.Given Date’s incisive work as a journalist, the book will be a major milestone in the debate on formulation of urban policy and the regulating the use and abuse of personal vehicles. Introducing the book on his Facebook post, Date writes, “I am