Blog Archives

Revising “CHIPKO (TREE-HUGGER) MOVEMENT”

chipko-movement-tree-hugging

Ever heard the words, you have got to fight for what you want; if you don’t stand up for your rights, then who will? In short, you have to take matters into your own hands instead of being passive and just wishing the problem away. And take matters into their own hands is exactly what a group of villagers did. They literally clung (chipko, loosely translated meaning hugged) on to their rights.

In 1974, in a small village named Reni located in the Himalayas, a group of female villagers stood their ground, embraced their beloved trees and saved their forest. They refused to let the contractor system of the State Forest Department decide their fate and rob them of their right to a better life. The trees do more than give aesthetic appeal to the village, they provide protection from landslides, they provide cleaner air, and they stop the erosion of land. The land that is important to the villagers for their and their live-stocks survival. Their protest paid off and their act of bravery inspired many similar acts on a grassroots level for forest protection. In the 1987, the Chipko Movement was awarded The Right Livelihood Award.

Say No to Concretisation, let our “Mother Earth” breath.

Concretisation of Trees space, leads to death of Our Friends (trees) and  Our (We, My Children & Grand Children) Future.

concretisation of trees

what is Concretisation ?

The concretisation of trees in city has been an ongoing process, not necessarily as a result of any planned strategy to damage, fell or reduce the number of trees in city, but large as a callousness and ignorance of city people towards the needs and rights of our tree friends.

Concretisation is a fiscal drive. It is a fact that each bit of soil is being covered in different parts of the the city, be it in the residential colonies, on the main avenues or even in institutional areas and campuses etc.

Why is it happening ? (More area under concrete implies more money)

One probable reason for this high rate and pace of concretisation activity is that each square feet of concretisation entails a particular charge/ rate by the civic agencies involved. Thus, with more concretisation, more money can be made by the contractor and even the agencies involved in the concretisation process. Then, there is the added pressure from the corruption that is plaguing our society today, which is also known to be manifested in this form.  More area under concrete implies more money.

The Myth, Loose soil in city is understood as an unnecessary cause of dust in people’s house. Nothing however can be far from the truth. The dust in City’s air is largely a result of the desertification of city, which is again a result of the cutting and felling of large number of trees. Unaware of this fact, city people think or equate soil with dirt and germs and for them loose soil is also a big waste since it makes for very bad parking space.

Where is it needed the most ?

It needs to be noted that in reality, choosing the concrete way is usually very expensive and used only  at places where there is heavy vehicles movement, e.g. roads and highways. At the same time, leaving areas without concrete often requires it to be maintained with greens and trees, for which no one seems to have the consideration or the patience.

Also Read: DECONCRETISATION not possible without People Support.

Grain Drain – 21 Million Tonnes of Wheat wastage every year in INDIA

India stands out for its glaring lack of infrastructure and food storage facilities, in a new study that says 21 million tonnes of wheat — equivalent to the entire production of Australia — goes waste in the country.

Recent advances in agricultural technology have helped increase India’s grain production through developments including high-yield seeds for the past five years, Reuters reports. With all this excess food, it would appear that a solution to the Indian hunger problem has been found.

But there’s a big problem — India’s storage facilities have not kept up with the grain’s pace of development. As a result, grain surpluses are now being stored outside, where the chances of rotting drastically increase.

This inefficient system has deadly consequences. Instead of the grain filling the bellies of hungry Indians, it is feeding rodents and insects, growing fungus, and decomposing. Just this year, officials estimate that 6 million tons of India’s grain worth $1.5 billion could become inedible, according to Reuters. This is while 43 percent of children under 5 are underweight, according to UNICEF. Reuters reports that 3,000 children die every day from illnesses related to malnutrition.

Bureaucratic inefficiencies and corruption are what hinder distribution to the hungry. Stories of corruption include distributors basically “cutting” the grain, mixing rotting grain with fresh grain and selling it on the market. Then there is what India’s press is calling the “mother of all scams,” with hundreds of government officials redirecting billions of dollars worth of grain away from the poor and into local and global markets.

Even in 2010, when the Supreme Court directed the government to give the grain to the hungry for free rather than let it rot, state governments ignored the request or only distributed grain with low, subsidized prices to people with ration cards.

While the grain is clearly not feeding hungry Indians, it is also not making the government any money either.

Due in part to “good” monsoons, the surplus’ real impetus is provided by government subsidies to farmers, creating incentive to harvest as many crops as possible, even when the supply outweighs the demand. With the inflated prices the government pays to farmers for the crops, exporting the surplus becomes a problem because of the much lower market value the crops garner in world markets.

According to the same Reuters article, the Indian government pays about $346 per ton. To be competitive in the market, a ton would have to sell for about $260. That $80 difference constitutes a huge loss for a government already running a high fiscal deficit. The crops don’t feed who they should and in the end, actually cost the government billions.

Growing organic market beckons to India’s rural farmers

Indian farmers have started to reap dividends from their budding interest in organic farming. It wasn’t long back, around seven years ago, when Indian farmers started to go organic.

In 2006-07, around 4.32 lakh ha reported organic produce — a large portion came from wild and non-agricultural land — which has now reached around 11 lakh ha, as per the recent report ‘The World of Organic Agriculture, 2013’ by FiBL and IFOAM (Research Institute of Organic Agriculture and International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements).

“The growth rate has reached around 20% per year, much higher than early expectations,” says Krishan Chandra, director, National Centre of Organic Farming.

The current market for organic foods in India is pegged at Rs.2,500 crore, which according to ASSOCHAM, is expected to reach Rs.6,000 crore by 2015.

It’ll still leave us at 1% of the global market. Thus, a huge potential is seen in the nascent Indian organic sector.

“Apart from states like Sikkim or MP, we’re seeing a rising interest in Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, UP and Bihar,” says Chandra.

India outnumbers every other country in terms of organic producers — with an estimated 5,47,591.

Organic products, which until now were mainly being exported, are now finding consumers in the domestic market.

“Even Tier II cities like Nagpur, Allahabad, Gorakhpur and Bhatinda show an increase in organic consumption,” says Sunil Kumar, AGM at Morarka Rural Research Foundation.

According to a survey of 1,000 consumers in ten cities done by Morarka Organic Foods, around 30% of Indian consumers preferred organic products and were even prepared to pay 10 to 20% more for them.

“Soil abused by chemical fertiliser excesses takes more time to produce comparable yields. Although, the cost of organic cultivation is much less, reducing cost incurred in purchasing costly inputs,” says Rohitashwa Ghakar, Project Head, International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture.

Green Article : Protect Mother Earth Ecological Balance.

Yet for a long time, we humans have lived our lives on this planet as if we own the Earth.

To make way for societal developments, we have destroyed many natural habitats to many plant and animal species. We have been carrying out deforestation and clearing of natural grasslands at alarming rates, for reasons such as to extract resources (eg. paper, tin, etc) from the earth, or simply to get more land for developments (eg. farming, building of cities, landfills).

In the process, we have striped other creatures of their habitats and even lives. With the destruction of forests, we are also hindering the earth’s ability to clean itself of excessive pollutants and carbon dioxide (which contributes to global warming), resulting in a less ideal climate for both ourselves and other living organisms.

To feed our increasing population, we have been stretching the earth beyond its limits, through activities such as over-farming and over-fishing. Unrelenting, we continue to seek to challenge these limits, through inventing new ways of producing more for our greedy species. We introduced the use of man-made chemical fertilizers, artificial hormonal injection in farm animals, and genetic engineering.

In the process, we have introduced many man-made and harmful substances into other species, the environment and ourselves (unwittingly, we have also tainted the quality of our food supplies, and bring harm to our bodies). And many of these substances have impact still beyond our full comprehension.

The ecological balance we have with other living organisms has been greatly upset. Many plant and animal species have gone extinct as a result of man’s actions. And this is even before we have even discovered their existence!

The loss of the numerous plant species also mean goodbye to important sources of medicinal plants and herbs that could potentially be cures to deadly diseases plaguing mankind today.

GREEN SOLUTION. GET GREEN.

We need to be more responsible and proactive in protecting the earth’s ecological balance. This environmental consciousness should be present, whether we are dealing with government policies, or industrial and economic activities, or in our daily living.

It should not be a matter of convenience, or doing whatever we can within the limits of our societal or economic constraints. In fact, considerations for the environment should come first. For without a planet to live in, there would be no room for societal or economic life.

As an individual is you should not over-consume (not just food, but other goods and services as well). In addition, you should also encourage those around you to do the same. By consuming just what we need, we reduce the strain we place on the earth as a source of our resources.

Keep an organic garden, or even start an organic farm, and help reintroduce more life (beyond humans and our needs) on this planet. Use organic products instead of products that release harmful chemicals into the environment. Donate regularly to forest or wildlife conservation efforts. Or better still, protect a piece of forest land under your name. Respect the lives of other living creatures (plants and animals alike, not just pet dog or cat), and also educate your kids on the importance of doing so. In this way, you would have built the foundations for a more environmentally-conscious generation.

All these efforts will contribute now and in the long run to keeping this earth sustainable.

OFAI (Organic Farming Association of India) : Organic Farming in INDIA

Organic farming in India is the form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost and biological pest control. Organic farming is done using only natural and organic materials. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Increasing environmental awareness in the general population has transformed the originally supply-driven movement to a demand-driven one. Most of the western countries import coco peat blocs from India.

OFAI was set up by the Indian organic farming community, environmentalists and social activists in order to promote organic farming, lobby for its official adoption by the Indian government, assist farmers dependent on chemicals to convert to organic systems, help organic farmers with marketing their organic produce and advise its members on how to educate their children outside the urban-oriented school system so that they could be excellent stewards of the lands they inherit.

Advantages of using organic foods

  • Health: Organic foods are produced without the use of pesticides that could cause serious illnesses
  • Good for the animals: People who eat organic are happy to know the animals are not confined to a caged life, pumped full of hormones, or treated badly.
  • Environmental Safety: Harmful chemicals are not used in organic farming, and there is minimal soil, air, and water pollution being produced. Also, many organic farmers donate/support causes to help save the planet.
  • Better taste: Most people strongly believe organic foods taste better than non-organic foods. This could be because they are much fresher.

Many people are realizing the benefits of eating organic and are trying to do their part by buying all of their foods organic.