Blog Posts by author Sunita Narain | Centre for Science and Environment

Blog Posts by author Sunita Narain


Sunita Narain

Director General of CSE and publisher of Down To Earth, an environmentalist pushing for changes in policies and  practices and mindsets. More>>

31 May 2007

My worst fears are coming true; and that has more to do with the politics of climate change than its reality. While concern on global warming reaches a crescendo, the world, instead of finding resolutions, is hurtling towards discord and dispute. Let us be clear: we do not have time to waste on bad politics and bad politicians.

15 May 2007

Now that the reality of climate change has been accepted even by its strongest sceptics, there is a rush to find answers. The latest buzz is to substitute the use of greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels with biofuels—fuel processed from plants. Unfortunately, the way we are going about implementing this “good” idea could mean we are headed from the frying pan to the fire.

30 April 2007

I wrote last fortnight about how mining in Goa for iron ore was ripping its forests and devastating its people. I wrote of the violence and protests I saw in its villages, where miners were pitted against people angry at the loss of their cultivable lands and their water bodies. I had asked then: what are we doing? I ask this again.

15 April 2007

We were standing between a massive mine and a stunning water reservoir. Local activists were explaining to me that this iron ore mine was located in the catchment of the Salaulim water reservoir, the only water source for south Goa. Suddenly, as I started clicking with my camera, we were surrounded by a jeepload of men. They said they were from the mine management and wanted us off the property. We explained that we had come on a public path and that there were no signs to indicate that we were trespassing. But they were not in a mood to listen.

31 March 2007

It can be said that Union budget, 2007, is high on symbolism and intent. Most people in and close to power acknowledge that something is spoiling booming India’s party: price rise, agricultural decay, poverty, mainly. This budget, says finance minister P Chidambaram, is the government’s way to fix these problems so that growth is inclusive. But will the words and allocated funds add up to coherence and content?

15 March 2007

Call it is one of the unknown Indian ironies. Over many years, the Indian state, through its public irrigation agencies, has systematically taken over the management of surface water systems. It has taken over the job of building irrigation systems—dams, reservoirs and canals—then maintaining these and supplying water. This has meant that over the years it has taken over water resources from the hands of village communities. The irony is that even as the state has vested this power in itself, people have taken water under their control.

28 February 2007

Now that the jury is out on the very real threat of climate change, we must focus on what needs to be done. The recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (ipcc) should make climate-sceptics like us president George Bush blush.

15 February 2007

Every society must understand how the excreta it produces is managed. It teaches us many things about water, about waste, about technologies to clean, economics and politics: of who is subsidised to defecate in our societies. But, most importantly, it teaches us humility. We know so little about our own world. If we knew better, we would understand why we are failing to ensure our present and why we will all need to do things differently, if we want to safeguard our future.

31 January 2007

RECENTLY, the Rajasthan High Court, concerned about lesser tigers in the Ranthambore tiger reserve, directed that all vehicles should be denied entry into the park. The response was immediate and furious. Conservationists, tiger lovers and tourist operators combined to argue that the ban would destroy the hotel industry and hit livelihoods of tourist operators. Angry scenes of foreign tourists denied sight of the tiger flashed on national media.

15 January 2007

The year 2006 will go down as environment’s watershed year. This is not because this year we have had extraordinary success in environmental management; there was also no environmental disaster per se. This year must be remembered because the task of environmental management has come to be even more contested and even more challenged. Protests against environmental degradation have grown. But so have efforts to deny environmental concerns or to dilute regulations.

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