Story | Centre for Science and Environment

Story


Capacity Building

CSE organises orientation programmes for regulators from Indian and South Asian cities enabling regulatory capacity, facilitating intercity dialogue on common concerns, challenges and solutions through sharing of experiences.

Action Tracker

Change is possible in our cities. Public action has made this possible. Unhealthy air pollution spikes are lower in cities in the lead.

Another co2alition of the willing?

It was the biannual gathering of over 100,000 Protestants in Bremen, a small town in Germany. As the articulate minister for environment, Sigmar Gabriel, came to participate in a discussion on energy security for a climate-secure world, many stood up. Soon the hall was full of blue placards, held high, all saying: “No to coal.” The minister, I could see, was riled. He believed he was the environmentalist in the crowd. He said he would build coal power stations, because the country was phasing out nuclear power.

Time to be different

The new (old) government is back. The question is if it has learnt its most important lesson: how to enjoin its political agenda to the agenda of government.

The real pandemic

The influenza A(H1N1) virus is not transmitted to humans by eating pork, that much is now known and said. But what are the origins of this virus, winging across our air-travel interdependent world? Why is this question never asked? Why are the big doctors of our world looking for a vaccine for all kinds of influenza without checking on what makes us so susceptible to pandemics, year after year? Is there something more to the current contagion?

The challenge of the chulha

About 24 years ago, I was in a house in a small village some distance from Udaipur town in Rajasthan. A government functionary was explaining how an improved chulha (cookstove) worked— they had installed it in the kitchen. At that time, India was waking up to forests being devastated. It was believed then (wrongly, as it turned out) the key reason was poor people cutting trees to cook food. It was also being understood smoke from chulhas was carcinogenic and that women were worst hit by this pollution.

Elections 2009: Where is the green party?

Whenever election to India’s Lok Sabha approaches, two questions tend to emerge: When will India get a green party? Are environmental issues important in our elections? The answers are interlinked; they relate to the nature of the Indian electoral system as well as the nature of India’s environmental concerns.

The right right

The world’s cheapest car, the Nano, rolls out in India this week. Manufacturer Tata Motors says it will change the way Indians drive, for the inauguration places the personal car within the reach of people who once could only dream of owning one. Indeed, the Nano has been marketed as an ‘aspiration’—the right of every Indian to a car. No quibble here. There is no question an affordable car is better than an expensive one; or that a small car, being more fuel efficient, is better than a big one.

Not rebuilding for tomorrow

The global meltdown led to expectations governments would use money to reinvent economies for climate change. The plan was simple: spend obscene amounts of public money in infrastructure and other projects, to stimulate national economies. If this money got spent on all those things which would improve the environmental sustainability of countries, it would go a long way in building the foundation for the new-age world. It would make us climate-proof and insure us against the excesses of an out-of-control market.

Our smaller future

A year ago, in this very column, I discussed the myopia of budget 2008, which did not touch upon events then beginning to unfold. Since then we have seen the world collapse and, perhaps, even change forever.

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