FOOTFALLS: Obstacle Course To Livable Cities

July 07, 2009

The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) is a public interest research andadvocacy organisation based in New Delhi. The Centre researches into, lobbies forand communicates the urgency of development that is both sustainable andequitable.

The scenario today demands using knowledge to bring about change. In other words,working India’s democracy. This is what we aim to do.

The challenge, we see, is two-pronged. On the one hand, millions live within a biomassbasedsubsistence economy, at the margins of survival. The environment is their onlynatural asset. But a degraded environment means stress on land, water and forestresources for survival. It means increasing destitution and poverty.

Here, opportunity to bring about change is enormous. But it will need a commitment toreform — structural reform — in the way we do business with local communities.On the other hand, rapid industrialisation is throwing up new problems: growingtoxification and a costly disease burden. The answers will be in reinventing the growthmodel of the Western world for ourselves, so that we can leapfrog technology choices andfind new ways of building wealth that will not cost us the earth. This is the challenge of thebalance.

Our aim is to raise these concerns, participate in seeking answers and — more importantly— in pushing for answers and transforming these into policy and practice. We do thisthrough our research and by communicating our understanding through ourpublications. We call this knowledge-based activism. We hope we will make a difference.