July 21, 2010

The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) is a public interest research and advocacy organisation based in New Delhi. The Centre researches into, lobbies for and communicates the urgency of development that is both sustainable and equitable. 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 biomass based subsistence economy, at the margins of survival. The environment is their only natural asset. But a degraded environment means stress on land, water and forest resources for survival. It means increasing destitution and poverty.

Here, opportunity to bring about change is enormous. But it will need a commitment to reform — structural reform — in the way we do business with local communities. On the other hand, rapid industrialisation is throwing up new problems: growing toxification and a costly disease burden. The answers will be in reinventing the growth model of the Western world for ourselves, so that we can leap frog technology choices and find new ways of building wealth that will not cost us the earth. This is the challenge of the balance. 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 this through our research and by communicating our understanding through our publications. We call this knowledge-based activism. We hope we will make a difference.