M IL E S TON E JU N E
S U C C E S S F U L Y E A R
INDIA bringing people together JUNE 2011 www.expressions.icareindia.co.in
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ExpressionS JUNE 2011
from the editor’s desk
WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY &
EXPRESSIONS’ FIRST ANNIVERSARY
Even if mistakenly an artist looked around to find a muse in nature, nothing about it inspired him. He was heading towards a time of no inspiration and no potential. He concluded that inspiration be taken from the sketched landscapes and the stories and poems told, to create again that which had inspired these. This is the man that lives today - a being that aims to re-create its past, re-create potential and re-create inspiration. “I” is each of billions of beings that man has manifested himself in the form of. And every “I” must seek to fulfill this aim. The reason for the importance of “I” takes us back to the introduction of this note - only “I” can. So, it is the combined power of every individual that can save this planet now. And what our anniversary issue has in store for its readers is along these lines. We’ve covered everything from nature-deterioration causes, their impacts and of the methods of redemption that we may want to follow. A small excerpt from Ruskin Bond’s story The Cherry Tree explains beautifully how every seed sown for the love of nature is a deed, above all: “There are so many trees in this forest,” said Rakesh. “What is so special about this tree? Why do we like it so much?” “We planted it ourselves,” said grandpa, “that is why it is special.”
I believe in me - for only I can set right the wrong doings of the past and only I can ensure that tomorrow sustains life. My actions of the present will define who I am and give my children a chance to make their own present of the future I build for them. “iCare” - because only I can. On its first birthday, and also as it celebrates World Environment Day, “Expressions” will begin with the tale of inspiration, potential and I. Throughout history, we’ve seen surroundings inspire man. Our ancestors in the Stone Age told tales of the wild -beautiful yet dangerous, with its unknown beasts. As man progressed, he discovered the unknown, in the process discovering the potential in his surroundings of shaping his future. Soon, man and the wild were distinguishable as man became “civil” and well, wild remained wild. Nature continued to inspire man, even as he cooked, cleaned, dressed and constructed (remember, nature’s potential? Yes, he tapped it!), for artists sketched landscapes, novelists told stories and poets talked of rainbows. Gradually, man forgot inspiration, but as luck may have it, remembered potential. Potential, hence became the barometer of power. The more you exploited it, the more were you were, you know a power-man. But remember what we say about payback? Nature took a whole new global warming-iceberg melting-people punishing turn and reminded man of his folly in its own twisted way.
“Just one small seed?” said Rakesh, and he touched the smooth bark of the tree that had grown. He ran his hand along the trunk of the tree and put his finger to the tip of a leaf. “I wonder,” he whispered, “if this is what it feels like to be God.” God is our Creator. Technically, God is the creator of our surroundings too. But, what if we decided to play Indiana Jones with God’s other creations for some time? It’s not too late to retrace our steps yet. Re-creation of what we destructed definitely counts as a shot towards feeling like the Almighty (No, sadly “creating” a concrete landscape implies continuing to play till game-over). So, go enkindle the spirit of God, of creation (or even re-creation sounds good), in you!
Features Editor, Expressions
ExpressionS JUNE 2011
M I L E S T O N E the CREATORS Pooja Bhatt
the expressions INSIDE
Expressions - the next step to an achievement Yudhishter Puran Singh & Pooja Bhatt The Butterfly Diaries - Solifugids ko salaam! Col. Ashwin Baindur
I S S U E
Yudhishter Puran Singh FOUNDER & EDITOR
CREATIVE EDITOR & DESIGNER
E2 - Environment & Economics Ms. Surbhi Arora
COPY & DESK EDITOR
Renewable Energy Gunajit Brahma
Ways to Photographing Doon Sandip Puran Singh
Photo Stor y Banajit Pathak
Chetna Gurung Saptarshi Bhattacharyya
ExpressionSchool - Human creates its deadliest foe Swaraj Bose Green Corporate - apple going green Naman Khanduri
ADVERTISING Rohit Bedi
REST OF INDIA
The need for nuclear waste management Adhideb Bhattacharya and Ankit Srivastava
Winged Wonders - Bird Photography couldn’t have been simpler than this… Dr. Caeser Sengupta ExpressionSchool - Nature, no longer natural? Anirudh Khanna Environmental Law - a glossar y Namrata Walia
World View - a world beyond us Isabelle Richaud
ExpressionS JUNE 2011
ExpressionS24 FOOTPRI NTS
bringing people together
Sandip Puran Singh
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Views and opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of Expressions., its publisher and/or editors. We at Expressions do our best to verify the information published but do not take any responsibility for the absolute accuracy of the information
expressions the next step to an achievement Yudhishter Puran Singh 22 year old graduate from Mumbai University, a young entrepreneur who loves to devote whatever time he can towards creating awareness about the need for preserving environment. Presently he leads the icare team and is also the editor of expressions
Pooja Bhatt a design student currently studying in NIFT Bangalore. She’s a nature enthusiast and cares about the planet and wants to prevent its deterioration. She loves music, cinema, learning, art, ideas, reading, writing and so on.
It wasn’t an idea suspending in space but a journey which commenced in June 2010. It filled me with a spirit of wonder and exuberance, a journey symbolizes treading a path and we undertake different ones in the course of our lives, when we walk a path, we get accustomed to it and learn through it. So, just Like a bud that blossoms into a flower, our journey began in the cluelessness. Well sort of like a cocooned vision that could picture a planet so green, so beautiful that we wished for that picture to be real, that picture to be painted by everyone who dwells on this planet. The world is full of ignorance and we have seen so much gone wrong since the past two decades. Initially it seemed like a challenge but as Thomas Fuller rightly said, “All things are difficult before they are easy.” We learnt by doing it. We took the first step and things fell into place. That goes for any idea! Expressions commenced its humble journey in June 2010 with the club led by
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Yudhishter Puran Singh. In the beginning, we were pretty anxious by the massive task that followed since none of us exactly knew how to go about it, but slowly things fell into place. There’s a lot of hue and cry about Saving the Environment and Going Green. Everyone seems to be pitching the same thing be it corporate or even movie stars. There’s been like an influx of environmental consciousness, but that doesn’t change the fact that mistreating the planet and its resources has not come to an end, but it’s on a decline for sure. And with constant efforts, there will be a time when it’ll be alright. This web portal was an idea to bring together different voices- voices that transcend all barriers. We had people contributing from diverse backgrounds. Expressions was initially restricted to preserve the beauty of the Doon valley which has seen a sad change due to so many developmental changes happening across the city but overtime we widened our scope of concern and
the magazine raised important issues. Started of with a bunch of students, we now have a youth force lending a hand. Our readership grew as time passed. It has been as glorious platform for me as it enabled and empowered me to express my concern. It’s been a year now, nostalgia grips me as it’s been a very special ride. Pooja rightly said, the journey has truly been a memorable one and the best part being when we started this last year we had no clue what we are entering into. The team back then comprised of Pooja, Akshay and me. Running a full-fledged monthly magazine can surely be demanding and there were times when everything seemed just not possible, but that’s when the support and encouragement of our readers gave us the confidence to move forward and make the impossible seem possible. With each passing month the level of expectancy rose by many folds and every member of the team had to make each minute count, and that is when walked in Shubhodeep and Karishma, who
have single handedly taken charge of editing for Expressions. Today we have people from all across the globe writing in for us, we have our magazine being circulated to consulates, govt. offices, 100’s of schools and colleges across India and the best part being we have ensured we keep up with our eco-friendly image and even today despite offers of switching over from an e-magazine to print format we have stood firm and decided not to do so. It will probably not be possible for us to mention each and every person who has made this dream possible for us, but we take this opportunity to thank just about everybody who has been directly or indirectly associated with Expressions. Personally I couldn’t have been happier because the ultimate objective of icare-India is giving the youth a chance, a chance to express themselves and make a difference.
Expressions signifies the power of the youth. I take this platform to urge each person to make each day count, it is the small things that eventually matter. Do not think what you can do after 5 years, but think how you can contribute your 5 minutes to the betterment of the planet today. The impetus is on us to bring about a change, a change which can only be made possible by the youth. This will only be possible when we push ourselves and start demanding a better planet. Express yourself and you will be surprised what all can be made possible.
Solifugids ko salaam! (hail the Solifugids!)
Col Ashwin Baindur
the Butterfly Diaries
a serving army officer who has a great love for Dehradun having been an alumnus of the Indian Military Academy in 1983-84 and the Wildlife Institute of India at its very inception in the FRI in 1985. The author has trekked extensively with his high point being a visit to the Inner Sanctuary of Nandadevi during an army ecological expedition in 1993. He edits Wikipedia extensively on topics dealing with Indian Natural History.
In my family, it is usually my son, Aashay, or me who exclaims at the beauty of a bird or goggles at the Chinkara loitering amongst the dunes. My daughter Aditi, is the sophisticate, who has a been-there, done-that attitude towards this whole ‘animal thing’. Animals do not interest this ten year old; she is into horror films, the more gory and Gothic the better. So it was with some surprise that during a trip in 2006 to the Jaisalmer desert, where I was posted, that Aditi had an interesting interlude with, of all things, Solifugids. Solifugids are mysterious arthropods. Unknown to most people, they are misunderstood even amongst those who are familiar with them. I suspect that the only people who might be supposed to know about them, scientists, don’t actually, because till date none of them has bothered to tell me anything about these strange creatures! What are solifuges, you ask? Don’t worry, I take no offense at your query. Solifuges are large members of the tribe ‘arthropods‘ (meaning jointed creatures). The arthropods consist of the millions of six-legged insects, and the many more-thansix-legged other creatures such as crabs, spiders and the various -pedes. A solifuge is not an insect but one of the others, a relative of the spiders, and other eight-legged creatures, which are referred to as Arachnids. The clan is scientifically so named because of its dislike for the sun. They take refuge from the sun, so Sol (meaning Sun) and refuge (meaning refuge) = Solifuge. Get it?
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As far as the common names are concerned, the common people have not quite decided what they resemble more – spiders or scorpions so that they are commonly referred to, both as wind-scorpions and camel-spiders! And sometimes, most insultingly to all solifugids, they are also called sun-spiders or sun-scorpions despite their obvious and lifelong abhorrence of the sun. If a Solifugid is disturbed by day, he will first of all dart into the coolest shade he can find which may well be your shadow. If you move away and so does your shadow, you should not be surprised to find the solifugid following in order to keep out of the blazing sun. This behaviour can be quite un-nerving to those who don’t know much about Solifugids and has led the birth of many urban legends about Solifugids in Iraq amongst American soldiers. The desert floor is the hunting ground of these creatures who spend their day deep in the crevices of rocks or nooks amongst roots or wherever they can hide from the heat and light of the Sun. They emerge after dark, still careful to keep in the deep shadows or even deeper, if possible. Being cup or saucer-sized, a Solifugid in the light is guaranteed to get screams from the female members of a party. In actuality, they are completely and totally harmless to man! Each self-respecting garden in the Thar desert has a solifugid so did my garden in ‘Casa Grande’ as we colloquially referred to my modest bungalow.
The very next day, another Solifugid, this time a juvenile was caught in a neighbouring compund, and there was another fight before it was decided as to which Solifugid belonged to whom. The juvenile then underwent the indignity of being christened ”Rustam”. Rustam was overall smaller in size, his legs were proportionally smaller, he was more docile or well-behaved but he was never quite as interesting as ”Solli”.
”Ashwin”, she said, ”there is a crab under my feet!” ”Dont worry dear, just a desert crab, I’m sure!” was my enlightened response. Those were the days when I too was ignorant about Solifuges, not having been introduced to any, thank you! The kids immediately said, ”Where, where?” But the solifuge wisely decided to stay out of the limelight and so a torch was sent for and obtained. The torch beam was pointed here and there between our legs but with limited success, for, the creature, once illuminated refused to stay put! Now this became a prestige issue for the family. I always maintain that any creepy or crawlie which heads towards us does so at his own embarrasment and risk. The family rallied together and cornered the recalcitrant beast. It was a most curious creature! A solifuge looks like a thorny, bristly, cross between an insect and a large spider. Though it may look poisonous or venomous, it is not. It has an insect-like body but with eight ten legs instead of six, with the forward-most pair of ‘leg’s actually being pedipalps which are used for feeding and capturing prey. The solifugid has a pair of eyes perched closely together at the top of his head and you very soon get the feeling that he understands whatever is happening and knows everything! The solifugid kept moving throughout the garden and we succeeded in getting photographs by night despite my
Photographed at last! The first solifugid
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‘’Solli’’, the first camel-spider pet in our family. Note his pointed jaws which are chelicerae. He has two above and two below which have a strong pincer grip. inexperience in photography. At that point of time my kids were going through a scorpion fetish. The scorpion mania took the form of not just asking questions about scorpions or reading about them, but by incarcerating any scorpion foolish enough to come within ten yards of the two. Aashay in his quiet confident way mastered the art of capturing scorpions safely and painlessly. He would herd a scorpion onto a large piece of cardboard and once the creature got onto it he would place an empty jar upturned over it and flip the cardboard so that the scorpion first found that he was trapped on a cardboard with glass all around, then found himself falling through space into the glass-jar as it was inverted. Many unwary scorpions on venturing out after dark now found themselves part of a glass-jar menagerie. But with Solifugids around, scorpions are small game. Inevitably, desires escalated and it was resolved that there was no reason why they should not catch a Solifugid, so the scorpions were gratified to gain clemency, a larger piece of cardboard and a larger jar were procured and in due course of time the Casa Grande solifugid was trapped! Aditi promptly declared that the scorpions had been Dada’s pets so this pet was hers! This was violently contradicted and like siblings the world over the two feuded and had a fierce yelling match with accusations and counter-accusations. The matter was finally resolved with a truce suggested by the Missus that the Solifugid was to be shared till they procured another when they each would have their own! My forceful remonstrations that while by catching the Solufugid they had proved a point but
Gesturing fiercely with his pedipalps! that keeping it would not be a good idea, were not even acknowledged by anyone. If you have a pet, it must have a name. So Solifugid number One was promptly named ”Soli”! The Solifugid then proceeded to become the darling of our lives. It had a large plastic bread-box as a temporary home. Here he paraded while he was inspected and examined and shown to anyone within range! Solli took grave exception to being disturbed. Even a finger extended towards him outside the translucent box angered him. Then he would sway back and forth on his legs waving his forward pair threateningly and gnashing his jaws in a up-down motion. At one time, he took such an exception to a toothbrush waved at him that he jumped and almost succeeded in escaping out of the box. This performance increased his value and he became a dearer pet to Aditi.
That night I had nightmares of finding myself sharing the bed with a solifugid instead of my wife! Fortunately for all concerned, the Solifugids had resolutely refused all offers of vegetarian and nonvegetarian food so that I could lay down the law. The kids agreed very reluctantly to release them
the butterfly diaries
the butterfly diaries
So it happened one day, as we sat in the garden at dusk with some of the verandah light weakly illuminating patches between our legs and those of the chairs, that a shadowy figure darted in between causing my wife to involuntarily lift and fold her legs onto the chair.
Solli, seen once again, patrolling his garden! but not without an elaborate release ceremony the following evening. Though Rustam and Solli had ended their membership of the Baindur family, Solli continued to be seen on his night-time hunts in the garden.
‘’Rustam’’ joins the family JUNE 2011
Ms Surbhi Arora
a UGC NET qualified faculty member, with around fourteen years of experience in industry and academics. She is a graduate in Commerce and Law. Presently she is pursuing PhD from UPES in the area of Oil & Gas Management. Her research interests include Petro Economics, Micro Economics and Interactional Dimensions of Law & Economics. She believes that our thoughts lead to actions and actions to results. According to her, hard work and consistency have to be the two pillars supporting one’s achievement.
With its array of gadgets and machines, all powered by energy produced bydestroying of land or air or water, and connected to work, market, school, recreation, etc., by gasoline engines, the modern home is a veritable factory of waste and destruction with its gadgets and machines that consume energy produced by destroying land, air and water. It is the mainstay of the economy. But within the economies of energy and nature, it is a catastrophe. It takes in the world’s goods and converts them into garbage, sewage, and noxious fumes—for none of which have we found a use. Wendell Berry Environmental economics is the subset of economics that is concerned with the efficient allocation of environmental resources. The environment providesbothdirect value as well as raw material required for economic activity, thus making the environment and the economy interdependent. The way in which the economy is managed has an impact on the environment which, in turn, affects both welfare and the performance of the economy. One of the best known critics of traditional economic thinking about the environment is
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Herman Daly. In his first book, Steady-State Economics, Daly suggested that “enough is best,” arguing that economic growthleads to environmental degradation and inequalities in wealth. He asserted that the economy is a subset of our environment, which is finite. Therefore his notion of a steady-state economy is one in which there is an optimal level of population and economic activity which leads to sustainability. Daly calls for a qualitative improvement in people’s lives - development - without perpetual growth. Today, many of his ideas are associated with the concept of Sustainable Development.
By the late 1970s, the late economist Julian Simon began countering arguments against economic growth. His milestone work was The Ultimate Resource, published in 1981 and updated in 1996 as The Ultimate Resource 2, in which he concludes there is no reason why welfare should not continue to improve and that increasing population contributes to that improvement in the long run. His theory was that population growth and increased income puts pressure on resource supplies; this increases prices, which provides both opportunity and incentive for innovation; eventually the innovations are so successful that prices end up below what they were before the resource shortages occurred. In Simon’s view, a key factor in economic growth is the human capacity for creating new ideas and contributing to the knowledge base. Therefore, the more people who can be trained to help solve arising problems, the faster obstacles are removed, and the greater the economic condition for current and future generations. Environmental economics takes into consideration issues such as the conservation and valuation of natural resources, pollution control, waste management and recycling, and the efficient creation of emission standards. Economics is an important tool for making decisions about the use, conservation, and protection of natural resources because it provides information about choices people make, the costs and benefits of vari-
ous proposed measures, and the likely outcome of environmental and other policies. Since resources - whether human, natural, or monetary - are not infinite, these public policies are most effective when they achieve the maximum possible benefit in the most efficient way. Therefore, one job of policymakers is to understand how resources can be utilized most efficiently in order to accomplish the desired goals by weighing the costs of various alternatives to their potential benefits. Assessing the economic value of the environment is a major topic within the field. Use and indirect use are tangible benefits accruing from natural resources or ecosystem services. Non-use values include existence, option, and bequest values. For example, some people may value the existence of a diverse set of species, regardless of the effect of the loss of a species on ecosystem services. The existence of these species may have an option value, as there may be possibility of using it for some human purpose (certain plants may be researched for drugs). Individuals may value the ability to leave a pristine environment to their children.
environment & economics
Eenvironment & economics 2
Coming from the background of finance, economics and law, I could not help but scrutinize the environmental aspects from these three angles. In the columns to come, we will be talking about the economical aspects, financial implications,regulations, and other myths and truths of GOING GREEN!
According to John Browne, Group Chief Executive, British Petroleum Company, “We want to see…the efficient production and use of energy, so that the products we produce and the way we produce them pose no threat to the world’s natural environment…economic development…so that more and more of the world’s population can enjoy…the things which the energy industry supplies… (and) a society in which ideas and knowledge move freely.”
an environmentalist, social worker, volunteer and a poet. He is also an entrepreneur working in the area of renewable energy and plans to make it accessible to every individual in this world. He is one of the Partner at Renewable Bazaar (http://renewablebazaar.com/) and is doing PGDM (2010-12) at IIM Indore. He enjoys being closure to nature and likes to trek and cycle with friends.”
A Letter to my Friends... I wish to share, via this article, my passion with you, a passion that got highlighted by chance while reading a course book-a book that helped shape my today. The book was on Environmental Microbiology, prescribed when I was pursuing M.Sc in Microbiology in Bangalore.
It’s been some years now since I last read that book, but I feel that the thought process that came over me while reading the book and the subsequent teachings that came my way through hard-work and experience helped me in becoming what I am right now, and I hope that my experience helps you in working on your passion and in following your dreams, whatever they may be.
As I am from the north-eastern part of India, I have seen nature up close and in its true “painted” form. I have wonderful childhood memories of-lying under a tree, looking at the clear blue sky and the fluffy clouds passing by; Siberian cranes near my school field, parrots flying, butterflies of vivid patterns buzzing around and the beautiful stroke of greenery all around me. I remember mystic mountains and evergreen trees and places where there was no electricity, but still boasted of a beautiful and happy life. Even now as I write about it, a sense of calmness runs through me besides the nostalgia of the days gone by, of a life so close to mother Earth.
I will not disclose here the name or author of the book because of two primary reasons. One, that I have honestly forgotten the name of the book and secondly, I think I should not be specifying the importance of one book (because I am biased towards it) over many other good books that you readers like to read or will read in the near future, books that might shape you and help you become what you are capable of, that is, doing many
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While reading a topic from that book on ecology and environmental impact of projects that we humans constantly undertake, I realized that whatever we do directly or indirectly affects the environment in many ways.
I was missing those things in Bangalore, which is on the other hand, a busy, cosmopolitan city, the perfect example of globaliza-
Energy has been the making or breaking point of human civilisations, after water and food. Inside the human body, energy plays a vital role in our day to day activities.
tion and India’s supremacy in Information Technology. Let’s get back to the book now. As I was reading it, I realised that the progression of mankind started after the creation of fire. The early cavemen sealed the very fate of humanity by learning the ability to control it and use it wilfully. Fire is nothing but a form of energy. During that age, fire made nomadic cavemen live together and protected them from wild animals. It taught them as to how they could overcome their fears (due to darkness). They could cook their food for the first time, enabling better digestion and healthier food (as the heat destroyed several microorganisms). Later, thermal energy (obtained by burning coal) was the chief sustainer of the industrial revolution. In short, Energy has been the making or breaking point of human civilisations, after water and food. Inside the human body, energy plays a vital role in our day to day ac-
tivities. Energy also creates balance in the environment, as is evident from the study of food chains and food webs. All energy that is taken from the environment must be given back to it. Consumption should equal replenishment. Today, most of the world’s energy needs are met by coal and oil. These sources of energy are nothing but small packets of carbon-based resources, buried underground for millions of years, extracted today by man to fuel his activities. These resources that exist naturally are being burnt to produce carbon molecules in the air instead. So, a form of energy given to us by nature is being instead replenished with a nature-killer, nicknamed carbon dioxide. Consequence: climatic change.
Climatic change is a natural process; it has been taking place since even before man walked the Earth and will continue even after we become extinct from this planet. But what we humans are presently doing is speeding up the process by burning fossil fuels (like coal and oil) and damaging the natural ecosystem. By polluting the environment we tend to believe that as a civilisation we have modernised and advanced, but the fact remains that every civilisation that exploited its naturally occurring resources in the name of development has perished. So if we also do not consider environment-friendly sources of energy to be the stepping stones for our advancement and development, we too might perish, not only as a civilisation, but as a living being.
There is nothing civil about a civilisation that runs by polluting its environment.
“Water has the very useful quality of being able to both reflect and transmit light” It is also has the ability to create every tone from pure black to brilliant white, making it one of the most effective subjects for monochrome photography. Water can also display a full spectrum of colour, conjure a mood and help to create very atmospheric images.
Sandip Puran Singh
Founder of SUSWA, an NGO working along the northern boundary of Rajaji National Park. He’s also an avid bird watcher and an amateur aturalist working on the Doon valley.
photograph doon 7 ways to
rock in the left foreground. I set an exposure of about 1/40 second and to record the moving water as a soft, homogenous blur the aperture to F5, White Balance at Auto and the Metering Mode to Matrix.
PhotographingWater It may be something to do with our origins, but few people can resist the attraction of water. Whether it is a tiny rippling brook, a peaceful lake or a raging river in the monsoons, there is something very emotive and captivating about it. Water is particularly appealing to photographs because, as well as having a strong emotive quality, its visual attributes are very tangible and extremely photogenic. I’m sure I’m not alone in liking waterfalls. There’s a place in Chakrata which is a nature lovers’ paradise, with a deep valley at the bottom of which is the beautiful Tiger Falls. The steep sides of the valley are sparsely wooded and studded by numerous terraced fields. The fall thunders down over rocks with trees and bushes on both side and crashes onto the valley floor. It was a sunny day and Arun and I were out photographing butterflies but direct sunlight had created too much contrast with highlights being burnt out and shadows black. I chose a viewpoint that placed the main flow of water behind the main fall and framed the image to include a large part of the moss covered
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Ganga at Chilla Once visiting the Senior Superintendent of Police at Haridwar Sanjay Gunjial, who had just been posted to the district and had as yet not moved to his official residence at Roshanabad we were to lunch at an Irrigation Dept. bungalow just outside the city. It was a beautiful drive along a stretch of the river Ganga diverted to allow a channel to flow to the famous Har-ki-Pairi. It was a glorious winter day in the valley with not a cloud on the horizon and sun shining bright; there was a small island in the river with the banks full of reed beds the straw colour contrasting with the dark green foliage of the Sal trees on the opposite side making for a stunning picture with its reflection on quiet flowing waters. The light was strong, creating deep shadows and a vivid contrast. But the water here gave a rich tonal range and created a foreground with an eye-catching quality where the reflection of the forest on the opposite bank and the texture created by the reeds has become the focus of attention. I set the shutter to /60 and the F number to F 7.1
photo stor y
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Robber F ly ( A silidae)
BUTTERFLY MATING t
H ON EY B EE q
COM MON P IERROT q
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PR AYIN G MA N TIS q
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C AT E R PILLA R
is a freelance photographer based in Guwahati, Assam. He has a special inclination towards macro-photography and he can be reached at email@example.com
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ExpressionS A FEW FOOTPRINTS ALONG THE JOURNEY
selected stories from the year gone by 25
The future is ours
Agents for a beautiful tomorrow
The Girl with the green Handbag
The Truth about Tigers
Turning Green to save some Green
The Green Beat
Face to Face with
Ways to Photograph Doon
Earth, We have a problem
Face to Face with
Need of the Hour
Great Power Great Reponsibility
Feminism can save the world
Dr. Anil P. Joshi Pooja Bhatt Vineeta Bhardwaj Pooja Bhatt
Aditi Bisht Arnab Ray
Simren Singh Suren Vikash Sandip Puran Singh Omkar Sane
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Shri A. K. Sahay Hema Maira
Dr. Anil P Joshi founder, HESCO
he hottest International issue that we confront today in Print and Electronic media is on Global Climate Change. Copenhegan has been hotspot and world’s eyes and ear were focused towards, in recent past. Mr. Barack Obama to Dr. Manmohan Singh, the world’s nation heads and others have been party to it. The whole meeting ended with ever ending economic fight. Developing world cursed developed world for denying their share of development through industrialization. As a matter of fact, it was ecological battle in economic disguise. There are series of debate, discussion dialogue ending to nowhere and everyone pretend to be serious without free initiative and concrete action. To be honest, the dilemma is not going to end until and unless everyone of us seek solution from within our own niche. Collective responsibility and self transformation from consumer to donor can only mitigate this serious problem.
Economic imbalances lead to ecological, this fact need to be more realized to planners and policy Makers. We can rectify the gross common mistake first at our only end and be an example for others to follow.Resources are only governed generated by people of rural parts of the Globe. The major stakeholders of these resources are rural community. We must agree with the fact that conversion of these resources for usable commodity are rarely available within rural community. This set huge energy use for transport of resources from rural to urban. The same processed resources again flow back to consumers who are largest in number in rural part. There are two issues eventually arise. The transportation of resources to both end add to unnecessary energy use. This could be comfortably saved by curtailing one way. Why after all local opportunities to convert local resource are not adequately explored in rural parts. We fail to understand that
We have had serious discussion on environment distress and its consequences specially in International Forum. What is happening at your own land is rarely discussed. Why New Delhi had to blow at New York is no case is less important similar conflict between New Delhi to New Tehri. It is in fact economic disparity that has set major imbalances.
july this approach will set decentralized economic flow which will further offer local jobs. Crowding cities will have a relief from flocks of people stampede for job search here. The uniform equity will also avoid ill decesions which currently are reflected in our socio-political systems. Efforts to bring economic equity will indeed need political will, knowledge transfer and social acceptance of urban rich. There are enormous examples with us today where local economy retrieved and enhanced with mere knowledge inputs. Massive drive to decentralize economy will bring total socio, ecological and political stability as these are directly linked with true development strategies. This has to be understood that such an initiative will bring a clear vision of ecological sound economical development. Mountain strategies will focus on economic development around forest water resources while arid zone will depend upon low rain produces. This will also help to utilize local strength of the region which is predominantly lies on available resources. This will ultimately add to sustained resource based regional de-
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velopment. Development need to be redefined. Should we place industrialization, realestate business and infrastructure as development indicators? Such a development can not be enjoyed particularly when corresponded loss of resources are not acknowledged. There must be a parallel analysis which should measure periodical growth of life resources i.e. water recharging, forest cover, soil enrichment and air quality etc. Extreme physical achievement for comfort have already hampered our ecological cycle, constant negligence will lead to unrepairable losses and other socio ecological disasters. We can give an example to improve our habitat first for overall ecological and economical efficiency. Only after we can become a better advocate for global environmental sustainability. We can only claim to be best judge when our performance at our own home will qualify standard of Nation’s inclusive prosperity of life. Since it is a common mistake all of us will have to volunteer to retrieve what have been lost in the past.
Pooja Bhatt pursuing accessory designing from NIFT Bangalore
believe there’s a brimful energy that lies latent within the youth. We are like buds that bloom with vigour and freshness and possess an indomitable spirit that can defy all odds. If we join hands, no evil is strong enough to thrive, since our dogged efforts and an unflagging strength is a resolute force that can overcome ‘any’ obstacle. One thing that should be our primary concern, if we think in selfless terms is to give something back to this world. Trees are felled at a phenomenal rate, the ever increasing number of vehicles on the roads spew clouds of smoke to rise up in the air, the raucous horns give us head-splitting aches, the wild animals too lose their lives and habitat to the creeping encroachment and the poaching menace. How would it feel to live in constant peril to our lives? Wouldn’t we raise our voices against such menace? Of course, then perhaps we’d probably fight for justice and talk about the frequent infringement of laws and seek their enforcement. But who’s going to advocate the cause of the wild and the wilderness when they are being brutally slaughtered! Their mute cries go unheard because we get too selfish sometimes. It’s deplorable beyond redemption as beautifully pointed out in these words by Marya Mannes, “The earth we abuse and the living things we kill, in the end, take their revenge: for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future.” Today, we witness increasing urbanization and more and more commercial and ugly structures s p r i n g - ing up at the cost of those squares of green.
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Unfathomable evil, our greed and misdeeds will cost us an awful lot in future when we’d be cursed by our great grand children for depriving them of the profuse gifts of nature that The Almighty had entitled us to enjoy equally! Environmental activists shout their lungs out to make the government and the people take notice and formulate corrective and preventive measures, but do we choose to ignore what is all around us? Their voices and protests fall on deaf ears. It doesn’t take too long to observe and become conscious of the little things that we do that wreak havoc and cause irrevocable damage. What are we supposed to do? There’s a lot we can! An earnest effort must be made to help restore the ecological balance if we wish to redeem ourselves. It really boils my blood to see so much pain and destruction in this world, so I just hope that young people like us come forward and take a serious look at the stark reality that stares us in the face, if our planet ceases to exist, so shall we! Technology may have advanced but everything cannot have a replacement. So let’s be mature and rather than whiling away our time and cribbing about why there’s no proper waste disposal system in India, go plant a tree instead and try to reduce the amount of waste you produce. Don’t dirty the roads and you know it all! We’ve constantly been told about these do’s and don’ts yet we don’t follow them. Sad and bad!! Well, let’s try to discipline ourselves. If our conscience pricks us reading this or anything like this, it’s about time we ruminated about these problems. Let’s not ignore them pretending they are not ours. We need to dig into the deeper cores of our conscious and ask ourselves a simple question. “If we had an ailing mother, would we leave her dying or try to save her?” So, just as we care for our mothers, we must love our planet with the same intensity. Every little thought counts. We, the young blood with fire within us must confront head on these challenges and make this world, a better place to live. Like I said earlier, we should go hand in hand building up this entire force that can successfully combat any barrier. Remember, that more often than not, there are SIMPLE solutions to COMPLICATED problems. It’s just a matter of perception. All it needs is a thought, a helping hand that says...
agents for a beautiful tomorrow
HOD Environment Science in Col. Brown School, Dehradun also, a member of ISSRM & IUFRO (International Forum for environment & Forests
“When you start working with the environment seriously, the whole arena comes: human rights, women rights environmental rights, children’s right, you know, everybody’s rights.Once you start making these linkage, you can no longer do just tree-planting.” Wangari Maathai
his article includes an introduction to the history of women’s involvement in the struggle for a sustainable livelihood – at individual and community level. Worldwide, women have manifested themselves as agents of change for environment and sustainable development. Since the start of human history, women have contributed essentially to the conservation, use and management of natural resources.The role of woman-the gatherer
was more important for food and security than that of man-the-hunter. Around the globe they play distinct roles from men: in managing agricultural lands, plants, animals and forests, in collecting water and fodder for domestic use and income generation, in the collection and use of firewood and other bio-fuels. By doing so, they contribute time, energy, skills and personal visions to family and community development. Their extensive experiences make them an invaluable source of knowledge and expertise on environmental management and appropriate actions. This makes these so called illiterate woman as excellent human resource managers, having very strong environmental awareness. The first documented expression of a woman, who gave her life to safeguarding the environment, goes back more than three hundred years ago. The Maharaja of Jodphur, Rajasthan (India), wanted to build a new palace and required wood for it. His men went to the area around the village
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of Jalnadi to fell the khejri trees. When Amrita Devi, member of the Bishnois community, saw this, she rushed out to prevent the men and she hugged the first tree. But the axe fell on her and she died on the spot. People from 83 surrounding villages rushed to prevent the men from felling the trees and by the end of the day more than 350 had lost their lives. When the king heard about this, he apologized and promised the villagers that they would never again be asked to provide timber. With that event the recorded history of the Chipko movement started. In Seventees, Under the leadership of Gaura Devi, a 50-year old illiterate woman, women rushed from their homes to hug the trees (‘chipko’ means hugging) and prevent them from being cut. A fourday standoff ended in victory for the villagers. The actions of the women of Reni were repeated in several other places in the region, as hill women demonstrated their power as non-violent activists.
In Japan, in the 1950s, the Nakabaru Women’s Society and Sanroku Women’s Society protested loudly against pollution from industries and power plants in the Tobata region. This resulted in major pollution prevention measures taken by the local government and corporations. Another well-known example of women’s long-lasting involvement in environment is the Greenbelt Movement, Kenya. Launched on Earth Day 1977 by the National Council of Women, this environmental campaign resulted in the mobilization of thousands of women planting indigenous trees. The Movement has created a national network of 6,000 village nurseries, The 50,000 women members of the Movement have planted about 20 million trees. In Eastern Europe it is primarily the pollution of the environment and its impacts on human health that has fuelled women’s environmental activism. Ecofeminism is seen as the connection of the environmental movement and the feminism movement. Organized women’s groups are fighting against deforestation, pollution and other forms of environmental degradation. There are also an increasing number of women’s groups and unique self-help projects regenerating the environment. Often a woman takes the lead in such campaigns. And Woman leaders often become a source of inspiration for a wide range of women. Individual women have played crucial roles in enhancing public awareness and political will for environmental pro-
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tection and conservation: Rachel Carson, Donella Meadows, Gauri Devi, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Jane Goodall, Wangari Maathai, Anita Roddick, Bella Abzug and Noreena Hertz, just to mention a few.
culture and Natural Resource Management. In November 2004 more than 150 professional women and activists came together in Nairobi for the first ‘WAVE conference: Women as the Voice for the Environment’, hosted by UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme).
The commitment, courage, resilience and patience of millions of individual and or- What drives women? ganized women, - scientists, activists and local rural and urban women - in sustaining Taking into account the above developthe environment is amazing. ments, a relevant question is: Why are women interested in becoming change agents in Day after day they perform their commu- the environmental area? And: is their contrinities’ productive and reproductive tasks, bution to environmental conservation difor inform the world community about the ferent from men? need for environmental conservation. Women’s reproductive and productive tasks They sustain the interface between the hu- and roles enhance their profound relationman and physical environment, thereby ship and commitment towards the present demonstrating a deep understanding and and future wellbeing of their children, famitechnical knowledge about the ecological lies and communities. characteristics of their environment: If we only look in the field of biodiversity, A sense of motherhood and sisterhood gennumerous examples are available about erates a powerful commitment to resist any women’s knowledge of local ecosystems developments that threaten the subjects of and species, and their commitment and that feeling. practices to conserve these. Particularly indigenous women, in all regions of the world, Therefore environmental degradation and are custodians of local biodiversity. pollution not only affects women’s personal Professional women’s organizations have work burdens, health and quality of life negalso been established, such as the Women atively and limit their access to and control Leaders for the Environment consisting of over resources, but are also strong physical, women environment ministers from around mental and emotional drivers for action. the world, and the recently established WOCAN network of professional Women in Agri-
So, these physical, physiological or emotional factors make Woman an important and a powerful agent to fight against deterioration of environment & thus an agent of change for a healthy environment.
Pooja Bhatt pursuing accessory designing from NIFT Bangalore
i, I’m Esha Ved a.k.a. ‘The Girl with the Green Handbag’. Funny, absurd name right? Oh well, I get caught up in these strange obsessions at times, but something’s changed and turned into a perpetual obsession I believe. I’ll tell you all about it. I’m 19 years of age and I’m doing my B.A. honours in Spanish from Delhi University. I love to shop and I LOVE clothes, accessories, shoes, chocolates, food, music, movies and all the things that makes one feel good. I am one ‘party freak’ you’d find all over the place. I love my friends too much and like hanging out with them now and then, now don’t get the wrong picture, I’m not a complete wacko case but I feel I’m in control and can strike a fine balance between my academics, leisure time and pleasure time activities. But I admit all the beautiful things do make me exceedingly happy. Like the latest pair of those dazzling shoes or the amazing aviator shades I bought last Sunday. At one point I had a huge hair obsession, couldn’t step out of my place without looking perfectly decent and my aunt often gifted me these cool hair products from Europe which I can’t part with even now, so all my posses-
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sions including my family, friends, clothes, beauty-care products, my phone, my i-pod are simply an indispensable part of me! “What a self obsessed girl?” might be the question popping up in your head right about now. But honestly, I don’t think I belong to that category and it’s wrong to stereotype anyway, I just like to dress up and well that’s not a bad thing at all… (Evil grin) I’m basically a very friendly, non-judgmental, supportive, fun-loving and extroverted personality. But there’s one friend of mine I met this summer and she changed my life, as in not completely, I still am what I used to be and continue to like all of those things, but I have certainly acquired a broader perspective about life and that is a brilliant thing. Her name is Mitali and she’s the kind of bookworm I would have never cared to notice but it so happened that we ended up being roommates in the hostel. If you compare personality distinctiveness, we’re way too opposite to be in proximity of each other but she’s sincere as hell and used to help me out in ‘every’ assignment, that’s when I realized what a ‘bright light’ she is and I soon ended up loving her. But I didn’t like the whole nagging bit about what to do, and what products not to use and what not to eat, I really wasn’t keen to have a mother figure around because I really like my freedom, and detest being pestered,
but if I talk about irony then this is the biggest one, I ended up getting influenced by her ‘a lot’.I turned ‘GREEN’. Oh wait, but there’s a prelude to it.
so every other day she used to take me out for a walk in the tree clad region near my place or a drive halfway up to Mussoorie in order to sensitize me so that I grow out of my pain and inhibition. She used to tell me with a deep sense of pride about my dad’s active involvement in the Chipko Movement FLASHBACK during the 70s in the Garwhal Himalayan I was the only child of my parents and reregion which was a widespread initiative to sided in my ancestral house in Rajpur, in the protect the trees from massive deforestacelebrated Doon Valley, nestled in the great tion by hugging them. Himalayas. I lost my father when I was five in a terrible road accident and after that I Back then, it didn’t make so much sense grew to be a sort of frenzied wayward child to me when she often repeated Einstein’s who took pride and pleasure in mindless words for me “Look deep into nature, and destruction. Now, I didn’t cut off trees with then you will understand everything beta chainsaw mind you, but just cherished the ter.” She made me appreciate the joy of lividea of chaos somehow, (don’t ask me why, ing in one of the most incredible parts of it was my father’s death probably) Anyway, the world and I love her for it. That amazing my mother grew exceptionally concerned song by the Beatles’ in George Harrison’s and said time and again “A girl your age voice titled Dehradun comes to mind, (it must be cheery and amicable honey, you on was officially unreleased though I think you the other hand love throwing things around. can find it on the internet). Have something against the world?” Well, It goes like maybe I thought but my mother took it as her personal mission to rectify my problem “Dehra Dehra Dun Dehra Dun Dun (8) Many roads can take you there, many different ways,one direction takes you years another takes you days. Many people on the roads looking at the sights,Many others with their troubles looking for their rights. See them move along the road in search of life divine...beggars in a goldmine Dehra Dehra Dun…” So, that was me in childhood, but I changed after I grew up in this materialistic world I became a happy child or let’s say grew up to be a normal girl too dependent on things, but it was my mother who brought me so close to nature, I still feel connected, when I mess up at times, I like to go for a quiet walk or just listen to the birds sing. But that’s not
always, and I don’t expect myself or anyone to go hug trees to help lessen deforestation in this day and age. Today’s generation is programmed for a fast life. We don’t have the time or we simply don’t care to look or think beyond ourselves. We cling on to our gadgets devotedly and are extremely techno-savvy and I don’t blame us for it, it’s a neJUNE 2011
cessity to be in-sync with modern times. But the point I’m trying to make is that we should not be enslaved, what we can do is make our existence more significant, and I don’t mean to hint at letting go of our current lifestyles, not at all BUT let me tell you very frankly, it doesn’t take the slightest bit of effort to incorporate green-consciousness into our busy lives. If a girl like me can do it, it’s a piece of cake for you. However intricate it may seem, it’s quite undemanding. I just try to make sure that whatever I do does not waste energy, or disrupt the environment or wildlife. The single most important thing here is “RESPECT” and everyone is capable of respecting the animate and the inanimate likewise. Well, let me make things clear to you first, I’m not here to build some sort of a youth crusade pleading in front of people to do the right thing or campaign against the evils in society or plain boring lecture you about it. It’s a mere realization and the earlier the better. I just try to ‘do the right thing’ myself and urge my friends to do the same. Well, it’s their choice obviously, but why not be discerning and unanimously do what is right if it eases the planet to endure the yoke of the present times. If each one starts, the word shall spread and in due course lead to something constructive.
it won’t help! (But that’s the first step I agree, awareness is exceedingly crucial) and once you know it, and then well, don’t stare at me like a wimp. Just go out there and start-off with little things and move on to bigger things! Trust me on that, listen to the green call and do whatever you can as an individual - ultimately you will create an IMPACT which is our collective goal. And if we reach that goal, I’d be the happiest person alive and I’d party till I fall down you bet. I’m still proud of who I am and won’t change for anyone but for something that helps the world, I most certainly would and so I did! So now since you’ve managed to read up till here, you must be well acquainted with who I am and what I’m babbling over here. Each month, I shall come and tell you more about my crazy life and my experiences and green adventures as I may call it and that surely makes my life and surroundings better in a million ways. My nerdy mate Mitali is with me every time or if not, then some how drives my whole plan and inspires me to improve and the best thing is that she’s stopped nagging now, seeing how responsible I’ve developed into towards the environment. What a funny thing! I’m loving life. :)
In conclusion, like Aristotle once said “If one way be better than another, that you It lies within us, the power to lead! And may be sure is Nature’s way.” leading for a righteous cause calls for Stay green until next time. more than just thoughts like “We must do this, or they mustn’t do that” It requires grit and devotion. It calls for immedi- Love, ate and continual ACTION. Simply saying Esha.
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Shekar Dattatri a wildlife and conservation filmmaker, whose films have won numerous national and international awards, and aired around the world on channels such as National Geographic and Discovery.
t the end of a recent screening of my documentary, ‘The Truth about Tigers’, an elderly gentleman raised his hand and asked me, “what will happen if the remaining tigers in India disappear? Why must we spend time and money saving tigers?” I’m sure these are questions that occur to many people. Some related questions might be, “isn’t saving tigers a luxury when so many people in our country are dying of hunger?” Why do we pay so much attention to tigers when there are many other species that are equally or more endangered?”.
ismatic and iconic of all animals, will we have the sagacity to save ‘lesser’ species?
As for the starving people in our country, will their situation improve if all the tigers disappear? I think not! In fact, it is certain that in the long run more people will suffer if tigers disappear. Let me explain. There are 39 Tiger Reserves in India. This means that 39 large blocks of forest have been protected in the name of the tiger. Over 300 rivers have their origins in these Tiger Reserves, and these rivers support the lives of hundreds of millions of people in our country. I think There are several ironies in these ques- we can therefore say without exaggerations that we should think about. Why tion that the tiger is the guardian of our are tigers endangered in the first place? rivers and thus of our national prosperity. Because we have destroyed most of their forests and exterminated them. Having It is true that the tiger gets a ‘royal share’ driven them to the brink of extinction, of attention. But let’s remember that is it not our duty to save them at least at when a forest is saved in the name of this late stage? Do they not have an equal the tiger, thousands of other species that right to exist? We, in India, have chosen share the tiger’s habitat also get saved! the tiger as our National Animal. Will it For this reason, the tiger is rightly regardnot be a national disgrace if we cannot ed as an ‘umbrella’ species. even save our National Animal? And if we cannot save the tiger, the most charJUNE 2011
Why are tigers disappearing? Tigers once roamed fearlessly across the length and breadth of our country. Today they are confined to a few wildlife reserves. There are three fundamental reasons why the status of tigers in India is so precarious today: 1. The insatiable demand for tiger skins, bones and organs - primarily from China – that fuels poaching by organized and wellnetworked criminal gangs. These gangs, mainly members of highly skilled hunting tribes like the Baheliya and Bawaria from Central India, travel to wildlife reserves across the country on poaching expeditions, and are wiping out entire populations.
3. The abysmally low level of protection in most of our protected areas, which allows poachers to have a free run. India has some of the strongest wildlife laws of any country, but extremely poor enforcement. The tiger is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act and killing one (except in a clear case of self defense) 2. The rampant illegal hunting of the ti- is punishable with a maximum penalty of ger’s prey by local people, which is creat- 7 years in prison. However, few poachers ing empty forests where it is impossible are caught and even fewer are successfully prosecuted and convicted. for tigers to survive, let alone multiply.
So what can we do to save our National Animal? Saving tigers isn’t rocket science. The tiger is a resilient species that breeds well and has the ability to bounce back given adequate protection. All we really need to do is provide adequate protection for wild tigers, their prey and the habitat, and nature will do the rest. We do not need to breed them in captivity or clone them or do any such thing.
to the Government’s own admission, at least 18 of the 39 Tiger Reserves in the country are in an extremely bad state of neglect. As of 2010, only 11 Reserves are acknowledged to be doing well.
We now have all the knowledge we need to save the tiger, thanks to decades of research by top-notch wildlife biologists; and there is no dearth of money either, In fact, in a few reserves, such as Kaziran- since India is no longer a poor country. ga in Assam, Corbett in Uttarakhand and What is urgently needed is a determinaNagarahole in Karnataka, where a proper tion to do away with the ‘business as ususystem of protection, with anti-poaching al’ approach and tackle the problems head camps and regular foot patrols by field on. staff, has prevailed for a few decades, tigers and other wildlife continue to flour- Protection of wildlife is the responsibility ish. But such reserves have become the of both the Central and the respective State exception rather than the rule. According Governments. While the Centre provides
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substantial funding for Tiger Reserves, the onus of on-the-ground protection rests entirely with the State Governments. Unfortunately, most State Governments accord very little priority to wildlife conservation. As a result, there are many shortcomings in the protection of our forests and wildlife. These include severe shortage of frontline field staff, lack of proper equipment such as wireless sets, firearms and even footwear for the staff, inadequate training, and lack of financial incentives. Some of these problems are being addressed presently and, hopefully, the situation will improve in the future. Another major problem is the lack of leadership. Barring a few dedicated and capable individuals, most senior Forest Officers in the country are out of touch with field realities since they spend very little time in the forest. This has a cascading negative impact. After all, if the superiors in any institution do not lead from the front, one can hardly expect their juniors to do their jobs with zeal and commitment. It is therefore extremely important that officers who show a true commitment to protecting for-
ests and wildlife should be handpicked and posted to wildlife reserves, and given all the support they need to protect our ecological heritage. We, the people, are also to blame for the current state of affairs. Most of us are content to go to forests for holidays and just enjoy ourselves. It is time to realize that if we do not take an active interest in protecting forests and wildlife, they will disappear before our very eyes. We also need to realize that our natural heritage is not the property of the government. This is our collective heritage and we are all its joint owners. As patriotic citizens we must be ever vigilant against the destruction of our remaining forests, and continually demand that our governments do a better job of protecting this priceless legacy. Only when our voices are heard loud and clear will the political establishment take matters seriously. So, a great deal rests on our shoulders. Our planet is in a crisis, and we can no longer afford to remain passive in the face of the rampant destruction of nature, which is affecting all life on earth. Everyone has to get involved and each individual has the potential to bring about a positive change. According to Dr. Ullas Karanth, one of the world’s leading tiger biologists, India still has enough potential tiger habitat to support over 10,000 tigers. But right now, according to Government estimates, there may be less than 1500 left. We have a long way to go, but if we all work together sincerely, I’m confident that we can double the present number of tigers within the next 10 years. To learn more about tigers, their conservation and your role in making a difference, please visit
A graduate student at MCM College Chandigarh, is a voracious reader and a concerned inhabitant of earth
orest guards are the protectors of wildlife. In sanctuaries, wildlife reserves or national parks, these people constitute the bottom rung of the ladder, which, as we know, is undoubtedly the most important. Even though forest guards have a different recruitment system, sometimes ex-servicemen choose to become forest guards as well. Two years ago, the then finance minister P. Chidambaram had allocated a budget of Rs 50 crores for the ‘Tiger protection force’. This force across India’s tiger reserves was to comprise ex-servicemen given their experience of fighting insurgencies. But they haven’t been used to the best of their abilities. These folks embark on their lonely forest patrol braving both harsh weather and unpredictable wildlife without any supporting gadgets. Most of them work in appalling conditions wearing open-toed footwear, lacking basic equipment like torches, jeeps, wireless sets and guns. However, they courageously carry on with their difficult job. These guards are quite literally heroes who wear the forest on their skin, even as they learn to respect animals and wildlife in general. They are sharp at spotting an animal from afar and whistle to warn the animals of their approach. Almost a year ago, several thousand forest guards marched 460000 kms through India’s jungles to count India’s tigers for the tiger census. Forest guards not only protect the forests but also man rest houses. During the monsoons they repair the hill roads which often become pot-holed in the wet weather. Let’s take a look at the life of a typical forest guard: They are forced into leading a bachelor-like existence for most of their lives even though they may be married. They visit their homes for hardly 3-4 days every 4 months or so. The younger guards share tiny rooms, a kitchen without slabs and a washroom. To save money they cook their meals together every evening in a makeshift mess.
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In 2004, the Supreme Court ordered the Forest Department to absorb dozens of labourers who had been working for it for many years on a daily wage. One of them, Anand Ballabh Pandey, had spent nearly two decades as part of the temporary staff, handling all the responsibilities of a forest guard. Mr Pandey was being paid only Rs 1600 per month when the Supreme Court ruling came. Today, he divides his “princely” salary of Rs 7000 between himself and his wife who lives in a village with his grownup sons. For all his years of dedicated service, Mr Pandey can claim a paltry sum of Rs 30,000 as insurance from the Forest Department. The guards are often hampered in their duties by animal attacks. The problem is aggravated due to a lack of equipment that can mitigate such attacks. In May 2005, Madan Pandey, a snack-store assistant, was attacked and badly mauled by a tiger that had strayed into the Dhikala tourist lodge area. He is still recovering from the shock of the attack which is firmly etched on his body in the form of permanent scars. However, the government reimbursed him only a third of the amount he spent on surgeries. The promise of a job awaits fruition. Last year, a very popular TV show comprised a storyline wherein celebrities were put in a jungle with only bare necessities. Much sensation, chaos and controversy ensued. Even though the storyline was admittedly exaggeratedly, we did get a peek into how difficult it is to live in the wilderness. Isn’t it time we give the forest guards their share of respect for living such a difficult life and doing such a dangerous job? Those who bear everything silently are not weak but often have the ability to change the world. So before the cries turn into roars, the government should implement radical reforms that improve the living conditions of forest guards and provide for their well-being. It is in our best interest that these guardians of our wildlife are not compelled to look for other sources for living.
turning green to save some green Arnab Ray
author of “May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss” published by Harper Collins, one of India’s best-sellers for the year 2010.
theGREENbeat CAN WE SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT WITHOUT DISREGARDING “DEVELOPMENT”? october
he moment I see the phrase “eco-friendly” or “Go Green” written on the back of a bill sent to me by my cable or phone company, I gnash my teeth. “Please sign up for paperless billing” they say, “Your efforts will save a tree”. No it won’t. It will save you postage and printing costs. If bills were just a service you provided us, you would have gotten rid of it a long long time ago. But since the whole basis of your business depends on you sending us bills, there is no way you can eliminate that expense. The best you can do is to guilt-trip us under the flag of environmental consciousness. One of the many things that piss me off is how corporations, who normally care two hoots about the environment (for instance they would quite happily mow down trees to erect a cell-phone tower) get all tree-hugger on us when “environmental responsibility” is to be used as an excuse to cut costs and maximize their profits. “We will shut off AC in the office cubicles at 6 to reduce our carbon footprint”. My foot. It’s the footprint of the utility bill on your monthy expenses that is behind your sudden awareness. If you be so concerned about carbon emissions, why not make the President, Vice-President and the board all travel in public transport? Of course you won’t because “eco-friendly” to corporations is just a PR buzzword, a cost-cutting measure, and little else.
Simren Singh Graduation student at Lady Shriram College For Women, New Delhi. Also, the secretary of LSR’s environment society- Prakriti
he answer is yes. With the growing emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), businesses are being judged, more than ever, on how well they manage their resources and are profitable without hurting the environment around them. An environmental impact assessment (EIA) is an assessment of the possible impact— positive or negative—that a proposed project may have on the environment which includes the natural, social and economic dimensions. Urban development projects cause a multitude of indirect effects through consumption of goods and services, production of building materials and machinery, additional land use for various activities,mining of resources etc. These effects are usually more intense in magnitude than the direct effects as assessed by EIA. Large projects such as building airports or ship yards cause wide-ranging national as well as international environmental effects, which should be taken into consideration during the decision-making process. Amid concerns that growing resource-
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scarcity and rising raw-material costs are dampening prospects for economic growth in Europe, the European Union (EU) is looking for ways to decrease the environmental impact of industrial activity, manufacturing and consumption patterns along with improved social performance and sustained economic profitability. The existing life-cycle related EU policies include the 2005 Thematic Strategies on the Prevention and Recycling of Waste and on the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources, as well as the 2008 Sustainable Consumption and Production Action Plan. Specific instruments to implement these policies include EU regulations on an Ecolabel and an Eco-management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), EU waste directives, a directive on Eco-design for Energy-using Products (EuP) and an initiative on Green Public Procurement. I would like to highlight here the importance of Green Public Procurement(GPP). As a means to kick-start the market for ecoinnovative goods and services and achiev-
ing environmental goals in a cost-efficient manner, the EUis promoting public procurement in its member states. Public procurement refers to the purchase by public authorities of goods, services or works. GPP requires contracting authorities to also use environmental criteria to decide whom to buy goods or services from. Examples include energy-efficient computers or hydrogen buses for public transport. In India,the GPP policy can be beneficial in a number of sectors includingconstruction, food and catering services, transport services, energy, office machinery and computers, clothing, paper and printing services, furniture andhealth sector equipment since these have a significant environmental impact, involve huge expenditure which only the public sector can bear.
The pull of public procurement, especially in India, can be helpful in encouraging the private sector to take up the production of ‘green goods’ even though these are expensive to produce and consume. However, as the industry for green goods expands, it will lower the production costs,allowing technologies that are currently not commercially viable, such as biofuel-, hydrogen-, or electricity-powered hybrid vehicles to move into mainstream markets. Adoption of resource-saving products across the economy will help to reduce energy consumption and energy imports. Looking at French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s vision for an “ecological New Deal” and a “green revolution” in France, India can too adopt the following proposals.
• A bonus and penalty system for cars based on pollution levels. • A plan to increase energy-efficiency in both existing and new buildings, including a ban on incandescent light bulbs. • A plan to cut waste by focusing on prevention including proposals to “ban or tax unnecessary waste” (such as over-packaging) and proposals to turn to incineration only “as a last resort”. • Halving pesticide use over the next ten years. • Possible introduction of a carbon tax. • Levy on goods imported from countries which have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol. and need frequent replacement adding I also wonder why we call India the ‘dump- to India’s burgeoning waste-management ing ground’ of the West and ignore the problems.Ross Perot said, “The activist is threat posed by the Chinese goods. Sta- not the man who says the river is dirty. tistics show that currently China tops The activist is the man who cleans up the the list of most polluted countries of the river.” We must join hands if we are to save world. This implies that the production un- the environment. Regular environmental dertaken in China does not comply with audits, active public support for practices ‘eco-friendly’ norms. Secondly, with lib- such as the GPP and organic farmingwill eral trade policies, India has now become help mitigate the lethal impact of ‘devela rampant market for Chinese goods. Most opment’ on our Mother Earth. Chinese goods are popular because they are cheap and can be replaced easily. How- So, let’s pledge to heal our Earth and in ever, these benefits come with the caveat turn heal ourselves. that such products are poor in quality Happy Conserving!
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face to face
Suren Vikhash is a product designer and social entrepreneur who currently leads a project called Thunk in India which produces innovative products from waste material. Via Thunk in India, he aims to provide a sustainable and independent livelihood to various communities including rag pickers, slum women, farmers and craftsmen. He is a firm believer in the power of product design; design, he believes, can alter social norms and cultural mindsets about the utility and value of materials around us. Expressions got in touch with him to know more about ‘Thunk’ and his views about the immediate need to work collectively for a sustainable tomorrow in this exclusive interview for our readers. Expressions got in touch with him and received valuable insights, which we have shared with our readers in this exclusive interview.. EXPRESSIONS (E): How and when did you come up with this brilliant idea of recycling or re-inventing from waste? SUREN VIKASH (SV): Waste is a huge problem. But it is so much around us that we have almost become neutral to it. I am a product designer, and strongly believe that design can be used as a tool to address various problems around us. I also strongly feel that technology is not enough to solve various problems we face today. However it can aid in implementing various creative solutions. I took this up as a challenge, to see how I could use creativity and lateral thinking to tackle the issue of waste. As a part of my final graduation project, I firstly immersed myself into the waste management system in Bangalore, India. I initiated the project by bringing together various experts and stake holders who were doing valuable work in the field of waste onto a common platform. I did this as various experts, working on different parts of the waste management system worked in isolation, inspite of their larger focus being waste. Together, they could co-create to address various issues each of them individually (their company) faced. Also when they collaborated, lots of insights were revealed. After a deep grass root research, I identified various intervention points in the current waste management system, where a small change could result in a huge difference. One of these interventions was identified in the landfills, where a lot of non-biodegradable waste materials where found. All these materials have a long life but once a small part of their life is utilized from the time it is produced, sold and consumed. For example plastic has a life of more than 500 years, but from the time it is manufactured to the time its consumed and thrown away is just 3 -4 months. Here
was an idea to reuse these materials which had a long life, Up-cycling. At Thunk in India, we design durable and funky products from (Non-recyclable) waste materials that generally find their way into the landfills E: What was the first product that you created from waste and how did you come up with the idea? SV: Initially, a range of products were created from tetrapak waste. Please look at the pdf(attached in the next mail). The basic idea was to utilize the life of materials that reached the landfills early, By looking at different ways to manage waste at source and by understanding how the existing system works, I understood how intervention at various points with small changes would result in big differences. I decided to make useful products from waste by providing value to otherwise discarded materials. We use these waste as new rich raw materials to innovate with (processing innovations, weave exploration and product innovation. This not only utilizes the waste materials and increase their life span but also reduces new natural resources from being used up. Currently, we create many products from waste plastics. E: From where do you collect waste and what kind of waste do you use in your production? SV: Waste is collected from various consumerist companies such as malls, IT companies, where large quantities of waste can be procured under one roof. Slum women work in each of these companies, and segregate the waste on a daily basis. All the recyclable waste is generally sold to secondary buyers/recyclers. We ony look at those waste materials, where on recycling solutions have not been found. Currently, it is mainly non-biodegradable materials like plastic covers, thermocol etc
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• Co-creating with all the Stakeholders. • Constantly exploring the different ways of making our venture more efficient and sustainable, from the design of products to the production and marketing. • Using creativity and lateral thinking at all stages of our process. • Working at grassroots level. • Understanding the present/past systems and scenarios of waste management and the stakeholders. • Waste is our constraint. We innovate and transform it. • We focus on making the livelihoods of underprivileged communities more meaningful and independent. • We provide alternatives (through our products and services) for one to easily make a difference and go green without any compromise. • We REUSE old resources & thereby REDUCE new natural resources from being used E: How do you help companies to incorporate zero waste strategies? SV: We provide recycling/up cycling(reusing) solutions to all the companies we work with. We make sure that all the waste reaches our network of recyclers. We also provide a eco - carbon audit for companies E: What support/actions would you like the govt. to take in this regard? SV: Enforcing Laws on EPR (extended producer responsibility) , promoting eco friendly products, banning plastic and other toxic materials E: What are the waste management techniques that you would advise schools and colleges to adapt? SV: Waste segregation is the first step. Due to lack of segregation, a lot of the recyclable waste also becomes non recyclable and toxic. Composting all the organic waste is something anyone can easily do.
E: Where all does your waste collecting team operate/ located? SV: In the outskirts of Bangalore and Coimbatore
E: What support/actions would you like the govt. to take in this regard? SV: Enforcing Laws on EPR (extended producer responsibility) , promoting eco friendly products, banning plastic and other toxic materials
E: What are the strategies involved? SV: Characteristics of our approach: • Creating sustainable livelihood options for the underprivileged communities. • Identifying points of intervention in the waste management system where even a small change can result in a big difference.
E: What is your message to the society at large that indulges in wasteful consumption and in turn aggravates the problem of waste mismanagement? SV: Conscious consumerism is something every one needs to atleast start thinking of. It requires a change in mindset
Sandip Puran Singh
Founder of SUSWA, an NGO working along the northern boundary of Rajaji National Park. He’s also an avid bird watcher and an amateur aturalist working on the Doon valley.
restricted and quite close to the trees so I needed to use a wide-angle lens, with the camera tilted upwards, in order to exclude the unwanted hillside and include the sky. Photographs depend partly for their success upon contrasts, not only tonal and colour contrasts but also contrasting shapes. In landscapes photograph photography horizontal lines and shapes tend to dominate the image and when a vertical shape, such as a tree, is introduced the effect is invariably eye-catching. The most important factor in producing a strong image of a tree is that it needs to be clearly defined and isolated in some way from its surroundings. Winter is satisfying time of year to photograph trees because very often the structure of the tree and shapes created by most of the branches are more interesting than when they are masked by foliage. When shooting trees in a forest or plantation pattern
This shot was taken early in u the morning during an autumnal trip to Kanatal. Walking along the sylvan path between the cottages at Hazara Heights looking for birds I came across this majestic ‘baanj’ as we call oak in the local language standing on the edge of hillside along the path. Hills north of Doon have plenty of oak on the south facing slopes and the oak is a lovely tree with its textured bark, moss covered limbs and leaves that shine silver blowing in the wind. There were many fine trees to choose from as we went along the walk. The difficulty, as always, was to find a way of separating some of them from the background. This giant was jutting out of the hillside and I was able to find a viewpoint where it was set mainly against the sky. I was lucky because Baanj (Oak) there was a morning mist floating up the valley and some dark clouds in the background adding an element of mood. I thought this was better than a blue sky, which could have produced a too-pretty, postcard type picture. My viewpoint was
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F a i r y l a n d T r ee
I am sure there are many others besides me who look at trees with utter delight and can’t resist a well-shaped, nicely lit tree in a photogenic situation, and Doon of yester years had many a beautiful stately trees growing in the valley.
We all have a picture of fairytales in our mind and once in a while we come across a vista that makes us stop and soak in the feel because it takes us back to our childhood memories. I’m particularly fond of lonely paths in forested glades and the Himalayas in this regards are truly enchanting. We were coming down from a friends orchard at Niudi in Uttarkashi when the overhead sun in a quiet lost valley created a dream sequence and this tree which looked so much like a camphor tree which grows a plenty in Doon, the sinewy dark bark of the tree trunk stark against the diffused light filtering through the cedar needles made the path look like one from a fairytale. I had to use the widest angle possible on the lens in order to get as much of the tree and to highlight it I used a Singh-Ray color enhancing filter to make the dark tree trunk stand out more boldly from the diffused green background. The key to exploiting the textural quality of a subject is in judging the quality of the light and the effect is has an on the surface. It’s illuminating. A coarse, deeply indented texture needs to be lit with a more diffused and less acutely angled light than a finer, more subtle texture. JUNE 2011
a 24 year old budding writer covering writing brochures, scripts for promos, columns and more recently even books. In his own words, he is an author “Because there was nothing else better left to become. And nothing else he could be.”
he galaxy has many planets. They’re all calm, revolving around the sun, taking their own sweet time. The Earth seems to be going the fastest. It seems it’s in a hurry to get somewhere. However from a distance, it looks calm too and is definitely the most beautiful. It has a white pimple that comes, but goes, so nobody minds that, as it’s unlike Jupiter who has 16. So, our ancestors chose to make Earth their home. During that time, the climate seemed amazing. The beaches were virgin. The fruit tasted good. In short, life was good. Adam and Eve chose to live here. They decided to be just friends, but they were naked and it didn’t quite work out. Adam being Adam couldn’t keep it in and things got out of hand. This only crowded the earth, until one day, it got too crowded.
home in a really long time. Actually, the earth is in shambles, reasons- pollution, disappearing forests, climatic changes etc. The dinosaurs are probably secretly happy they don’t exist anymore; there just isn’t enough space for them to hang out anymore! They say it’s all going to come to an end very fast. But how can it? The Earth has taken millions of years to form. It can’t just go away like that! Of course the Earth shall survive much longer than any of us can imagine. Seriously, there is a “lot of hope” out there, surely much more than what news channels want us to believe in.
Even though there is a “lot” of time before the planet crumbles, the situation has still definitely managed to attract some concern. As a result of the concern, the Earth being in shambles has its own Truth is the Earth has problems. If you do advantages: not believe it you probably haven’t left • Jessica Alba considers it imperative to go nude to save animals. • Greenpeace volunteers paint bodies and lie on squares, which is good too.
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• Donating to any of these environment-saving “setups” saves tax. • It unites the world, there are very few things today that do. • Great musicians hold concerts to save the planet. Hope also arises from the fact that the world has already woken up to the impending disaster. The world, as a united family has realized that Earth isn’t doing too well. Now, if only they could all switch off their ACs too, but that’s too much comfort to give up. I go back to the phrase “there is a lot of hope” for the Earth. Here’s how: • Technology has taken over. Paper won’t be in vogue in the near future, which means trees stand a chance. Literally. • Books, they say, shall be replaced completely by some gadget that allows you to read electronically. Trees, this is your lucky time. • All the information you don’t need (like this article) will be online, which doesn’t need paper. That saves a few more million trees. • People shall not be cremated in the good old-fashioned way. It’s all electric now. Less smoke, less pollution. Ozone, it’s your lucky time too! • Speaking of electricity, the electric car shall soon be in vogue too. • It has been raining an awful lot. So what if it is out of season? Water is water, right? • The hurricanes and typhoons are making sure things don’t get too hot. Nothing like a breezy day when your house flies off. Saves the rent too. • More and more kids are homeless, which means they aren’t using amenities that pollute. • Many people are out of jobs. So, they are using fewer luxuries to save electricity bills, which means lesser pollution. • More and more people think it is fashionable to have seen a tiger. This makes it imperative to save them. It’d be a disaster from the commercial point of view to not have a tiger. And since there’s money and tourism involved, the government in every country will save its animals. After all these poor animals aren’t even asking for commission. All you have to do is leave a tiger in the wild and then go looking for it! • We’re already heading out in search of extraterrestrial life. It’s only a matter of time before a human on Earth sets up a chaat stall on one of the other planets and people start flocking there. The real estate prices have become unbearable on this planet anyway. Let’s go find another! • The nuclear missiles are always at hand if we ever feel doomsday is too far! We may never have to wait for the world to end. Why wait when you can do things yourself? (Not that the rest of it hasn’t been done by us anyway!) So, that’s that. The Earth has a lot of hope. No need to worry. Turn on that AC and let’s all sleep peacefully tonight. The Earth is not coming to an end in your lifetime at least. Who cares about the next, right? They say men are from Mars, women are from Venus. So, nobody is really bothered about the Earth anyhow! All said and done, it turns out the only place the Earth is in a hurry to reach is its end. (But then there are a couple of lifetimes to go still..!)
face to face with
Clive Hamilton is an Australian author and public intellectual. In June 2008 he was appointed Professor of Public Ethics at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, a joint centre of the Australian National University, Charles Sturt University and the University of Melbourne. For 14 years, until February 2008, he was the Executive Director of The Australia Institute, a progressive think tank he founded. He holds an arts degree from the Australian National University and an economics degree from the University of Sydney. He completed a doctorate at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex with a thesis titled ‘Capitalist Industrialisation in Korea’. Clive has held visiting academic positions at Yale University, the University of Sydney, the Australian National University, and the University of Cambridge. He has published on a wide range of subjects but is best known for his books, a number of which have been best-sellers. They include Growth Fetish (2003),Affluenza (with Richard Denniss, 2005), What’s Left: The death of social democracy (2006), Silencing Dissent (edited with Sarah Maddison, 2007) and Scorcher: The dirty politics of climate change (2007)
Expressions got in touch with him and received valuable insights, which we have shared with our readers in this exclusive interview.. EXPRESSIONS (E): What were your feelings when you were about to finish your book ‘Requiem for a Species’? CLIVE HAMILTON (CH): I was glad to finish the book as writing it had been a depressing and alarming experience. Writing the last chapter was the most difficult, as I did not want to leave readers in the slough of despond, so I invited readers to take a philosophical standpoint, to consider the meaning of climate change in the history of humanity. E: Do you feel that we are a part of the sleeping society? CH: We face a profound threat to our future yet in the face of overwhelming evidence and urgent warnings from scientists we do virtually nothing. It is as if we are sleepwalking into catastrophe. What does that tell us about our belief that we are the “rational animal”? I think the whole Enlightenment project is now in question.
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It is worth noting the two opposed meanings of “enlightenment”. In the West it means severing our connection with the inner meaning of things and being guided by the laws of reason in the outside world. In the East it means finding the truth by going into the inner world, a journey into the darker reaches of consciousness in order to discover the true nature of the universe. Ultimately we need to find a way to reconcile these two paths. E: How do you react to the injustices occurring around you concerning the environment? CH: Sometimes the injustices are due to ignorance, in which case the answer is information. Sometimes they are due to thoughtlessness, in which case the answer is moral pressure. Sometimes they are due to greed and selfishness, in which case we need to organise collectively and use our governments to compel people and organisations to behave properly E: What would you tell a novice writer who wants to make a difference in the degrading state of environmental affairs? CH: Combine passion and thorough knowledge with a professional writing style. E: When was it that you realised your love and concern for nature? CH: In 1990 I was standing on Coronation Hill, a hill in Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. It was a sacred site to the traditional owners, the Jawoyn people, but a mining company wanted to dig it up to extract the gold. It was also in an environmentally sensitive area. I stood there and looked across the plain and could almost see the “spirit” rising from the land, like heat rising on a hot day. At that moment I realised it would be sacrilege to allow the hill to be destroyed. E: Is writing catharsis for you (of sorts)? CH: For writers, writing is “what we do”. It is our way of trying to change the world. Often it feels pointless, but occasionally someone publishes something – a book, an article – that strikes a chord and causes the world to change. Ideas are powerful. E: As in a speech at the launch of ‘Requiem for a Species’ you have mentioned about cyber-bullying, have you self- addressed it? CH: Enforcing Laws on EPR (extended producer responsibility) , promoting eco friendly products, banning plastic and other toxic materials E: In the same speech u have mentioned raging cyber-bloggers, do you think words speak louder than actions? CH: Words can have a big impact. The angry and abusive climate deniers want to shut down conversation. It is like a group of people sitting around a fire having a conversation when others arrive, stand behind them and shout.
E: According to you how the civil society’s irrational karma seemingly against nature would proportionate itself? CH: Our relationship with nature is severely out of balance because of our growing subjectivity, that is, the way we increasingly understand ourselves as isolated individuals with our own interests that over-ride nature’s. Our economic system is based on this intense individualism and arrogance. Now it seems that nature has become tired of our attempts to dominate her and, through global warming, is teaching us a lesson. It will be a very painful on for us.
E: In your view, what can we do right now to slow climate change and make a real difference? CH: Climate change is a collective problem that grows out of the nature of our economic and social systems. So the answers must be social and political, which means we must become politically engaged. E: Which countries contribute the most to global warming and what is your advise to them? CH:The United States and China each account for around 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. But the average US citizens is responsible for four times more than the average Chinese. In per capita terms, Australia’s emissions are even higher than those of the United States. Rich countries must lead the way, as they are mainly responsible for the problem (some 75 per cent of increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have been oput there by rich countries) and they can afford to cut their emissions by much more than developing countries. But poorer countries should start to take action now too. E: Could climate change ever “wipe us out”? CH: Some of the more extreme possible outcomes would make it difficult for humans to survive. There have been mass extinctions in the past due to rapid climate changes caused by other factors. E: According to you are the people doing enough as individuals to curb climate change? Consumerism must be an area of concern. CH: Yes, consumerism is a big concern. In rich countries most people buy far more than they need, and often buy things they never use. But it is the systems in which we live that the answers lie, rather than in trying to make individuals feel guilty. We need to change the social and economic systems that encourage people direct their life-energies into acquiring things. After all, all the evidence shows that, above a certain threshold level of income (a threshold exceeded by most people in rich countries), more money and more “stuff” does not make us any happier, and often makes us unhappy.
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a wildlife photographer who organizes wildlife photography workshops for Nature Wanderers across forests of India
s my car passed through the Chandrapur district of Maharashtra, the sight dampened my spirits. Massive mining and quarrying operations had left dents on the lands of the buffer zone of Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve – the Jewel of Vidharbha. My apprehensions however died as I entered the reserve, magnificent with the sun rays filtering through a lush green forest that was sparkling after the monsoon showers. The highlight of my Tadoba visit could have been the 4-5 minutes that I spent with the striped queen who walked in front of my vehicle (marking her territory) and majestically patrolled the picturesque Telia Lake, for the highlight wasn’t definitely the part where a pair of wild dogs came out on to the middle of the road from nowhere, or when I saw two sloth bears on two consecutive days. However, the hours that followed these short and sweet sightings had something amazing in store which became the feature of the visit.
The weather was a bit cloudy and the trees and bushes were buzzing with activity as the birds of Tadoba had just started their daily chores. We were crossing the scenic Tadoba Lake looking for some trace of the big cat when the sudden cheetal alarm calls caught my attention. Taking refuge under a huge banyan tree, I strained my ears as the calls slowly died, informing us that the predator has either settled down or left the area. This call of the cheetal announced a waiting game and we held our breaths in anticipation. In the midst of the excitement that a predator movement causes in a forest, you tend to ignore the action going on around you. A flameback woodpecker suddenly took off from a tree at the back of our vehicle and flew towards this peepal tree, thereby drawing my attention towards a “chirping” patch of vegetation, where the woodpecker perched itself on a branch, joining its companion. As I was observing the hops of the woodpecker pair, a golden oreole darted inside the tree, flaunting its shiny yelJUNE 2011
low coat in bright sunlight. Further scanning of the tree revealed a pair of black drongos calling each other from adjacent branches. The drongo conversation was intervened by their specie counterpart as a white bellied drongo perched itself right on the branch above. On the right hand patch of the tree, the tree tops were dominated by a parakeet family. In the beginning it was just a couple of rose ringed parakeets that were feeding in the golden morning light. However, within minutes, a pair of plum headed parakeets joined the party and before I could take the entire family in one frame, an Alexander parakeet caught hold of the top most branch to make a complete family picture.
With eyes glued to the top of the tree, I missed some action in the center where purple sunbirds were flying in and out of the leaves in search of flower nectar in the bushes behind the tree. The buzz inside the patch forced me to lift my binoculars for a closer look. Oriental white eyes, red vented bulbuls and jungle wabblers were the reason for the hustle and just as I was lowering the binoculars, a blackish silhouette perched itself on the left corner of the tree. I caught hold of my camera and as the lens focused on the patch, a beautiful pied cuckoo emerged from behind in bright light with a caterpillar catch as its morning breakfast. Hopping from one branch to another, it relished its breakfast and finally came out in the open posing in front of me for some good couple of minutes.
Birds Sighted around that tree in Tadoba that morning • Changeable Hawk Eagle • Crested Serpent Eagle • Grey Hornbill • Green Bee Eater • Chestnut Headed Bee Eater • Pied Hornibill • Pied Cuckoo • Flameback Woodpecker • Alexander Parakeet • Rose ringed parakeet • Plum headed parakeet • Black drongo • Racket Tailed Drongo • White bellied drongo
I’d emphasize again- One tree!
The peace and tranquility of a tree for a few minutes made it a hot spot for birds around the location but, the peace was momentary. The predator somewhere in the deep and dense bushes decided to continue its morning walk and the cheetal gave frantic alarm calls yet again. The drongos were the first to leave and were followed by the parakeets. Within seconds a tree that was sheltering around 40 odd species of birds stood bird-less. This was a face of nature that I witnessed for the first time – natural shelters are momentary!
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Sri A. K. Sahay
an eminent Indian naturalist, well-known for his wildlife columns in The Statesman. He is also the author of recently published book” GLIMPSES FROM INDIA’S NATURAL WORLD.” The book has earned applause from experts and media alike. DR Rahmani, the Director of BNHS has hailed it as a wonderful book.Rajaji National Park. He’s also an avid bird watcher and an amateur aturalist working on the Doon valley.
here is no denying the fact that wildlife conservation has not been accorded the importance it deserves. One of our Prime Ministers had himself said and I quote “we shall end the relative neglect of wildlife conservation in recent years.”That was at one of the meeting of the Indian Board for Wildlife . He went on to say that”. All of us have many other tasks and concerns to attend to. And they too are important. However, wildlife conservation is too important a task to be treated lightly or ritualistically.” So the fact of relative neglect was accepted by none other than the then Prime Minister himself.
Result has been devastating to say the least. Expanding human population, resultant encroachment in to the forests, clearing of forested areas for industries and mining have caused extensive damage to nature and wildlife in India. Hardened poachers, over the years, have stripped our forests of precious animals. Bird count has come down virtually everywhere. Tiger number has plummeted to an all time low of 1411.
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Today it is a crisis situation and we must do our best to conserve our wildlife and for that we have to protect the habitat, the forests, the wetlands. The question is whether it is possible to do so. I am of the considered view that we have a system in place and even if we protect our so called protected areas and put an end to the rampant poaching, we would be able to save much of our wildlife. We have clearly demarcated protected areas and we have officials to do the job. I have on several occasions through columns in The Statesman emphasized that dept must identify the best officials and post them in the protected areas. By best officials I mean the officials who have passion for wildlife and are determined about conserving it. A determined officer immediately makes an impact. Reputation travels fast. Poachers and timber smugglers keep away from their areas of control. If we can have a system whereby motivated officers are put in protected areas, things would dramatically improve. There have been instances and several of them when officers after doing impressive work in wildlife are shifted to development corporations, administrative offices and even zoos. Officers who have proved themselves in the field must be given extended run at least for two or three terms in the wildlife wing preferably in the field or at the controlling offices so that field staffs would benefit from their guid-
ance. There are cases where because of political interference capable officers are kept away from the wildlife .Industrialists and mine owners play a part there as they feel that officer would be obstructing their efforts of setting up mining and industries in forested areas. These things must be avoided at all costs. You look at the conservation history of our country particularly after Project Tiger, you would note that wherever a determined officer who had passion for conservation was in charge, great results were achieved. Kailash Sankhala, the prime mover of Project Tiger or Fateh Singh Rathore, the architect of Ranthambore were forest officers and their contribution nobody can dispute. They did momentous job and I salute them for that. We must also ensure that all protected areas are sufficiently manned. Presently the trend is that in tiger reserves Field Directors are given sanctioned staff strength or at least about 90% of it. But there are some protected areas where officers have to work with depleted staff strength. In 2002 the DFO in charge of Hazaribagh Wildlife Sanctuary had to be content with an abysmal 35% of the sanctioned staff strength. Another area of concern is the average age of guards. In Bandhavgarh the average age of 73 guards is 36 years. In Hazaribagh the average age was 50 years. We need young and energetic JUNE 2011
huge amount in international market. This has led to drastic reduction in their numbers and in fact disappearance of tigers from some areas. In some cases poachers are caught on the spot but because of the inept framing of charges or lack of proper prosecution many are let off. Forest officials, and many of them feel that our field staff should be given comprehensive training in the legal matters also. This can be looked in to. Also there should be an espionage system in place in all of our protected areas .This would have the effect of giving crucial leads to the dept and help nab the criminals before they cause the damage.
area wise it sounds okay but the officer says to me that it is not enough. And I believed him when he told me the reason. Marayur range there are patches of forest where there are sandal wood trees. This is a source of constant headache to the foresters because hordes of people enter the forests in small groups and chop the sandal and run away. The officer says that the area is free off animal poaching and his entire energy is expended on tackling these sandal thieves. He told me frankly that sixteen guards were definitely sufficient for the area, if he did not have these sandalwood thieves to In some cases because of certain reasons spe- contend with. cific to the area the staff deployed is less than required, For example in Chinnar Wildlife Sanc- Poaching is a serious menace. Poachers are tuary which is spread over 90 sq km the officer causing extensive damage. Tigers and leopis given sixteen guards. If you take the average ards are being killed regularly as they fetch guards to do the job. Guarding forest is a tough job. There are two things that can be done. Govt should make an assessment to find out the vacancies to be filled. Second step could be to transfer the older staffs from protected areas to either the administrative wings or to the development corporations. Thirdly and more importantly, it is imperative to pay the field officials well, if not by salary then by hefty increase in incentives. Posting in these areas often force the officials to keep the family in cities and that means increase in expenses.
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Exposure by way of field trips always would have impact. Last year I got a call from a senior IFS officer. He had just seen a pack of wild dogs in action and he narrated the incidence with palpable excitement. Next week once again he was calling, this time from Sundarban and now he is praying for a posting again in the wildlife wing. So training and exposure have their effect. If our officials can feel the way Salim Ali felt or J C Daniel, Assad Rahmani and A J T Johnsingh feel, much of our problems would be solved. May be excessive criticism over the years has had the effect of alienating some of our officials. We on our part should not indulge in unnecessary criticism for our perI interact with all kinds of forest officials, from for- sonal glory. Remember wherever good work has est guards to senior officers like conservators and happened it is the forest officials who have done have found out that there is a need for encourag- it. If officers are not given the chance to work in ing and facilitating flow of information. Rangers wildlife areas it is none of their fault. feel very diffident while talking to conservators and it is same between conservators and their Media also has a responsibility. Our people so bosses. So even though the officials have their far have shown little concern for conserving our difficulties they are not able to tell their bosses forest and wildlife. Not that people are bad. It about it. Faced with intractable situation the offi- is just that they have not been educated about cials in the field do what the best they can do and the importance of protecting our forest and methen keep the prayers on for an early transfer. dia can play a great role there. Ignorance is the only reason behind our people being apathetic. Support and motivation by our political masters, Media should encourage wildlife photographers strengthening the system and effective utiliza- and writers. Currently hardly any space is given tion of IFS officers can bring about remarkable for articles on nature education as much of the improvement. IFS officers are capable officers . space is occupied by items on films, things that May be, some of them lack the motivation and are filmy, glamorous models and so on. I respect zeal of a conservationist but these areas can be The Hindu, Deccan Herald and The Statesman as improved upon by imparting training on motiva- they do show some interest in nature education tional aspects. I have seen how officials become and carry articles on the subject very frequently. enthused and charged about wildlife after undergoing training at Wildlife Institute of India. Schools and colleges would do well to invite wildlife experts and conservationists for interacting with their students. There are some remarkable speakers on the subject like Bittu Sahgal, J C Daniel, Asad Rahmani, A J T Johnsingh and Valmik Thapar. They make impact when they speak as they speak so well on the subject. That apart all schools and college libraries must subscribe to quality nature magazines like Hornbill and Sanctuary Asia. It would not suddenly bring about dramatic change but impact would be there for sure. When Khuswant Singh was the editor of Illustrated Weekly of India, he used to publish images by Late E Hanumanta Rao , the champion wildlife photographers, and it had its impact on people including me. Magazines like India Today and Outlook have a responsibility in this regard. Let them devote at least one page in each issue on an average. They can begin columns like Nature Watch that would contain some great images from our natural world. Let us make a beginning and see. 59 JUNE 2011 ExpressionS
G REAT E R R E S P O NS IB ILI TY Hema Maira
She is based in New Delhi and has been teaching primary students for the last 30 years. She is a passionate nature and wildlife lover. She feels exceedingly concerned about the state of our environment today and is committed to doing whatever she can to help preserve it.
Environment! Wildlife! Conservation! Sustainable development!
slew of words is being heatedly bandied about today generating a variety of responses from a wide cross section of people. Some don’t care or may well think it’s fashionable to get on the ‘buzzword bandwagon’ while others think it fit to discuss these issues, and venture their opinions, from the comfort of their air-conditioned drawing rooms or sundry other venues.
Yet, others, I am very happy to say, are following the proverbial adage and ‘putting their money where their mouth is!’ I am talking about iCARE, a Dehradun group, founded by Yudhishter Puran Singh. iCARE is a youth-based organization, working towards creating a beautiful and sustainable future by promoting community involvement and educational outreach. They believe that conserving our natural and cultural heritage is of paramount importance and that there is an urgent need for us to be conscious of our relationship with nature and to change our perception such that the in-
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teractions between us and our environment becomes mutually rewarding. iCARE is celebrating it’s first anniversary in January, 2011! Hearty congratulations to this enterprising young team, which is demonstrating great power and greater responsibility through their proactive stance! Spanning the centuries, India has an ancient track record of stressingthe import of ecological harmony through it’s venerated scriptures as well as it’s various religious traditions. * “The Vedic Hymn to the Earth, the Prithvi Sukta in Atharva Veda, is unques-
a ksh ay m adan
G R E AT P O W E R tionably the oldest and the most evocative environmental invocation. In it, the Vedic seer solemnly declares the enduring filial allegiance of humankind to Mother Earth: ‘Mata Bhumih Putroham Prithivyah: Earth is my mother, I am her son.’ Mother Earth is celebrated for all her natural bounties and particularly for her gifts of herbs and vegetation. Her blessings are sought for prosperity in all endeavours and fulfilment of all righteous aspirations. A covenant is made that humankind shall secure the Earth against all environmental trespass and shall never let her be oppressed. A soul-stirring prayer is sung in one of the hymns for the preservation and conservation of hills, snow-clad mountains, and all brown, black and red earth, unhurt, unsmitten, unwounded, unbroken and well defended by Indra. That everything around us is a manifestation of Brahma and reverence of all living things as creations of God are well known precepts in Hinduism. The importance of maintaining the balance of nature by taking only what you need and the interconnectedness of all life forms, are also integral beliefs. Buddhism and Jainism, perhaps as much, if not more, than any other traditions, reject the notion of humankind as the exclusive centre of life and existence.
The Jain code of conduct,through ahimsa, is distinctly ecological. By not killing or destroying plants or animals one can help to maintain the ecological balance. Buddhism also propagates ahimsa, simple living in harmony with all creatures and the interconnectedness of all life. Closer to modern times, Gandhiji exhorted • “What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.” • “The earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not every man’s greed.” • “The future depends on what you do today.” • “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” Unfortunately, we seem to have forgotten these ancient and wise injunctions, in our
*Singhvi, Laxmi Mall. “ENVIRONMENTAL WISDOM IN ANCIENT INDIA.” Earth Friendly Products, Organic Gifts, Organic Products, Natural Products, Eco-friendly, Greentailing, Non Toxic, Green Guide, Sustainable, Recycled, Hemp, Solar. Web. 23 Dec. 2010. <http://www.ecomall.com/greenshopping/eastgreen.htm>
A natural balance must be maintained. To exploit all that the earth has to offer, blindly, is not Man’s God given right. “We do not inherit the world from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children,” as the Native American proverb says. It behoves us to pause and think about the future. It is a grim scenario that faces us today. Air, water and noise pollution, climate change, deforestation, poaching of wildlife and miningcontinue all around us. In addition to greed, corruption, apathy and rapid, unsustainable industrialization, the legally appointed guardians of our environment, too, seem to be snoozing on the job. There is little sense of urgency, or commitment….despite all. Which brings us to Gandhiji’s, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” iCARE was born because of a proactive mindset. Since it’s inception, iCARE has initiated and/or been involved in various environmental conservation/awareness programs and campaigns. These have included widespread tree plantation, educational programs in schools and colleges, and energy conservation among others. Organising seminars, campaigns and projects this enthusiastic, energetic and motivated team is doing an amazing and critical job. They take their goal of creating
awareness, very seriously and are going all out to spread the word as far and wide as possible. While iCARE is essentially a Doon based organization, I am delighted that they are going all out to have a far greater reach. Collaboration with schools and colleges across many cities has also been an integral part of their agenda. iCARE’s approach is directly in keeping with the beliefs delineated by the UN for working with youth. I quote from the website/charter of Youth and the United Nations, as the way forward “The deterioration of the natural environment is one of the principal concerns of young people world wide as it has direct implications for their well-being both now and in the future. The natural environment must be maintained and preserved for both present and future generations. The causes of environmental degradation must be addressed. The environmentally friendly use of natural resources and environmentally sustainable economic growth will improve human life. Sustainable development has become a key element in the programmes of youth organizations throughout the world. While every segment of society is responsible for maintaining the environmental integrity of the community, young people have a special interest in maintaining a healthy environ-
It is a grim scenario that faces us today. Air, water and noise pollution, climate change, deforestation, poaching of wildlife and mining continue all around us.In addition to greed, corruption, apathy and rapid, unsustainable industrialization, the legally appointed guardians of our environment, too, seem to be snoozing on the job. ExpressionS JUNE 2011
ment because they will be the ones to inherit it.
and clear imperative of how crucial it is to take care of our only home.
Proposals for action
As a passionate “Earth warrior” (to borrow Darryl Cherney’s phrase), I cannot but commend the iCARE team for being so proactive. To start with, I love the name they have chosen. To me, it immediately personalizes and taps into the “I care” energy within each of us.
Integration of environmental education and training into education and training programmes Emphasis should be given in school curricula to environmental education. Training programmes should be provided to inform teachers of the environmental aspects of their subject-matter and to enable them to educate youth concerning environmentally friendly habits. The participation of youth groups in gathering environmental data and in understanding ecological systems and actual environmental action should be encouraged as a means of improving both their knowledge of the environment and their personal engagement in caring for the environment.” I believe it is the duty of each of us to do whatever we can to help preserve and protect our fragile, beloved earth. Not just because the survival of the human race depends on this but for it’s sheer wonder and natural beauty as well as the right of all living things to co-existin the natural order of things, interconnected as we all are. While my personal passion is the majestic and charismatic tiger and it’s conservation, I am a nature and wildlife lover. I believe that the way forward is by arming our youngsters of today, who will be the guardians of our planet tomorrow, with the knowledge
As a teacher of young children, I wholeheartedly endorse their mission. Awareness is key…..among a host of key issues, yet a perfect starting point! Not only is the educational part very important but the subject itself is so child friendly that willy-nilly the ‘environmental club’ will collect many more members, so urgently needed. While it is an uphill battle and, at times the odds seem insurmountable, it is the motivation, enthusiasm and action of teams like iCARE that are the hope for a brighter tomorrow. For the planet and for us!
As Mahatma Gandhi said – “You may never know what results come of your actions but if you do nothing there will be no results.” Hearty congratulations, Team
tic vision of the world, superior groups are those that display physical strength and analytical intelligence, while inferior groups are associated with devalued qualities like gentleness, intuition and emotion. This vision justifies the exploitation of the majority over the minority, men’s exploitation over women and humans’ exploitation over non-humans.
composed of, just like a human body is kept alive by the healthy collaboration of its various organs. The feminine essence of that living system is implicitly evoked through the use of the term Gaia, referring to the Greek goddess personifying nature.
Ecofeminists believe that gender inequalities and the unsustainable exploitation of the planet share common roots, namely a mentality of patriarchy.
here is no doubt that if the world is to move towards sustainable development, it will have to reconsider the values that have allowed today’s problems to emerge, and embrace a new set of values and priorities. What should be considered as outdated values are those that have shaped the notions of personal and collective success (or happiness and development) as they are widely accepted today.These values equal personal success with money-making and material accumulation. These values have made possible the era of mass-production and mass-consumption, without caring about the impacts of this economic system on the finite resources of this planet. These values emphasise the notions of competition and individualism, and could be categorised as “male values”. By contrast, what we could call “feminine values”emphasisethe notions of cooperation and compassion. This fundamental distinction between femininity and masculinity is recognised in the vast majority of cultures across space and time. This distinction has undeniable cultural roots (society teaches girls to be kinder than boys), but it canalso beexplained by biological factors. For mammal species
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like humans, females must nurture a very tight relationship with their offspring. They breastfeed them, they carry them along, they educate them. They need to understand their offspring’s needs and react to them to allow them to survive, and to give a chance to their species to perpetuate. This is whymammal females, including women, have inherited and promoted the genes of empathy and cooperation. In Chinese philosophy, all systems must show a balance between the opposite forces of yin and yang to be healthy. Our society has given massive predominance to one set of values - male value - which has resulted in violence between communities, social groups, religions, races, genders, and even species. These theories have found their conceptual framework in the “ecofeminist” philosophy. Ecofeminists believe that gender inequalities and the unsustainable exploitation of the planet share common roots, namely a mentality of patriarchy. In this context, patriarchy can be defined as a domination of groups considered superior over groups considered inferior. In that utilitarian, mechanis-
The patriarch mentality that has dominated human society for millennia hasled to the disrespectful ill-use, exploitation, control of, and even violence against Mother Nature as well as women, with the exclusive aim to increase the material wealth and satisfy the personal egos of the exploiters. Human and non-human beings are only appreciated as economic resources, which lead to a denial of their intrinsic value and their right to exist for themselves. This has led to the depletion and pollution of natural resources, the expulsion of indigenous people and subsistence farmers, especially women, from the forests and productive lands to be commercially exploited. In line with this mentality, modern society has given monetary and economic considerations the central focus, and equated growth in revenue, consumption and GDP with human development, while ignoring the other, non-monetary aspects of human wellbeing, namely health, human relationships, leisure time, spirituality, etc. Ecofeminism,in some way, responds to another ecologist theory, the “Gaia hypothesis”, which considers the biosphere as a unique living system, which is kept alive thanks to the harmonious interactions between all the species and elements it is
Throughout human cultural history, nature and the Earth has indeed been considered as intrinsically feminine, like a sort of providing mother. Gaia’s equivalent in the Roman pantheon was Terra Mater or Tellus.Some anthropologists argue that a Great Mother, symbolising a nurturing Earth, was venerated in Neolithic times. The veneration of nature as a nurturing goddess has influenced – and has been influenced by – the development of agriculture. These societies were remarkably artisticand stable, and, quite surprisingly, they showed no evidence of warfare, slavery, or territorial conquest. This may be explained by the importance given by these societies to the feminine values of beauty, compassion and harmony. In contrast, the contemporary nomadic and hunting communities that conquered those agricultural communities worshiped an omnipotent, male deity, and were apparently not so peaceful.They turned the Goddesses of the cultures they conquered into the wife or daughter of their own chief God, or they represented them as disobedient women. This is how Pandora, the first woman in Greek mythology, was accused of bringing humanity into sin by disobeying her father and opening the forbidden box. In the same way, Goddess Eve was transformed by Hebrews into the first mortal woman, who, as told
the readers’ expressions We need to create a world culture where feminine values regain the ground invaded by male values in a culture where domination and violence are the norm and where the notions of individualism, competition and materialism are implicitly or explicitly promoted as the only way towards success, progress and development. in the Bible, was responsible for expelling humanity from the paradisiacal Garden of Eden by tempting Adam to join her in eating the Forbidden Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. In this crucial moment in history, we must question our fundamental beliefs and values. We must recreate a sense of harmonious belonging to the Universe, and a sense of worship for Mother Earth. And this will remain incompatible with the pursuit of a male-dominated culture. To regain balance and harmony, our society must be infused with feminine energy in time – presuming we still have enough time – to prevent so-
cial chaos and disruption of life on Earth. We need to create a world culture where feminine values regain the ground invaded by male values in a culture where domination and violence are the norm and where the notions of individualism, competition and materialism are implicitly or explicitly promoted as the only way towards success, progress and development. A culture more driven by feminine values would measure personal success not only in terms of material wealth, but also in terms of inner fulfilment. It would not exclusively value aggressive competition as the best road towards progress, but it would emphasise compassion towards human and non-human life as the best means to create a harmonious society.
Feminism and the creation of a culture of sustainable development are mutually-reinforcing movements. Giving women a more prominent role in decision-making helps the emergence of a non-violent, environmental-friendly society. In the same way, a culture of non-violence would help promote
A 30-year-old French citizen, Isablle Richaud, is avegetarian, and works in Antwerp, Belgium for the European branch of TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute, based in New Delhi). She is professionally and personally committed to making this world a better place.
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It has been about seven months now when I first met this team of young, enthusiastic and dynamic graduates in Commerce and Law drove in from Dehradun. The team was then led by Yudhister Puran Singh, the team leader, as it is today. And to me, today they are brothers in arms, who on every call for the cause of environment respond with enthusiasm and undying vigor. In these alarming times when environment and wildlife is hit by a nail in the fore-head and no stone is left unturned to distort, destroy and exploit the resources under the lame excuse of commercial gain for the nation, in times when the fragile bio-diversity is been widowed of its beauty and when wildlife lovers, enthusiasts, conservationists and activists bang their heads to the wall shouting at deaf ears of men clad in white, hope seems to pour in the like honey in a bowl of glum dejection. This hope to me is in form of ‘Expressions’, the window to world of green world full of wild animals and birds. The boys at ‘Icare’ have pledged a ‘war-cry’ through their pen’s for the cause of environment in times when the youth jump walls and ethics alike to peruse carriers with multinational’s and corporate. ‘Expressions’ have thus continued their amazing work by giving exposure to wildlife photographers, conservationists and activists; they have been instrumental in bridging the gap between a nature lover and the nature itself. Yudhishter and his team are a rare combination of youth, intelligence and enthusiasm and are leading the way in inspiring others to take up the cause of wildlife and environment with a pragmatic approach. I am proud to know these young brigadiers who are family. I wish ICARE all the best from the bottom of my heart and pledge my support to them for a ‘lifetime’
Haseeb Shaikh Baroda I have been reading, “Expressions”, for the last six months. The January issue, “Greater Power, Greater responsibility”, was thought provoking. The articles were well brought out in its entirety. The photographs clicked by the young prodigy, ‘Ayaan Vaid’, are beyond his age; truly awesome pictures, I must say! I’ve recommended this e-magazine to some of my contemporaries and friends in the Corporate sector, not only to bring to their notice the yeoman service rendered by the present young generation, which is to be appreciated by one and all. I would suggest more articles on banning of plastic bags and initiatives taken by various other organizations and the positive results achieved there from. I wish iCARE, all the very best in their future endeavors.
Officer in Ministry of Commerce & Industry, New Delhi
the readers’ expressions Me and my colleagues feel really good with expressions, for the versatility of subjects and sensibilization for the protection of nature, forests, wildlife and so on, It is a good sign for the young generation to be attracted in the right path of nature protection and bringing back of the values of nature, as belongs to the past in-heritage of our ancestors. I remind your group that India is the famous country and nation from the beginning of human civilization, and its contribution to the worldwide culture is for sure one of the most highlighted old and new cultures of the Asian countries, and moreover of entire world culture. Please continue with Expressions, and please enter in its coming numbers some comparisons of today situation and the past one, in India-!!!! With respect and regards, sincerely yours; with heart wishes from Albania, Balkan countries!!!
the readers’ expressions The list of everything that’s wrong and everything that needs a change is endless. Not just on paper but in our assessment of them to begin with as well. However there is always a yin for a yang and I consider “Expressions ” to be just that. While the present leaders of world make perpetual attempts to crucify all woes that plague the earth, it is us who will be the future leader to uphold this endeavor in one form or the other. And this magazine comes with a promise to make the youth realize all of it. I consider that this magazine offers a much needed hope. Hope that our planet will sustain on itself. The biggest take back from this for me is to think and forsee a Dream of a better environment and more than that a determination –to catch the stands of our imagination and turn them into palpable reality . It ignites in us the power of pulling a trigger of revolution and defines the direction and all the responsibilities that tag along.
Its tough to believe that Expressions is now a year old ! In the past one year Expressions has achieved commendable success. Its popularity has grown manifold. From articles written by amateur writers to various environmental experts, the magazine has featured them all and has received great appreciation from India n abroad. Expressions was introduced to me by my friend Pooja, who urged me to write a regular column Green Beat. Though writing is not my cup of tea, yet as an environment freak i got tempted to try my hands on it. My experience in writing for Expressions was great. It’s a magazine which u can’t overlook even if u wish to...it offers u a fresh understanding about nature n environment every time u pick up a copy of it. The vibrancy of the content keeps it going. Environment has become a matter of serious concern today and its highly commendable that the youth today is aware and active to promote the cause of eco-friendliness. In this regard, I congratulate all the young and bright members of icare that they started up with such an amazing idea of e-mag. With this you surely are making a difference. Good luck for all your endeavors
Expression is a magazine which creates enthusiasm and their ability to motivate young talents which has resulted in a significant development of I Care to become an international. At the very starting I heartily congratulate you on your marvelous performance feel really proud to see you at this height of achievement. This is something everyone at your stage dreams to achieve and what you have already surpassed. This culmination, I believe, will reach you at a very respectable position in our nature and conservation. Further the responsibility you will assume will be discharged at the best I know. So with me, I think the India will once feel proud with the chair adorned by you. In this small space I also appreciate your endeavor towards accomplishment of the targeted result. This I hope will inspire your pals and juniors in taking proper steps for achieving some goals. It is now established that genuine determination and tenacity are the right weapons to reach your target through such performance.
Simren Singh I consider myself to be one ‘lucky’ youngster, to have had written an article for this vibrant magazine, with request from my law senior, Harshit Khare. After receiving appreciation for the published article, I was keen on becoming an exclusive part of this forward looking organization, thinking that I could put my enthusiasm into work and become a tiny part of playing a role in bringing about a necessary change to the concept of ‘Saving Green’. I have been on both sides of the fence, i.e. contributing as a high school girl towards protection of our environment as well as, being the member of iCARE. This magazine, being one of its kind in the country, run by the youth, aims at empowering and educating all generations of the home base and other countries worldwide. I see us touching every silver lining of every cloud. Cheers to Expressions!
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Expression has never been short of expressions! You have grown into one of the most appreciated magazine touching areas of ecological concern with real concern.Yea, I CARE - You really care! HAPPY BIRTHDAY EXPRESSIONS!
AJ Mithra Expressions is making serious inroads into spreading environmental awareness. I thoroughly enjoy reading the articles and adding to my knowledge. Great job, Team iCare! Keep at it. “We have to be the change we wish to see in the world” (Mahatma Gandhi). You guys at iCare have taken that motto very seriously..... and, I believe, are helping that change to happen.
Hema Maira JUNE 2011
human creates its deadliest foe
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Global Warming is surely earning for itself the reputation of being the “Deadliest Foe to the human race, by the human race”. Recently there was a horrifying incident in Madagascar, which drew the attention of many international organizations to combat the increasing risks to mankind from the consequences of Global Warming. 14 people were reported to have died after eating sardines as they were supposedly poisoned. But it was even more awful to discover that the poisoning of the sardines was an extended effect of Global Warming. The fish fed on poisoned sea weed that had started to grow in this region as the sea temperatures rose due to Global Warming. And oblivious to such remote changes taking place under the sea cover, the poor people faced fatal consequences. This is surely an example as to how fatal Global Warming can be. And this surely explains the need of greater attention from world communities to address the issue of Global Climate Changes. The human endeavors are surely falling short of what is required to tame the current scenario. When we refer to the statistics presented by the IPCCC, it seems that Global Warming shall change the global whereabouts by the next century. Rise in sea level and alteration of Global Climatic conditions are some of the direct effects listed by various international organizations as the consequences of Global Warming. But as we come across what has
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Rise in sea level and alteration of Global Climatic conditions are some of the direct effects listed by various international organizations as the consequences of Global Warming. happened in Madagascar, it seems that the ill effects of Global warming have been highly underestimated. Contamination of the world water channels, a very obvious effect of Global Warming, brings with itself in disguise a bunch of more concerns. Poisoning of marine fishes, instability of marine habitats, all these shall affect the survival of the human race. Economic crisis, worldwide conflict for acquisition of so called ‘basic necessities’ shall make the human race handicapped and make their survival tough. And if we need to name a cause for all such mishaps that the mankind can face in the near future, then this cause can be appropriately named as Global Warming. It’s an alarming situation, and we need to discover the need of the hour. We need to rise to the call of concern before it gets too late to handle and poses a threat to the sustenance of the entire human race. Being the superior of all the species on this planet, humans are socially responsible to ensure the well-being of the planet and combat against Global Warming.
apple going green Naman Khanduri
15 years old studying in St. Josephs Academy, Dehradun. With writing as his passion, he utilizes it for his concerns towards the environment and can be reached at NK.NamanKhanduri@facebook.com
Apple has been criticized by some environmental organizations for not being a leader in removing toxic chemicals from its new products, and for not properly recycling the waste generated from its used products. Upon investigating Apple’s current practices and progress towards the goal of “cleanliness”, I was surprised to learn that in many cases Apple is ahead of, or will soon be ahead ofmost of its competitors in these areas.
Removing Toxic Chemicals
Lead A typical Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) contains approximately 3 pounds (1.36 kg) of lead. In mid-2006, Apple became the first company in the computer industry to completely eliminate CRTs. The effect has been stunning — the current third-generation LCD-based iMac contains less than 1 gram of lead.
Apple’s policy of not trumpeting its goals and plans is the main reason behind this misconception. Unfortunately this policy left its customers, shareholders, employees and the industry in the dark about its desires and plans to become greener.So, the Giant now keeps the world informed about its green policy and actively works to reduce the environmental impact of its products. Here’s what Apple is doing in this regard:
Cadmium, Hexavalent Chromium, Decabromodiphenyl Ether The European Union is generally ahead of the U.S. in restricting toxic substances in electronic products. Their latest restrictions, known as RoHS, went into effect in July 2006. All Apple products worldwide comply with RoHS. Its manufacturing policies had already restricted or banned most of the chemicals Apple completely eliminated the use covered by RoHS, and Apple began introducing fully RoHS-compliant products a year beof CRTs in mid-2006 fore the European deadline.Despite the tough
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Arsenic, Mercury Arsenic and mercury are industry standard materials used in liquid crystal displays (LCDs). Arsenic is added during the manufacturing of the high performance glass used in LCDs to prevent the formation of defects, and the fluorescent lamps used to illuminate LCDs contain minute amounts of mercury. Apple introduced its first displays using arsenic-free glass in 2007. A small number of high performance integrated circuits (ICs) continue to contain a minute amount of arsenic as an element of the semiconductor substrate.
To eliminate mercury in its displays, Apple needs to transition from fluorescent lamps to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to illuminate the displays. Fortunately, all iPod displays already use LEDs for illumination, and therefore contain no mercury. Apple plans to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of mercury by transitioning to LED backlighting for all displays when technically and economically feasible.
restrictions of RoHS, these exemptions let companies ship electronics that still contain high concentrations of two hazardous substances — hexavalent chromium, the carcinogen against which Erin Brockovich famously campaigned, and the brominated flame retardant decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE), which is also feared to have adverse health effects. Apple phased out these and many other chemicals too several years ago through design innovations and the use of higher quality metals and plastics.
Polyvinyl Chloride, Brominated flame retardants Apple began phasing out PVC twelve years ago and began restricting BFRs in 2001. For the past several years, it has been developing alternative materials that can replace these chemicals without compromising the safety or quality of its products. Today, it has successfully eliminated the largest applications of PVC and BFRs in its products, and it is close to eliminating these chemicals altogether. For example, more than three million iPods with a BFR-free laminate on their logic boardshave already been shipped.
Recycling Products (E-Waste) Apple started recycling in 1994 and today it operates recycling programmes in countries where more than 82% of all the waste generated is recycled.
to environment by the mercury contained in them.
Apple is already a leader in innovation and Apple recycled 13 million pounds of e-waste engineering, and is applying these same talin 2006, which is equal to 9.5% of the weight ents to become an environmental leader. We, of all products Apple sold seven years earlier. as dedicated Apple fans must feel proud of All Apple products come in recyclable pack- Apple’s environmental achievements, and aging. Apple urges its customers to exchange must sincerely help the Giant in every way used or defective products for recycling at re- that we can. And that can be done by becomcycle points. For example, used batteries are ing responsible customers! exchanged for new ones to prevent damage
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saptarshibhattacharyya a conservationist biologist specializing on Forest wealth and wild life census, based in Bankura district, West Bengal and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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B ee F ly family Bombyliidae, Diptera q
p LADY BUG family Cocccinellidae
nuclear waste management INTRODUCTION Nuclear waste is a waste-product containing radioactive material. It is the product of a nuclear process of nuclear fission, on account of which suchwaste is generated. The radioactivity of materials such as uranium and similar materials used in nuclear fission, diminishes over a period of time and therefore, in principle, the waste needs to be isolated for a period of time until it no longer poses a hazard. This can mean hours to years for some common medical or industrial radioactive wastes, or thousands of years for high-level wastes from nuclear power plantsand nuclear weapons reprocessing. The majority of radioactive waste is “low-level waste”, meaning it has low levels of radioactivity permass or volume.
Final year students at the University of Petroleum Studies (UPES), Dehradun. They harbour a keen interest in Indian Wildlife and Environmental Laws as well as Oil and Gas Laws.
Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, 11March 2011
Nuclear waste is produced at every stage of the nuclear fuel cycle, from uranium mining and enrichment, to reactor operation and the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. Much of this nuclear waste will remain hazardous for hundreds of thousands of years, leaving a poisonous legacy to future generations. Hence the disposal of this nuclear waste is veryimportant and for this purpose we needNuclear Waste Management policies.
In Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, a series of fires,equipment failures and releases of radioactive materials was caused at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, following the 9.0 magnitude Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011. The damage to the Nuclear Reactor on account of the earthquake resulted in nuclear power generation being severely criticized across the world. Recently, it also resulted in abandoning all the future nuclear power plants which were to be built in Japan and Germany. The severity of the nuclear accident is provisionallyrated 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES). This scale runs from 0, indicating anormal situation with no safety consequences, to 7, indicating an accident causing widespread contamination with serious health and environmental effects.
NUCLEAR WASTE MANAGEMENT
A summary of the amounts of radioactive wastes and management approaches for most developed countries are presented and reviewed periodically as part of the IAEA Joint Convention on Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management.The main approaches to managing radioactive waste to date have been segregation and storage for short-lived wastes, near-surface dis-
Adhideb Bhattacharya and Ankit Srivastava
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posal for low and some intermediate level wastes, and deep burial or transmutation for the long-lived, high-level wastes. The need from Nuclear Waste Management emanates from the previous nuclear energy use and subsequent experiences in Chernobyl, Russia and the recent nuclear crisis in Fukushima, Japan.
the need for
If Japan and Germany,two of the largest economies in the world, believe that they can cut their carbon emissions and keep the lights on without building nuclear power stations, then why can’t the rest of the countries?The question may soon become even morestark if an upcoming referendum in Italyalso cancels their future nuclear programme.These are not small statements by Japan and Germany. About 30% of Japan’s electricity comes from nuclear and a rise to 50% was projected by
Prior to Fukushima, the Chernobyl disaster was the only level 7 accident on record, while theThree Mile Island accident was a level 5 accident.The Japan Atomic Energy Agency initially rated the situation at unit 1, below both of these previous accidents; on 13 March it announced it was classifying the event at level 4, an “accident with local consequences”. On 11 April, the Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) temporarily raised the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi to Level 7 on the INES scale, by considering the whole event and not considering each reactor as an individual event per se (rated between 3 and 5). Having said that, radiation released as a result of the events at Fukushima was, as of April 12, only approximately 10% of that released as a result of the accident at Chernobyl (1986), also rated as INES Level 7.
2030. In Germany, up to 25% of electricity came from nuclear power. So the lessons need to be absorbed by developing countries like India.We should focus on Clean Energy Technologies which are the need of the hour. Nuclear waste is the most dangerous waste as its impact on human health and the environment is lethal. So why invest in such energies? It’s time to learn from previous experiences of nuclear disasters. The focus should be on building a moresustainable tomorrow. JUNE 2011
Bird Photography couldn’t have been simpler than this… Dr Caesar Sengupta MD
the General Manager and Head Laboratory Operations of Thyrocare Technologies Ltd. He has been passionate about photography since he was a child of 12 years. He still manages to take out time to nurture his passion of wildlife photography amidst his busy schedules of corporate professionalism. He has traveled extensively across the country and his work has been acknowledged and appreciated in various media, publication houses, forums and organisations throughout India.
Confused? You guessed it right… it isn’t simple and it couldn’t be simpler as well. Bird photography, in the true sense, is far from what can be imagined in comparison to the several other genres of photography. I make this statement because, here we aren’t talking about the photographer who shoots birds on the go… a true bird photographer isn’t just the one who prefers to spend the Sunday morning walking in the woods and keeps clicking photographs of, whatever birds that come on the way… and sometime he also gets diverted by the Chameleon that is basking on the rock or by the wood spider hanging down from the overhanging branch. I am talking about that bird photographer, who spends months studying the birds behavior, doesn’t jump with the camera as soon as he gets a glimpse of a bird, doesn’t open his
mouth when he in the forest, keeps coming to the same riverside again and again, days after days to get the best picture of the bird or spends the entire night waiting for a good catch or waits for hours in the hide for the bird to return. This article is for those who are willing to improvise on their photographs. Infact, when you start clicking the birds in the wild, you remain happy with whatever you capture in your frames but soon you realize that you need to work a lot. Happens with every one – this article is expected to help those who are facing this question – ‘what makes a perfect bird photograph?’
Away from the camera I keep saying, a wild life photographer is a wildlife lover first and then a photographer… and when we talk about bird photography… oh my god…..a dictionary of photographic techniques may prove useless unless the eye behind the lens is in love with that little life.
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The subject here is extremely restless, very small, doesn’t allow second takes, mostly comes with poor light conditions and above all is highly sensitive to the approaching photographer.
Keep studying the best of the photographs clicked by the best of the photographers. With internet making our lives simpler today, you can today interact with the maestros in this field much easier than what it used to be 10 years back. None of these great guns would ever refuse to answer any of your silliest questions… ask about the conditions under which the photo was shot, try to know about the location, the story behind it. It imparts immense knowledge and helps to an enormous extent in getting the best out of you provided you remember the tips while shooting.
Few of these highly resourceful websites which have always inspired me are www.indianaturewatch.com http://www.thejunglelook.com http://www.wildlifetimes.com http://www.indiabirds.com http://orientalbirdimages.org http://www.kolkatabirds.com http://www.kevincreation.com
There are many – I just mentioned those, which made a difference in my photographs.
Composition is the key If you go through the websites I just mentioned – you will better understand what I am talking about. A well framed and well composed photograph communicates a lot. It stands out prominently from the lot. To make your photograph stand prominent, you need to take care of certain aspects of it. Firstly, I would say, giving adequate space to your subject is a must. Leave enough space in front of the bird, especially in case of flying shots, which brings in a feeling of motion in the picture. This also gives your photographs a clean appearance. Following the rule of thirds apply not only to landscapes but also in bird photography. Don’t keep your subject in the center. It loses its charm.
A good combination of the aperture, shutter speed and ISO helps you achieve this. Many keep the camera at aperture priority mode and select the biggest aperture and see how high is the shutter speed available under the given light conditions. That’s a very wise approach infact and most of the times it helps you to get a good sharp picture. If, however, the shutter speed available even at the widest aperture, is seen to be very less, it is likely to give a blur to the photos and under such circumstances, ISO should be increased under poor light conditions. That ofcourse may give rise to grains to your final image if you plan to have a blow up, but it may solve your purpose for web posting or small size prints.
The second most important thing is the perspective. Try a ground level shot for a ground dwelling bird sometime… infact I would rather say don’t ever shoot a ground dwelling bird from any other perspective other than lying flat on ground. It is only when you see the result you realize that it was worth making that stretchy effort.
Finally the background... they call it the Bokeh. The cleaner it is, the better is the quality of the picture. Nobody looks twice at a photograph, which has a cluttered background. One must always try to keep an open empty space as the background while shooting. A higher focal length lens gives fantastic background because the depth of focus is too shallow for such lenses. So… whether you invest heavily after getting a longer focal length lens, or you get too close to the bird or you manage to have a good depth of focus
Thirdly, the subject needs to be sharp. If your subject is not sharp, you can forget the picture to be anything other than a record shot.
graph however sharp is your object is.
But aren’t gadgets important? Oh … ofcourse … having a good equipment is a must. But the challenge is, possessing a 35 mm Digital SLR with interchangeable lenses is sometimes beyond dreams of many aspiring ones. I have always been discouraged by the alternatives like SLR like cameras with an electronic viewfinder and fixed lens digital SLR. My advise for a beginner has always been not to invest heavily after the camera body but to save money for the lenses. Entry level Digital SLRs at a cost anything between Rs 25,000 to Rs 35,000 offer a range of fantastic features starting from changeable lenses, through the lens metering, manual exposures, exposure compensations and various shooting modes. At a slightly higher range, an even extended spectrum of equipments are available today. Choosing the correct lens for bird photography is a challenge. Ofcourse, it goes without saying that higher the focal length, the better. But lenses are heavy on your pocket. It’s a loop – once you get into it – you keep
realizing that the costlier lens, which you didn’t opt for thinking about your budget, would have been much better if only you invested a bit more. Lets take a logical approach to it. You definitely need a longer focal length of the lens for bird photography. Bird photography specifically requires lenses with focal lengths up to 400 or 500mm. 150 / 170 – 500 mm zoom lenses are available in the market in a considerably affordable range of Rs 35,000 – Rs 50,000. However, you also need to remember that the longer is the focal length of the lens; greater are the chances of camera shake while shooting and hence using a stable tripod is advisable with such lenses. There are lenses available with optical stabilization technology, which reduces the vibration during shooting using such longer focal lengths. This gives you an advantage of getting a much sharper picture, which otherwise you could have got only with much higher shutter speeds.
In the field … when you approach the subject One of the very important aspects that we keep forgetting is … the bird in the wild has a comfort zone around it. This comfort zone varies in size from species to species but all of them have one for sure and they don’t quite like you intruding into that zone. As you approach them in the wild with an attempt to photograph them, they become cautious and the moment you step inside the comfort zone, they fly off. This is exactly the oppo-
site when you don’t approach the bird and rather wait silently in a place for it to approach you – in such a situation, your subject is has a complete control of the situation and your chances of getting a close shot is much higher. But it has happened many times with me – at the height of excitement you forget this and finally land up having a disappointment.
If you must move towards the subject, then be very cautious not to disturb it – be low and be slow. Try to move as slow as possible – avoid any drastic fast movement that makes you noticeable. Move as low as possible – crawl, if possible. The idea is to approach your precious subject without getting noticed because these subjects don’t allow second takes. You will find it very interesting if you have a vehicle - try approaching birds in wild in a vehicle. They are much less afraid when you approach them in a vehicle. If you are to shoot water birds, you can get to unbelievable close distance if you approach
them in boat. I am not quite finished with this approaching the animals in the wild without disturbing them. One more very important fact - camouflaging yourself while you are in the wild. Camouflage doesn’t mean that you need to get a whole body cover up with hay stalks. Just don’t stand out emphatically prominent – don’t wear bright colored shirts – better to wear camouflage prints. It is wise to wear a dark colored hand glove and cover up any shiny metallic part in your equipment that could reflect light.
keeping the background out of focus … everything works. Idea is not to keep the background cluttered. A cluttered background diverts attention of the viewer from the subject and is by no means considered a good photo-
Natural light and the best time of the day The best time to photograph birds is either in the morning hours or evening. This is not only because the bird is more active during these hours but also because of the fact that the light is from sides – the best possible lighting conditions for bird photography. Mid-day sunlight is straight from top and castes very harsh shadows. Always keep the
Locations and the approach
This is important but many times we don’t actually realize that the photographing techniques cannot be generalized in all locations and all terrains. Locations have a significant impact on the final outcome. Grassland birds and wetland birds are easier to approach. You may either use a vehicle for the grassland or may be a boat for the wetland. They also offer you great perches often and you may get stunning photographs even without much effort (ofcourse not always). However, the woodland birds pose a real challenge mainly because most of the times they are hidden within foliage and don’t offer you a very clear perch. Waiting for the birds with your camera mounted on the tripod in one specific location helps. Use of a hide enhances your
Sun behind you to get the best possible pictures. However, if you have to break this rule, break it cautiously and apply intelligence – and believe me experimenting with lighting conditions may bring you amazing images. Some of the backlit wildlife images have been all time masterpieces.
inconspicuousness in the wild and some of the best photographs of these deciduous for est birds have been taken using hide photography. As I was mentioning earlier, the background in a photograph matters a lot. While it is easier to get a clean background in case of grassland birds because you don’t have too many trees or creepers creating clutters in your background but for all woodland birds it is always advisable to select a clean perch and wait patiently for the bird to come and pose for your best of the photographs. It is highly unpredictable and may be disappointing…
… but … finally that is what is bird photography.
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nature no longer natural? ANIRUDH KHANNA It used to fascinate me as a kid to think of smooth roads,lush green fields all around,a cool breeze and myself on my small bicycle.Perhaps it was the childish ignorance that had concealed from me the darker aspect of my surroundings. Who would imagine at that age that this very wonderland was perpetually being destroyed-I can blame it on too much of Cartoon Network viewing probably! Nevertheless, today the same picture comes to my mind when I think of a greener,better tomorrow which is to be ‘pursued’.
flaunt our financial capabilities whichwould enable us to own or purchase stuff we can proudly show off. The reality is, we wouldbe making ac-
Environmental Studies came my way as a ‘repulsive’ subject in my later years in school and even in college,because some brains thought mankind had to be taught about the effects of its various activities.I learnt about the various environmental issueslike ozone depletion,pollution,global warming and also about a few ways using which we could help mitigate them.But then, ratherthan simply reading about environment and wasting efforts in trying to score in yet another subject on the list,why don’t we “do” something instead, say start with making our householdactivities ecofriendly? I’m sure that would be easier than getting an ‘A’ in “EVS” or than simply hearing or getting involved inarguments regarding issues related to nature,or participating in rallies and marathons such asGreenathon.I wonder how sweating it out on the streets and exhausting oneself would benefit thisdegrading environment.
tual productive use of only a small percentage of it, the remaining going into the showing-off business, which too would only nurture envy and negativities among those on the receiving end-again totally non-productive! So,purchase what you need,not what appeals to your greed. Stop littering around-dustbins aren’t provided just to give company to the footpaths!Start reusing daily commodities such as tinned cans and plastic bottles, and do not simply discard or burn them-disposing these wastes would cost far more than what you would have paid for the product. Close all taps after use-I don’t thinkI need to mention the reason here.These would be pretty good for a start.
Firstly, we need to be clear about the problems before we start thinking of the solutions.Each individual must be sure of his priorities with regard to environment-degradation-contributingfactors like consumption or use of products in a judicious manner.I’m quite sure half of us like to
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Thus, there is the need to form that cascade which would spread gradually and all efforts would collectively yield substantial outcomes.
from‘greenery’, and how the sweet sounds of birds have been drowned by the constant hornhonking,or the ever noisy ‘developmental’ activities.The rallies do help in spreading awareness and bringing people together in support of nature, but I feel we’re stuck at the awareness step itself and are not stepping further towards actually doing something. It’s time we start considering the issue of taking that step at our personal level.
sure we’llone day restore the losses that nature has suffered,to an extent that my child would be fascinated to actually experience his bicycle ride on that smooth road,surrounded by those lush green fields, and with that cool,fresh, soothing breeze flowing all around.
There are groups and environmentalists who had taken that step long back, but then what is our contribution? Clearly, their efforts aren’t sufficient to protect our homeland from the imminent crisis. Does Mother Earth solely belong to them? It’s ‘ours’,and therefore saving the earth demands efforts from each one of us. With these efforts,I’m
Secondly, to take things to the next level, individuals can form groups to plan the maintenance of larger areas of the society,and also educate the masses about how they can take that first step, mentioned above. Thus, there is the need to form that cascade which would spread gradually and all efforts would collectively yield substantial outcomes. Basically,it’s important to realize now itself, the importance of thinking logically and ‘acting’towards improving our surroundings.I can feel how impure the ‘fresh’ air is,how the ‘green’ has faded away
a glossary Namrata Walia
Namrata has a degree in MBA from Amity University and is currently studying MS Psychology from IPMS (Mumbai). She loves music, creativity, and believes in doing social work. She wanted to be part of ICARE and so upgraded her knowledge in the field and now is one of us.
Environmental Law is a complex body of law made up of global, international, national, state and local statutes, treaties, conventions, regulations and policies which seek to protect the environment and natural resources affected, impacted or endangered by human activities. It imposes a duty on every citizen ‘to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife’. Following is a list of the environmental legislations that have come into effect: General | Forest and wildlife | Water | Air General The Environment Act authorizes the central government to protect and improve environmental quality, control and reduce pollution from all sources, and prohibit or restrict the setting and / or operation of any industrial facility on environmental grounds. The Environment Rules lay down procedures for setting standards of emission or discharge of environmental pollutants. The objective of Hazardous Waste Rules is to control the generation, collection, treatment, import, storage, and handling of hazardous waste. The Manufacture, Storage, and Import of Hazardous Rules define the terms used in this context, and sets up an authority to inspect, once a year, the industrial activity connected with hazardous chemicals and isolated storage facilities. The Manufacture, Use, Import, Export, and Storage of hazardous Micro-organisms/ Genetically Rules were introduced with a view to protect the environment, nature, and health, in connection with the application of gene technology and microorganisms. The National Environmental Tribunal Act has been created to award compensation for damages to persons, property, and the environment arising from any activity involving hazardous substances.
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Forest and wildlife The Indian Forest Act is one of the many surviving colonial statutes. It was enacted to ‘consolidate the law related to forest, the transit of forest produce, and the duty leviable on timber and other forest produce’. The Wildlife Protection Act, provides for the protection of birds and animals and for all matters that are connected to it whether it be their habitat or the waterhole or the forests that sustain them. The Forest (Conservation) Act and Rules, provides for the protection of and the conservation of the forests.
Water The Easement Act allows private rights to use a resource that is, groundwater, by viewing it as an attachment to the land. It also states that all surface water belongs to the state and is a state property. The Indian Fisheries Act establishes two sets of penal offences whereby the government can sue any person who uses dynamite or other explosive substance in any way (whether coastal or inland) with intent to catch or destroy any fish or poisonous fish in order to kill. The River Boards Act enables the states to enroll the central government in setting up an Advisory River Board to resolve issues in inter-state cooperation. The Merchant Shipping Act aims to deal with waste arising from ships along the coastal areas within a specified radius. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act establishes an institutional structure for preventing and abating water pollution. It establishes standards for water quality and effluent. Polluting industries must seek permission to discharge waste into effluent bodies.
Air The Factories Act was the first to express concern for the working environment of the workers. The amendment of 1987 has sharpened its environmental focus and expanded its application to hazardous processes. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act provides for the control and abatement of air pollution. It entrusts the power of enforcing this act to the CPCB. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Rules defines the procedures of the meetings of the Boards and the powers entrusted to them. The Atomic Energy Act deals with the radioactive waste. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Amendment Act empowers the central and state pollution control boards to meet with grave emergencies of air pollution. The Motor Vehicles Act states that all hazardous waste is to be properly packaged, labeled, and transported.
a world beyond us Isabelle Richaud
A 30-year-old French citizen, Isablle Richaud, is avegetarian, and works in Antwerp, Belgium for the European branch of TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute, based in New Delhi). She is professionally and personally committed to making this world a better place.
Modern man has literally created a world for himself. Most of his days are spent between four walls, his leisure time in front of a screen, his working time in front of another screen, and the rest of his time in a car. Nature? A useless disturbance we, human, have successfully dominated thanks to our intelligence, technique and technologies – the modern man may tell you. And to some extent, he is right. History has witnessed a growingly striking separationbetween the human and the natural spheres at the social, cultural and physical levels, with the development of more and more complex social organisation, infrastructures and technologies. In the eyes of the modern man, this evolutionled human beings to develop an auto-sufficient system allowing them to bypass the vagaries of the natural world. But is that really so? So why is it that environmental changes like pollution, growing scarcity of natural resources, biodiversity loss and climate change seem, more than ever, to be threatening our future wellbeing and economic development? – You may want to answer the modern man. The fact is that the even social and technological developments that allowed an apparent separation between humanity and its surrounding world have also induced greater pressures on the natural world. Technology has increased the physical power of humans – despite their initial fragility and weakness compared to other animals – and resulted in a greater footprint imposed on the environment. Complex societies and economies have overshadowed thatpart of human instinctive good sense that knows how to abide by the fundamental rules of the natural world. Far from freeing itself from nature, the human system is in fact increasingly more dependenton the natural system. Our society has become so intensive in the consumption of natural resources
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and the production of waste and polluting emissions that its development is now approaching the limits of the terrestrial capacity to produce these resources and absorb this waste.In addition, the natural environment is being transformed under the increasing pressure of human activities, to the extent that its ability to harbour life, as we know today is becoming severely compromised. The diversity of life forms is decreasing at an alarming rate; ecosystems are being disrupted, or are merely disappearing. Our economic system has continuously grown – in the order of 400 percent in the last five decades – in complete ignorance of the larger world it is part of. In the current economic thought, the economy is an autonomous, self-sustaining system where that nature is either inexistent, or an object among others of some economic activities, like agricultural or mining activities. Worse, this vision sees depletion of stocks of natural capital as a source of income rather than a cost. For instance, the use of wood – whether in sustainable of unsustainable way – will serve the production of furniture and commercial transactions, and therefore the growth in GDP. The persistence of that line of thinking has led to perceive the economy as an end in itself, and economic growth as the unavoidable path ensuring human wellbeing and development. But as studies show, in spite of a multiplication by two or three of the real income per head in most developed countries since 1950, the percentage of people reporting themselves very happy has stagnated, or even decreased or strongly decreased . Very affluent societies even seem to witness greater levels of dissatisfaction than more modest societies, which translate in higher rates of depression, suicide, or addiction.Since the 1970s, the rates of depression have been doubling every decade in the US .
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