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1 JANUARY 2011
CONTENTS & CREDITS 25 Wildlife Conference at Dolmaar Resorts Haseeb Shaikh
CO NTENT S Cover Story 30 Great Power Greater Responsibility Hema Maira
34 Expressions’ Coffee with Shweta Stora Bashyam 36 Adapting to Climate Change The Economist
Regulars 18 Photographing Doon Sandip Puran Singh
8 Face to Face with Divya Mansukhani
26 Photo Story Ayaan Vaid
10 How Doon’s beauty can be restored and conserved Prof M. Sekar Keerthi 12 Environmental Degradation Divya Srinivasan
56 In The News icare
15 Youth & Environment Chaitanya Kumar
6 Message from the founder
20 Protecting Wildlife in India icare
48 Journey So Far
22 The Role of Youth in Environment Conservation Ernst Keursten
52 People Who Really matter
C R E DI TS
founder & editor
Yudhishter Puran Singh copy & desk editor
Shubhodeep Pal features editor
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK As icare arrives at its first “true” milestone - the completion of a year since its inception - it is time to pause for a bit and consider what this truly means. Or even, what it should mean to us and to our readers. First, let us not be overwhelmed and overawed at having completed one year so soon, so well. The numerous successes - big and small - over the past year are significant, but only because they are meant to reinforce our belief in our work. We really have no time to be complacent; and we promise that we shall not be! Second, we realise it is now time for us to not consider ourselves small anymore. We have a voice that is heard by more than 1500 people across India as well as other countries. Hence, it is time to dream bigger, aim bigger and bring more people together. Last but not least, it’s time to be thankful for having an enthusiastic and committed team that works tirelessly to move icare forward (yes, that means I’m thanking myself too)!
The December issue of Expressions is wonderful. The articles are very informative: My students had a look at the magazine today and it has made them keen to work actively for the environment. By: Prof. Sekar Keerthi Great December issue. I think the quality of content has improved a lot. Good work iCARE! By: Shivang Mehta Just read the December issue of Expressions. This issue tackles the prickly issues regarding the Earth’s problems with finesse and accuracy. All the articles were a good read especially “An Economist’s Views on Nature”. The photographs by Shivang Mehta were wonderful. Expressions is excelling at providing diverse and informative content! Bravo!
By: Vineeta Bhardwaj December happened to be the first time I got a chance to read Expressions. One of my friend Shivani forwarded the magazine to me and by the time I managed to read a few articles I was a fan already. Kudos to all the members who work tirelessly day in and day out to present such a great informative magazine. By: Rahul Kumar
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This issue focuses quite aptly on the youth and the potential, as well as power, it has to affect change. I recently read a quote that said “The young have aspirations that never come to pass, the old have reminiscences of what never happened”. I, as well as the entire icare team, beg to disagree with this cynical view of our world. We believe that if change is to occur, both the old and the young must work together to envision and create that change. Change will not come to us. We must pull it towards ourselves - with the wisdom of our elders, and the fresh, untested and strong arms of the young. In an increasingly depressing, violent and seemingly decadent world, it is important not be bogged down by the pressure of increasing hope as well as the depression inevitably interlinked with it. Having completed a year, I believe icare is eminently suited to espouse this line of thought - we have worked at the grassroots with a number of educational institutions throughout the year to affect change that drives hope and happiness (more details within). While dismissing the prevalent cynicism of the age, it might, however, be instructive to note a singular point that, although cynical, does have some value to it. Consider why we want to protect the planet the environment, the seas, the forests, the minerals. Is it because we are in love with our planet? Yes, it is indeed beautiful and there is much to love about it. However, are we now trying to save what we can so that we hurt the planet less? I hardly think our motives are as selfless as that. In a TED talk, Sir Ken Robinson mentioned how he’d read that if all the insects on the planet were to die, humans would die within years. The same stands true for our forests and oceans as well. The more we hurt them, the more we hurt our chances of survival. We are doing this not for the planet, but for ourselves and the generations to come. At the beginning of a new year icare beseeches you to do your bit for the planet. It’s your survival at stake. Save the planet. Save yourselves!
Copy and Desk Editor, Expressions
message from the founder
icare came into existence with the objective of promoting and supporting the youth in
message from the founder
Creativity at its best. Can be best seen through Expressions.
Simplicity personified. The pillar behind icare.
Lets his work do all the talking.
Always up for work. Bring it on.
any direction. The team then comprised only a few students from Dehradun Hills Academy and me. We weren’t certain about anything back then except that iCare would focus on the importance of youth in environmental conservation. How would we do so? I had no answers back then. I was excited but scared since this was a entirely different field.
Talks less but packs a punch when he does so.
Cool and calm. Works well under pressure.
Organizing events are his forte.
icare is chiefly a result of Networking. The most difficult task that we faced this year was
Legal advice was never this easy.
making this planet a better and sustainable place to live in. Today when I look back, the past 12 months have been the most satisfying moments of my life. It is because of ICARE I saw the potential of the youth and got an opportunity to work with young students from various that schools and colleges from all across the country.
icare was officially launched on 23rd Jan 2010, a novel initiative which could blossom in
getting the youth to believe in the dream of initiating a change. I remember spending hours online trying to get in touch with people who too wished to contribute. Today we have partnered with various schools and colleges across Dehradun, and have a member base of more than a 1000 people across the globe. We have successfully completed 7 issues of our monthly magazine “Expressions” and today icare has a battery of young members working tirelessly to show others just how it is done. All this would not have been possible without the support from people all around, be it the citizens of Dehradun, the media or people from various other cities and towns who have been following our work and egging us on each time.
icare could possibly have not achieved whatever little it may have without the dedication and commitment shown by the core committee. To me each one of my fellow colleagues is the CHANGE that we all talk about. I can hold my head high and be proud that I am working with some of the finest talents in the country for I believe that it is not the quality of work that makes you stand apart but it is the sincerity with which you work each passing day knowing that the journey is endless. I take this opportunity to introduce you all to my fellow members:
Let me brief you all about what we have in store for 2011. To begin with Expressions is going to be registered with ISSN No. and this will act as a self revenue generation module which can fund our projects. We have also shortlisted a few organizations in the corporate sector with whom we will be doing a few nation wide events. Also not to forget is Doon’s much awaited youth environment ambassador event. To top it up, we will also be organizing iCARE Awards this year to honour young people who have been striving to bring about a change. Let me take this opportunity to thank my parents who were by my side, constantly supporting me in this endeavour. I’d also like to thank Mr. OP Sinha from Lotus leaf business exhibitions for his valuable guidance. I couldn’t have possibly achieved all this without the support of Nirvi Shah who has been like a support system to me all these years and Pooja Bhatt, the one person who laid the foundation of Expressions along with the creative maestro Akshay Madan who is by far the backbone of our organization.
Yudhishter Puran Singh 21 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
FACE TO FACE
FACE TO FACE
Divya Mansukhani Divya Mansukhani is the Youth Programme Coordinator at the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA). She has authored the ‘Handbook for Establishing a National Youth Delegate Program to the United Nations’ which is one of the key guidance documents on fostering youth participation within the UN system. She is a freelance journalist and writes about the importance of Youth in combating environmental crises. She is currently writing ‘Making Benevolence Fashionable’, a document focused on environmental sustainability by promoting eco-friendly materials/products among young people. EXPRESSIONS (E): Tell us about your journey till now. How did it all start and then evolve? DIVYA MANSUKHANI (DM): My interest in global affairs first stemmed from the concept of the “Model UN” - sessions where in Committees of the United Nations were simulated. Effective participation required thorough research on various issues. While studying in the 9th grade at Bombay International School, I was selected to represent my school at the prestigious Harvard Model UN in Boston. I had the opportunity to present at an international forum, interact with indivuals from all over the world and discuss issues of great global importance. My interest ran constant and I went on to participate and organise Model UNs as well as various Youth projects & Workshops at local, national, regional & international levels extensively over the next eight years. This culminated in an internship at the United Nations in New York where I worked with the World Federation of United Nations Associations as the Youth Projects Coordinator. During my internship I began research on the various different methods of effective youth participation at the United Nations as I noticed that although various platforms for inclusive participation existed - resources providing the information were few. After completion of my internship - The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) expressed interest in publishing my work. I was then hired as a Youth Consultant to further my research and put together a comprehensive document of information on the topic. This has now be published - “Handbook for Establishing a National Youth Delelgate Programme to the United Nations”. It was launched at the World Youth Congress in Mexico earlier this year. I am now working on another document focused on environmental sustainability by promoting eco-friendly materials/products among young people.
My belief is that we should envision what can realistically be achieved - set targets which can be realised in the near future.
(E) How can others who aspire to be of service to the community join your efforts? (DM) I am also in the midst of setting up an online volunteer portal (Make a Difference - An online platform to power offline action ) which is aimed at mobilising young people into accredited volunteering. The ultimate aim of the portal is to to create an easily accessible online database of available volunteer opportunities, to connect people who have time, with NGOs who need them & finally to connect good people with good causes. The easiest and most effective way to be of service to the community is to give your time. The portal will be up and running in March next year - please register! All we ask for is your spare time - an hour, a day, a week - it doesn’t matter.
My belief is that we should envision what can realistically be achieved - set targets which can be realised in the near future.
(E) Tell us about the book you’re currently working on. (DM) As I mentioned I authored the ‘Handbook for Establishing a National Youth Delegate Program to the United Nations’ which was published by WFUNA & United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) it was launched at the World Youth Conference Mexico, 2010. The handbook is one of the key guidance documents on fostering youth participation within the UN system. It will assist youth in advocating their governments to establish a Youth Delegate Program with the ultimate aspiration of contributing to increasing the number of youth delegates as well as achieving a regionally balanced participation of youth at the United Nations. (E) What is the one thing that we need to change most urgently about a)the world b) India, specifically (DM) My belief is that we should envision what can realistically be achieved - set targets which can be realised in the near future. My vision is for the world to meet the set target of achieving the Millenium Development Goals by 2015. These goals address the most important challenges being faced by the world collectively. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the world’s time-bound and quantified targets for addressing extreme poverty in its many dimensions-income poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter, and exclusion-while promoting gender equality, education, and environmental sustainability. They are also basic human rights-the rights of each person on the planet to health, education, shelter, and security. (E) What’s your vision for India in 2020? (DM) I strongly believe that education is the starting point for India’s development and progress. While there are numerous intiatives that have been launched including Teach for India, Teach India, iCare, efforts in this regard must be intensified. My vision for India for 2020 is where every individual has access to a basic education. The rest will follow in suit. © EXPRESSIONS 2011
9 JANUARY 2011
RESTORING & CONSERVING DOON’S BEAUTY As we all know, Doon valley has many fresh water swamps. One such swamp, Mothronwala Fresh water swamp has degraded to a great extent during the last few decades due to human settlement, agriculture, cultivation and related developmental activities. Lopping of trees has resulted in the deformity of some of the trees with the consequent effect on the ground floor vegetation. Invasion of large numbers of exotic species like Lantana camara, Eupatorium adenophorum, Parthenium hysterophorus, Ageratum conyzoides, Ipomea carnea, Malvastrum coromendelicum has changed the vegetation of the swamp.
photo akshay madan
☺he ecology of a particular place sustains not due to human efforts, but by nature itself. The nature of biodiversity depends upon the vegetation of a particular area which in turn depends upon the topography, type of soil and water resources of that area. After all, it is the vegetation that determines the dependent wildlife species of that particular vegetation. Each tree species may have at least 10 to 30 different dependent fauna species.When one tree species is lost, we’re not just short of one tree but we fall short of a complete set of wildlife which depends on that tree. If we lose ten different tree species, we may lose at least a hundred wildlife species. We have already lost so much in terms of Forest and wildlife. Can we afford to lose more? The more we lose the sooner we trigger the extinction of humans.
Vegetation varies across the country. Man can get accustomed to different climatic conditions, unlike vegetation. Vegetation can bring characteristic changes to soil. That is the reason we need to have a clear understanding of the past vegetation of the place we live, before we plan on the future vegetation of our place.
Expressions can be used as a tool to create awareness not only among the city youth but also among the rural youth, because, it’s the rural youth who live with nature. They need to be educated on forest management and water management, so that they can educate their villages. Hence, we need to have a magazine in the vernacular too. We may also have periodical film shows to educate the villagers. Expression through arts like dance and music can also be used to educate the villagers. After all, visual communication is more powerful than aural communication. iCARE should also try and rope in schools and colleges to adopt a village, through which they can not only educate the villagers but also educate themselves. We may call this “Educate to Educate”.Corporates can back them financially and technically. Unless we bring our whole community together, our efforts might beineffective.
Unless we replant all the lost tree species, I am afraid we may not see the Doon of yesteryears but just a fragment of its lost glory. Statistics say that Mothronwala Fresh water swamp, one of the few fresh water swamps which had withstood the test of time has lost lots of flora and fauna in the past 40 to 50years. Herbs have gone down from 224 to 194, shrubs from 52 to 34, climbers from 42 to 25 and trees from 38 to 25.About 11 new tree species have been recorded after 1965, which means that If you really care for the dwindling forests, drying the vegetation of Doon has changed. swamps and the disappearing tree species of Doon Ecological awareness is rife among youngsters, valley, come and join forces with the young green thanks to organizations like iCARE which are tak- brigade of “iCARE”. I am from Coimbatore which ing serious and sincere efforts to re-establish is in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. I don’t have Doon’s past glory. Utmost care should be taken in any physical contact in or with Doon. But, I can say the choice of trees to be planted. Instead of opt- that, as a lover of ecology and nature, I want to do ing for ornamental trees, the need of the hour is to something for Doon. My firm belief is, what I sow plant native trees, those trees which are thought for Doon, my state would reap sooner or later.
© EXPRESSIONS 2011
Prof. M. Sekar Keerthi Head , PG and Research Department of Zoology , Government Arts College, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu , India completed his college education in the same department that he heads today. He has completed 29 years as a Professor and now his primary objective is the upliftment of the the less privileged students.
to be extinct,so that it would invite all the wildlife which had left. When it comes to aforestation, people opt for alien trees from other countries.
The sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago... had they been within the reach of human hands. Havelock Ellis, The Dance of Life, 1923 TTake a look around at the world that we live in today, a world in which a country is judged by its technology, military power, territorial jurisdiction, economic growth and ecological prowess. Here well, everything of that, owes ecology an apology. While writing this article I was listening to a song called ‘How far we’ve come’ by Matchbox 20, and though I was occupied with the issue at hand, the title of the song remained in my head, playing over and over again. Seriously, how far have we “been able” to come with the issue of ‘Environmental Degradation’ hampering generations across the globe? Nature represents beauty and bounteousness at the highest level. But man- the baby nurtured by nature is bent upon robbing nature of her beauty and bounteousness, and consequently, is doing irreparable harm to himself.
The situation began to change rapidly with the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the West in the eighteenth century, when man’s appetite for pelf and prosperity began to grow rapidly. He began to loot nature and pollute the environment without a thought for the consequences.
When the western countries started fighting against the pollution caused by the industries after the 1930s, people in other parts of the world had already joined the race of industrialization and blindly embraced all the ills. Consequently, today man’s activities have made the entire world’s environment grossly polluted. Despite certain successes in controlling environmental degradation, the situation is worsening in maximum parts of the world. Industrialization is not baneful per se. In fact, the methods, technologies, impatience, intolerance and greed that man applied in this process have caused havoc.
man’s culpability is, indeed, immense. To feed, clothe, and shelter himself, he brazenly robs nature.
A corollary to the Industrial Revolution was the craving of human beings for urbanization. People began to throng to the industrial centers, towns and cities in large numbers without any regard to the capacity and limitations of a place in providing adequately the basic civil amenities to the inhabitants. As a consequence large slum areas, filth and squalor grew. It became hard to maintain the sewage system as well as healthy sanitation (The crisis continues with greater intensity in the Third World countries.). Industrialization and Urbanization also put pressure on the agricultural lands, the shortage of which began to be more acutely felt with faster and uncontrolled population growth. Remarkable progress made in the medical sciences has brought about a decline in the death rate. But no similar decline was attempted by the people in the birth rate. Two thousand years ago humans scarcely numbered 250 million; only in the early 1800s did the figure reach one billion. A second billion was added in another 100 years, a third in 30 years, a fourth in 15 years, and a fifth in just 13 years. What a pace of population growth!? To feed the ever increasing numbers, agricultural production was increased. Technological inputs certainly produced quick results. But the chemical fertilizers and pesticides have taken a big toll on the soil. They have also brought in their wake, new pesticide-resistant pests which devour farm crops. The harmful chemicals get into the ecological cycle and lead to large-scale damage to plants, animals and ultimately even to humans. Recently, a study found that the milk and cereals consumed by Indians contain a high degree of toxic materialall due to indiscriminate use of pesticides. Large scale agricultural production also encouraged huge irrigation projects with concomitant loss of forest land. Canal irrigation has put to waste large tracts of land due to unchecked seepage leading to salinity and alkalinity of soil. photo akshay madan
Down the ages man has been in incessant pursuit of greater physical comforts and material prosperity. In this pursuit, he has steadily improved the technologies and other means necessary for higher production of wealth and for the availability of devices that could give more physical and mental pleasure. In the process many social, political and cultural convulsions have happened. A great many wars have taken place, many human lives, lost, and there have been instances of civilizations being wiped out. Nevertheless, man’s relation with his environment remained almost unchanged for a long time; his interaction with nature remained harmonious based on the principle of mutual give-and-take.
The Industrial Revolution led to a drastic escalation in air pollution. Coal was used in the emerging modern industries and factories on a very large scale. Later, it also came to be used in generating electricity. As a result, in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many cities of Europe and the U.S. were covered with black shrouds of smoke. Industrial centres like Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania developed an atmosphere so inky that automobile drivers were sometimes forced to use their headlights at midday. With the passage of time, the pace of industrialization increased, with a corresponding increase in air pollution. Later, toxic wastes of the factories began to be dumped on land and in the waters of rivers and seas. Thus land and water began to lose their quality as well.
ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION The scarcity of agricultural lands became an excuse for man to clear off the dense forests which
Man’s act of deforesting the land is also ominous to the existence of many species of flora and fauna added to the harm and injuries caused by industrialization and urbanization. Trees are mercilessly felled to meet the industrial needs of various kinds as well as the needs of the vast urban population. With deforestation comes the growing menace of soil erosion, drought and other natural calamities and deadly famines. Man’s act of deforesting the land is also ominous to the existence of many species of flora and fauna, even as the extinction of many marine species is feared due to the poisoning of rivers and seas by man-made wastes. The adverse impact on biodiversity may destabilize the ecological balance whose ill-effects are quite intelligible. Man’s growing lust for luxuries and industrial products has recently further aggravated the
crisis. The chloro-fluoro carbons (CFCs) released into the atmosphere because of the evergrowing use of refrigeration and cooling devices are depleting the ozone layer which protects the species on Earth from being exposed to the harmful ultra-violet rays. Man’s devastation of nature could thus easily rebound on him. In we analyse the nature of environment degradation, we can only come to the conclusion that man’s culpability is, indeed, immense. To feed, clothe, and shelter himself, he brazenly robs nature. The growing population almost renders it impossible to compensate the losses suffered by the environment or allow it the time required to recover. The urge for greater and greater prosperity has not only degraded natural resources but has certain dangerous portents. The damage caused in the recent Gulf War to the seas and marine life shows the extent to which man can go, without compunction, to achieve self-aggrandizement. The search for energy and defense superiority has led man to exploit the power of the atom. But he has shown a callous disregard for the accompanying dangers of radiation and in tackling nuclear wastes. Unless man mends his ways, and fast, he will create another Venus or Mars out of the Earth. We have forgotten how to be good guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do.
We as Humans merely share the Earth. We can only protect the land, not own it. © EXPRESSIONS 2011
Divya Srinivasan She is pursuing B.A.LL.B. (Hons.) with specialization in Energy Law from UPES, Dehradun. She is an ardent nature lover.
photo akshay madan
How old will you be in 2050? This was the phrase that reverberated through the walls of the Bella Center in Copenhagen during the climate talks in December 2009. So how old will you be in 2050? I will be 64 in 2050 and the decisions that political leaders and Governments take today on climate change will affect my life and the generations after me in a profound way. The signs are indeed ominous, like the recent report from NASA which revealed that 2010 was the warmest year this decade. A warmer climate is predicted in the years ahead. The floods in Pakistan, the ongoing floods in AP, India, recordbreaking heat-waves, forest fires in Russia and many other erratic acts of nature are being witnessed across the world. “Climate change is the pre-eminent geopolitical and economic issue of the 21st century. It rewrites the global equation for development, peace and prosperity”, said the UN secretary General Ban Ki Moon. If this is to
be the issue that defines the future of this planet, then the youth of the world should have the right to be equal stakeholders in the decisions that will be taken to mitigate climate change. The importance of youth has often been mooted by government leaders and policy-makers across the world. In India, the National Youth Policy of 2003 reiterates the need for an all round development and empowerment of young people from all classes and strata of society. It is stated that the youth of the country should enjoy greater participation in the processes of decision-making and execution at the local and higher levels. Such participation would be facilitated by identifiable structures, transparent procedures and wider representation of the youth in appropriate bodies, with the emphasis being more on working with the youth than for the youth.
YOUTH & ENVIRONMENT From a mere 50 people in 2004 to more than 500 in 2009, youth involvement in international climate negotiations has risen dramatically. Agenda 21 of the 1992 Rio declaration, the Aarhus convention, Article 6 of the UNFCC and many similar texts have called for effective youth involvement in policy making. In keeping with these principles, for the first time in 2009, the youth were given the official status as “YOUNGO” at the UN climate talks. This bolsters the hard work that many have put in to secure their voice at these negotiations and similar engagement needs to happen across different sectors. Almost 85% of the world’s youth (between 15-24 years of age) live in developing countries. Children and youth are the least responsible for climate change but in many ways are the most vulnerable. While there is a long way to go, YOUNGO did a wonderful job in bridging the gap between the Global North and the South. It is interesting to see how young people are working for the environment across the world. India’s vibrant civil society has been fighting for environmental issues since the days of Gandhi who was one of the first world leaders who professed the need for sustainable living and for protecting nature and its resources. Youth participation in environment began quite late in India and it has risen only in the 21st century. Technology has paved the way for an unprecedented ease of communication that has enhanced the participation of youth both directly and indirectly over the last few years. Some key examples have been organizations like the Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) that I am associated with. It mobilises young people to build a consensus on what role India should play in the global climate arena and also to equip them with the right tools to take effective action on climate change. With 18 local chapters across the country and hundreds of young people in the network, various activities have been taken up ranging from campaigns, youth summits and direct policy interventions to executing
GHG reducing projects like waste management, rural energy systems and environmental auditing. 350.org is another example of youth mobilization across the globe. What began as a small campaign in the United States has bloomed into a global movement of young people across all nations who have shown relentless enthusiasm in organizing creative campaigns, climate work parties and global art as a clarion call to all the leaders of the world to address this challenge.
Almost 85% of the world’s youth (between 15-24 years of age) live in developing countries. Children and youth are the least responsible for climate change but in many ways are the most vulnerable. As one of the national coordinators of IYCN, over the last one year I have received several calls and emails from young people who have told me about the amazing work they have been doing to tackle climate change. Many of them are keen to learn and equip themselves better to tackle this issue. From college campuses to rural landscapes, the level of interest to bring about positive change is growing. The recent Great Power Race (a clean-energy competition) between campuses in India, China and the U.S. has reinforced the serendipitous truth that students and young professionals are devoted to this cause. In 2010, over 500 campuses in India signed up for the race and executed projects like organic gardens; solar water heating; less
carbon-intensive stoves; paper- and electronicwaste recycling; energy efficiency and many more. Beyond just execution, many young people are exploring innovative and disruptive technologies for clean energy as well as business solutions for the wider dissemination of renewable energy. Social entrepreneurship has moved leaps and bounds since the turn of this century and young people are at the center of it. In Chattisgarh, a team of school students have been working ardently to protect their local pond, green their campus and raise awareness about environmental issues. In Kashmir, campus students are braving the political turmoil to work on polythene bag eradication and waste management. In Kakinada, AP, students and professors have come together to organize climate seminars and talks and convinced the University Vice Chancellor to set up eco-clubs in all campuses. In Bangalore, a team of young professionals are busy working on rejuvenating a lake and supplying solar lanterns to a nearby village. I have had the pleasure of witnessing these projects and similar stories from Varanasi, Kerala, Assam, Hyderabad and many other places.
society members like WWF, Oxfam etc have been supporting many youth groups working on local and national environmental. So what lies in the future? The world has witnessed an explosion in communication technology and more conversations are taking place today than in the entire history of mankind. This is a great opportunity for collaborative work that goes beyond petty borders and limits. Climate change poses a threat to all the species on this planet and such a global challenge cannot be handled through divisive and protectionist policies. Youth have to be encouraged to learn about and understand the issues whilst demanding swift and adequate action from our governments. My ability to communicate and learn from a stranger in Latin America or Australia speaks volumes of the possibility of a global coalition that the youth can create. Here, in India, there is a need to make the young people aware of their responsibilities and the opportunities to create a better future. The future is what we make of it and young people, I believe, have the potential to imagine and create a better, greener future.
”The young do not know enough to The Government has also acknowledged the need be prudent, and therefore they for more youth participation in decision making attempt the impossible - and achieve and the recent youth consultation for India’s 12th it, generation after generation five year plan is a positive step toward achieving this. Industry is opening doors of opportunity to young entrepreneurs in the clean-tech sector to build and execute innovative models for building a clean-energy future. Mainstream media has also been featuring and encouraging youth to take up environmental issues. Established civil
Pearl S Buck
Chaitanya Kumar (24) is currently working as the National coordinator of the Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN). With a background in computer science engineering, his move to the environment arena was driven by the understanding he gained of the human impacts on the environment. He believes in the huge potential available with businesses, governments and the civil society to work on mitigating climate change and moving towards a sustainable society.
YOUTH & ENVIRONMENT
© EXPRESSIONS 2011
ike myself, I imagine many landscape photographers develop a sort of distant vision with a tendency to constantly scan the countryside looking for potential subjects. I find it quite hard to switch off from this mode and, even when travelling without a camera, I subconsciously look for photogenic scenes. This often has the effects of making you blind to the possibilities of subjects, which are much closer to you.
F UNGI I shot this picture on a bright, sunlit autumnal morning in a patch of grass beneath an apple tree at a friend’s orchard in Kanatal. It was a chance visit when Karan had come on a brief holiday from Tamil Nadu and I’d gone along hoping to try out a new piece of equipment knowing that the autumn colour would provide me with some good opportunities. Unfortunately the full glory of the autumn colour had not yet developed. Also the light was very soft beneath the trees, creating a rather flat and lifeless look, which made the chance of taking a worthwhile picture seem unlikely. But this display of fungi(like a big mushroom) growing on moist soil caught my eye, mainly because of the striking pattern that the edges of the fungi
FLYI NG BEA T LES sandip puran singh
The soft light of the shaded orchard suited this subject very well.
sandip puran singh
had created. The soft light of the shaded orchard suited this subject very well. I used a macro lens to enable me to shoot a small area of the ground in order to maximize the impact of the shape and texture of the fungus. The damp conditions had allowed some water droplets to form and, in order to make these sparkle more brightly, and contrasted deeply with the green of the undergrowth. There is such a rich variety of colors’, textures, shapes and patterns within even the most ordinary natural forms that there never need be an occasion when you are unable to find a worthwhile subject. It is simply a question of focusing your attention on things at a closer range.
This image was captured at another friends orchard at Niudi. The photograph was taken late one autumn morning after a hard frost had melted leaving the yellow grass patches open between the fruit trees on the terreces. The sun had been up some time and some of us wanted to bathe in the rivulet nearby. While we waited and took turns with our wash I was attracted by this small wild-flower bobbing about in the wind and because it was quite well separated from its surroundings. I also liked the fact that the warm light of the sun was attracting these colorful beetles which were trying to mate or at least so I thought. This had created an ele-
the warm light of the sun had created an element of colour contrast along with the difference between the parts of the flower and the insects. ment of colour contrast along with the difference between the parts of the flower and the insects. I lay down on the ground to get the frame at eye level rather than a top-view which would have been too common an approach. Taking more than one shot got me the beetle in flight. © EXPRESSIONS 2011
Sandip Puran Singh Writer is the founder of SUSWA, an NGO working along the northern boundary of Rajaji National Park. He’s also an avid bird watcher and an amateur naturalist working on the Doon valley. His love for photographing the valley can be seen by logging onto www. icarefordoon.org and can be reached at email@example.com
PROTECTING WILDLIFE IN INDIA
he need for conservation of wildlife in India has often been questioned because of the inefficient policies and also priority issues. This can be very easily deduced from the fact that in India there are only 1411 tigers left despite the conservation activities which have always primarily focused on saving tigers. In this article we would like to highlight the existing laws and policies that focus on wildlife conservation that need to be further addressed by the Government. This should be done in the light of the fact that though these policies exist, we have a really bad situation.
headed by the Addl. Director General of Forests (Wildlife) who is also Director, Wildlife Preservation and the Management Authority of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).
Comprehensive Legislation; Wild Life Protection Act, 1972;
Government of India had enacted a comprehensive legislation “Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972” with the objective of effectively controlling poaching and illegal trade in wildlife and its derivatives. This has been amended recently (January, 2003) and punishment and penalty for offences under the Act have been made more stringent. Article 48 of the Constitution of India specifies The punishment and penalty for the violations are that, “The state shall endeavour to protect as follows; and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country” Offences pertaining to hunting of endangered speand Article 51-A states that “it shall be the duty of cies and altering of boundaries of protected areas; every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, riv- The punishment and penalty have been enhanced. ers, and wildlife and to have compassion for living The minimum imprisonment prescribed is three creatures. Further, Wildlife Division in the Min- years which may extend to seven years, with a istry is responsible for carrying out the activities minimum fine of Rs. 10,000/-. For a subsequent pertaining to Wildlife conservation with the State offence of this nature, the term of imprisonment Governments and to provide financial and techni- shall not be less than three years but may extend cal assistance to them for scientific management to seven years with a minimum fine of Rs. 25,000. of the wildlife resources in the country. It is also Also a new section (51 - A) has been inserted in responsible for carrying out the events associated the Act, making certain conditions applicable while with wildlife research and training of personnel granting bail: Such an offender will be granted bail involved in wildlife management through Wild- only if : life Institute of India. Presently Wildlife Division is
ernments and to provide financial and technical assistance to them for scientific management of the wildlife resources in the country.
Ankit Shrivastava Abhidheb Bhattacharya © EXPRESSIONS 2011
photos akshay madan
(a) The Public Prosecutor has been given an op- also been made empowering officials to evict enportunity for opposing the release of the person croachments from Protected Areas. on bail; and Offences not pertaining to hunting of endangered (b) When the Public Prosecutor opposes the appli- species cation, the Court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that he is not guilty of Offences related to trade and commerce in trosuch offences and that he is not likely to commit phies, animals articles etc. derived from certain any offence while on bail”. animals attracts a term of imprisonment of up to three years and/or a fine of up to Rs. 25,000/-. In order to improve the intelligence gathering in wildlife crime, the existing provision for rewarding the informers has been increased from 20% of the CONCLUSION fine money to 50%. In addition to this, a reward of up to Rs. 10,000/- is also proposed to be given to So, in short we have a lot many legislations and the informants and others who provide assistance projects in place which prescribe punishments in detection of crime and in getting hold of the offor their violation including a term of imprisonfender. ment. However a number of issues still remain Stringent measures have also been proposed to unaddressed. We need to address the problems forfeit the properties of hardcore criminals who of the forest guards who need to work late in the have already been convicted in the past for hei- night in jungles. Poachers need to be punished nous wildlife crimes. These provisions are similar every time they enter the jungles to carry out to the provisions of ‘Narcotic Drugs and Psycho- illegal trade. Unless we strengthen the present tropic Substances Act, 1985’. Provisions have system we cannot even protect the endangered species, forget others. The exploitation of land Wildlife Division in the Min- and forest resources by humans along with hunting and trapping for food and money has led to istry is responsible for car- the extinction of many species in India. So Wildrying out the activities life Protection is the need of the hour and needs pertaining to Wildlife conser- to be addressed as quickly as possible. is the need of the hour and needs to be addressed as vation with the State Gov- quickly as possible.
THE ROLE OF
in ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION I was asked to write something about this “quite simple and interesting theme”. From my point of view there are two basic questions: How can young people become sensitized to the problems of environmental protection, and what can they really do and achieve? As I am not a scientific researcher, I can only answer these questions based on my personal development in this regard and on the experiences I had myself with young people later.
Dr. Ernst Kürsten Born in 1956 He got involved with environmental protection in many ways, both voluntary and professional. In 2007/08 he served as a lecturer at the Forest Research Institute University in Dehradun. Today he is a project manager and lecturer at the College of Wood Technology in Bad Wildungen (Germany).
When and how was I motivated to work for environmental protection? I think it all began in my grandmother’s big garden. As a child I spent all my holidays there hiding in the bushes, climbing on the fruit trees, playing with the pets and walking through the nearby forest. I learned to love nature. In 1971, when I was 14 years old, the next phase began. I began collecting all newspaper reports on environmental problems. I became angry about the way people destroyed nature! It was in the year when citizens and politicians in Germany became aware of water and air pollution, waste dumps and other problems. The first Federal Environmental Programme was brought into being. I joined a local group in my home city Wilhelmshaven which argued against the industrial location (electrolysis of salt for chlorine and subsequent PVC-production) there and measured dust particles. The next year I was deeply impressed by the book “The limits of growth” modelling the consequences of a rapidly growing world population and finite resource supplies, commissioned by the Club of Rome. Even though the predictions did not come totally true, now, nearly forty years later we are facing an increasing scarcity of many resources! I gradually read more books about the environment and listened to lectures about it. When I was 16 years old I did some scientific work to find arguments against the expansion plans of a military airbase in a nearby forest: I counted the visitors in that forest and applied a new method of calculating the value of a landscape for recreation. So I got some real data on the importance of the threatened forest area for the recreation of the local population. My results were published in the local news-
the role of
in ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION paper and I won a prize in a science competition for students. The airbase was not extended later, surely not (only) because of my work. I wanted to become a professional environmentalist. The question was how? What should I study? First I thought about Chemistry, because air and water pollution has something to do with chemicals. Then I became aware that I love maps and plans. Therefore Landscape Planning and Nature Conservation seemed to be perfect for me. But when I applied to university my marks weren’t good enough. So I decided to study Forest Sciences but there I faced the same problem. Finally, I enrolled for Geology because there were no restrictions based on marks. Of course, this is a science with high significance to the environment (ground water) and natural resources. In December 1975 I finally got admission into the Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology at the University of Göttingen. I loved field trips to the forest and was keen to learn about ecosystems. Life as a university student opened up new possibilities for action: I wrote articles in a students’ magazine, e.g. about the waste of resources by using disposable plates in the canteen, and I joined the movement against the construction of new nuclear power plants in Germany. Very enthusiastically, I looked for alternatives in form of renewable energies and advocated their use via presentations and articles. Today - after more than 30 years – our ideas have become reality in a way we could never have dreamt of. Nowadays, when you travel through Germany, you see photovoltaic panels, wind mills and biogas plants almost everywhere. Energy saving is a hot topic. Of course, these developments are essentially driven by the rising oil prices. But due to the movement I have been a part of, politicians in Germany created laws which motivated many people to invest in renewable energies. This is a rewarding feeling! In later years, while pursuing my PhD, I joined a group of a dozen volunteers who organised some weekend seminars for young people on all aspects of the protection of the environment and the cultural heritage in our northern German state of Lower Saxony. We would come up with an interesting topic, chose a location for the seminar, invite experts as lecturers and organized the seminar itself with some field trips. There were funds available to cover the travel expenses and other costs. For me these seminars were not just a perfect way to learn something new and to inform and motivate other young people. A very important “side effect” was that I found a likeminded young lady in our group who later became my spouse. My first assignment after finishing my forest science education was to be the Secretary of the “Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald” (SDW) (Association for the Protection of the German Forests). Now it was my job to support the following very traditional and valuable forms of environmental awareness
THE ROLE OF
WILDLIFE CONFERENCE AT DOLMAAR RESORTS
in ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION building activities for children and teenagers: Forest Games (for the 8 to 13 year old school children) – this is a round tour in a forest where the children have to stop at different places to answer questions about nature and to do some practical exercises related to the forest like throwing cones through a ring. In our state there were 11 forest camps for students (14 to 18 years old), run by the state forest service. At this time the groups could stay there for free for two weeks. In the morning they had to do some real forest work and in the afternoon they had field trips with the forester and leisure time. These sojourns were not only excellent possibilities to get into a close contact to nature but also were a valuable first experience with field work. In addition, our association used to spread the idea of school forests, where students could plant trees and manage a peace of forest land. This is a more long-term form of observation and caring than the above mentioned short term experiences. Finally, there was and still is a youth organisation of the SDW, the so called Forest Youth (Waldjugend). These young people spend their leisure time and holidays in the forest, enjoying nature, singing, hiking, and learning about nature. Unfortunately only a very small proportion of the young people in Germany are committed to this cause. Most of them grow up with little contact with nature, spending too much time in front of a computer or TV. This is more attractive for many of them and often their parents are scared that they might become dirty or even hurt if they climb trees etc. Recently a study was conducted in Germany with interviews of more than 3000 students (12 and 15 years old). The results were alarming: Many of the kids really are not aware about the links between nature and the food and products they use every day. Consequently, they will not be able to understand why we should limit the consumption of resources and follow the principle of sustainability. This lack of nature experience among young people is not only a problem for the promotion of an environmentally sound policy but it can even make them ill: Nature Deficit Disorder, a term coined by the American Richard Louv in his 2005 book “Last Child in the Woods”, refers to the alleged trend that children are spending less time outdoors, resulting in a wide range of behavioural problems. To shortly summarize all this: Let the kids experience nature and provide opportunities for students to organize environmental actions!
© EXPRESSIONS 2011
icare a team of enthusiastic youngsters who have risen to hold up the baton for the cause of environment and wildlife. These young lads have chosen to walk a difficult road that most people shy away from! I happened to meet Yudhishter Puran Singh, the ‘team leader’ of icare on Facebook. I learned that icare is deeply involved in promoting awareness about our dwindling wildlife and environment. Yudhishter and I got acquainted with each other when he requested me to permit him to publish one of my graphic works on Tigers which I had uploaded on my profile on a social networking site in Expressions. I finally got to meet the young icare team at Dolmaar Resorts near Nainital where we all got together for the launch of the ‘Wild Tuskers Society’. Yudi, as I fondly call him, along with his young team came upon my invitation to cover the event. These lovers of wildlife and environment instantly gelled with my team and I got to learn more about icare and Expressions. I must applaud them for the amazing work they’re doing by publishing young wildlife photographers, conservationists and activists in this magazine. With a team that is a perfect combination of youth, intelligence, enthusiasm and a cause that needs urgent attention, these boys and their organization are destined to go a long way.
Haseeb Shaikh A wildlife enthusiast who works as a graphic designer in Baroda (Gujrat). He is also a numismatist and pursues Arabic and Urdu calligraphy as serious hobbies.
In times when our fragile wildlife and forests are being torn apart like old carpets, and when wildlife lovers, conservationists and activists find nothing but glumness all around, there does seem to be a stream of hope trickling out from the Valley of Flowers: Dehradun.
YOU SHOULD BE DANCING
AY AAN V A I D Ayaan is a wildlife enthusiast and a budding photographer. His parents, both wildlife enthusiasts introduced him to the marvels of nature very early in his life. He learned the tricks behind photographing nature from his Dad, a wildlife photographer himself. He loves being in the wild and quotes, “Forests should be saved so that our animals can get a chance to live freely, as we do.”
TEQUILA SUNRISE 27
PHOTO PHOTOSTORY STORY
EYE OF THE TIGER
photos by AYAAN VAID
GREAT E R R E S P O NS IB ILITY “I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.” E. B. White, 1977
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 interactions 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 unquestionably 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.
a ksh a y
G R E AT P O W E R
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 path towards ‘economic progress.’ Man is considered the most ‘intelligent’ of all life forms. However, as we can clearly see, Man is also the only life form that brings the ravages of selfishness and greed to bear upon the earth. I am not suggesting that economic activity be halted in the name of conserving the environment. However, we are now at the point where we are exploiting natural resources faster than they can be regenerated. What happens when the last tree iscut down? When we have extracted/used up the last natural resource?
*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>
COVER STORY 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
COVER STORY 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.
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.
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 environment because they will be the ones to inherit it.
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.”
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
Integration of environmental education and training into education and training programmes Emphasis should be given in school curricula to
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 and clear imperative of how crucial it is to take care of our only home.
have chosen. To me, it immediately personalizes and taps into the “I care” energy within each of us. 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
© EXPRESSIONS 2011
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.
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.
Swetha Stora Bashyam Swetha is a final year undergraduate student of Bachelor of Science (Botany, Zoology and Chemistry) at St. Francis College for Women, Hyderabad, India.
She has been a member of the Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) for a year now and through this organisation she received an opportunity to participate in the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen (COP15) as an Indian youth delegate. This year, she guided her College to participate in an International Clean energy competition called the Great Power Race which helped her college go green in several ways and even won it the second position in India and the award for the Most Creative College among colleges from the three participating countries. She was also one of the main organizers of the 10/10/10 work party in Hyderabad along with other members of IYCN. They worked on five degraded lakes in Hyderabad and helped improvise them besides helping out with the nearby communities. EXPRESSIONS (E):Tell us about some innovations in clean energy that have excited you, with a focus on India. SWETHA STORA BASHYAM (SSB): Some of the innovations I like are the Nisarguna developed by BARC, this is an effective organic waste to energy convertor, desulpharizing coal with natural micro organisms and the small vertical axis wind turbines. A lot of interesting work is also being done under carbon sequestration as well. India has a lot of amazing small scale clean energy industries which have great potential in the green industry. Few of my favorites which I have been able to implement are the small steps bags, which are made to prevent the use of plastic covers and the Palm leaf plates, which can substitute the disposable plastic and paper plates.
EXPRESSIONS’ COFFEE (E) How do Indian policies fare compared to those in other developing nations? (SSB) As far as I can tell India made a start with the NAPCC (National Action Plan on Climate Change) and PAT, for domestic carbon credits which is going to be implemented. Though Indian policies seem to fare better compared to the other developed countries, implementation of these policies will be the main challenge. (E) Tell us about some local initiatives of which you’re a part. What changes have you helped bring about? (SSB) In the past one year of work with IYCN, we have taken up a lot of awareness campaigns and held conferences for youth across the country. Some of the local initiatives we have started along with the usual plantations are- a waste management system in one of the slums in Hyderabad and work on saving 5 degraded lakes in our city. The changes that I am proud of bringing about are making my college one of the most green colleges in the country by installing a waste management system, converting all the light bulbs to CFLs, improving the biodiversity on campus and starting an organic farm on campus where we grow vegetables. Along with that I am delighted that I was successful in convincing a shopkeeper near my house to stop giving plastic covers and promote cloth bags. (E) Give us a step-by-step approach of how you’d tackle environmental problems in India keeping in mind that the solutions should be practical and actionable. (SSB) The environmental problem in India cannot be solved in a day or two. It would require a lot of awareness work by a lot of people in our country. The important step according to me is a change in the attitude of people. You need to think about the consequences of your actions rather than just your luxury. It needs to be a collective effort and not something an individual or a group can achieve. I would like to tackle the environmental problem by first making “going green” it the trendiest thing. This should go a long way according to me as we all love to be “cool”. This may be followed by making sure every company have minimum carbon emissions and anything above this should be penalized by making the employees do green work. These are just few ideas I have. © EXPRESSIONS 2011
(E) What are the problems that you see in global policies regarding env conservation? (SSB) The most basic problem is that negotiators and policy makers fail to see the gravity of the climate scenario. They are fighting for a development which we as the future generation don’t agree with. Climate change needs to be seen as a serious problem and not just for through the carbon trading prospective. The transfer of clean energy technology to the developed countries is also something that needs to be looked into.
ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE
Facing the consequences Global action is not going to stop climate change. The world needs to look harder at how to live with it.
Many countries have, in signing the accord, promised actions that will or should reduce carbon emissions. In the World Energy Outlook, recently published by the International Energy Agency, an assessment of these promises forms the basis of a “new policies scenario” for the next 25 years (see chart 1). According to the IEA, the scenario puts the world on course to warm by 3.5°C by 2100. For comparison, the difference in global mean temperature between the pre-industrial age and the ice ages was about 6°C.
chief economist, Fatih Birol, is “too good to be believed”. Every signatory of the Copenhagen accord would have to hit the top of its range of commitments. That would provide a worldwide rate of decarbonisation (reduction in carbon emitted per unit of GDP) twice as large in the decade to come as in the one just past: 2.8% a year, not 1.4%. Mr Birol notes that the highest annual rate on record is 2.5%, in the wake of the first oil shock.
The IEA also looked at what it might take to hit a But for the two-degree scenario 2.8% is just the betwo-degree target; the answer, says the agency’s ginning; from 2020 to 2035 the rate of decarbonisa-
ON NOVEMBER 29th representatives of countries from around the world will gather in Cancún, Mexico, for the first high-level climate talks since those in Copenhagen last December. The organisers hope the meeting in Mexico, unlike the one in Denmark, will be unshowy but solid, leading to decisions about finance, forestry and technology transfer that will leave the world better placed to do something about global warming. Incremental progress is possible, but continued deadlock is likelier. What is out of reach, as at Copenhagen, is agreement on a plausible programme for keeping climate change in check. The world warmed by about 0.7°C in the 20th century. Every year in this century has been warmer than all but one in the last (1998, since you ask). If carbondioxide levels were magically to stabilise where they are now (almost 390 parts per million, 40% more than before the industrial revolution) the world would probably warm by a further half a degree or so as the ocean, which is slow to change its temperature, caught up. But CO2 levels continue to rise. Despite 20 years of climate negotiation, the world is still on an emissions trajectory that fits pretty easily into the “business as usual” scenarios drawn up by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Copenhagen accord, a non-binding document which was the best that could be salvaged from the summit, talks of trying to keep the world less than 2°C warmer than in pre-industrial times—a level that is rather arbitrarily seen as the threshold for danger.
ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE tion needs to double again, to 5.5%. Though they are unwilling to say it in public, the sheer improbability of such success has led many climate scientists, campaigners and policymakers to conclude that, in the words of Bob Watson, once the head of the IPCC and now the chief scientist at Britain’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, “Two degrees is a wishful dream.” The fight to limit global warming to easily tolerated levels is thus over. Analysts who have long worked
on adaptation to climate change—finding ways to live with scarcer water, higher peak temperatures, higher sea levels and weather patterns at odds with those under which today’s settled patterns of farming developed—are starting to see their day in the uncomfortably hot sun. That such measures cannot protect everyone from all harm that climate change may bring does not mean that they should be ignored. On the contrary, they are sorely needed.
Public harms Many of these adaptations are the sorts of thing— moving house, improving water supply, sowing different seeds—that people will do for themselves, given a chance. This is one reason why adaptation has not been the subject of public debate in the same way as reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions from industry and deforestation have. But even if a lot of adaptation will end up being done privately, it is also a suitable issue for public policy.
Its frequently private and slightly blurry nature is not the only reason why adaptation has been marginalised. The green pressure groups and politicians who have driven the debate on climate change have often been loth to see attention paid to adaptation, on the ground that the more people thought about it, the less motivated they would be to push ahead with emissions reduction. Talking about adaptation was for many years like farting at the dinner table, says an academic who has worked on adaptation over the For a start, some forms of adaptation—flood bar- past decade. Now that the world’s appetite for emisriers, for instance—are clearly public goods, best sions reduction has been revealed to be chronically supplied through collective action. Adaptation will weak, putting people off dinner is less of a problem. require redistribution, too. Some people and communities are too poor to adapt on their own; and if Another reason for taking adaptation seriously is that emissions caused by the consumption of the rich im- it is necessary now. Events such as this year’s devposes adaptation costs on the poor, justice demands astating floods in Pakistan make it obvious that the recompense. world has not adapted to the climate it already has, be it man-made or natural. Even if the climate were Furthermore, policymakers’ neat division of the topic not changing, there would be two reasons to worry of climate change into mitigation, impact and adap- about its capacity to do more harm than before. One tation is too simplistic. Some means of adaptation is that it varies a lot naturally and the period over can also act as mitigation; a farming technique which which there are good global climate records is short helps soil store moisture better may well help it store compared with the timescale on which some of that carbon too. Some forms of adaptation will be hard to variability plays out. People thus may be ignoring the distinguish from the sort of impact you would rather worst that today’s climate can do, let alone tomoravoid. Mass migration is a good way of adapting if row’s. The other is that more lives, livelihoods and the alternative is sitting still and starving; to people property are at risk, even if hazards do not change, who live where the migrants turn up it may look aw- as a result of economic development, population fully like an unwelcome impact. growth and migration to coasts and floodplains.
ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE The three-degree difference In a late 21st-century world 3°C warmer than the pre-industrial norm, what changes are most marked? Start with the coldest bits. Arctic summer sea ice goes, allowing more shipping and mining, removing a landscape of which indigenous peoples were once an integral part. Permafrost warms up, and infrastructure built on it founders. Most mountain glaciers shrink; some disappear. Winter snows melt more quickly, and the risks of spring floods and summer water shortages on the rivers they feed increase.
any subsidence is often coupled with a lessened supply of replenishing sediment, which is often trapped upstream by irrigation, hydropower production and flood-control projects. One estimate puts 8.7m more people at risk of flooding in deltas by 2050 if sea level follows current trends.
Tropical cyclones, which account for much of the damage the sea does to the land, may become less frequent. But the share of the most destructive—category 4 and category 5 hurricanes—seems likely to increase. And bigger storms do disproportionately Sea level rises, though by how much is hard to say greater damage. (see chart 2). Some of the rise will be predictable, In warmer oceans, coral bleaching triggered by temin that oceans expand as they get warmer. Some, perature stress will be more common. This is bad though, will depend on the behaviour of the Green- for fishing and tourism but not necessarily fatal to all the reefs: bleached reefs may be recolonised by new corals. Reefs may also face damage from ocean acidification, an effect of higher CO2 levels rather than of warming, as may other ecosystems, though the size of the impacts is uncertain. In warmer oceans nutrients in deeper water will be less easily recycled to the surface, which may lead to lower biological productivity overall. On land, wet places, such as much of South-East Asia, are likely to get wetter, and dry places, such as much of southern Africa and the south-western United States, drier. In northern climes some land will become more suitable for farming as springs come sooner, whereas in the tropics and subtropics some marginal land will become barely inhabitable. These places may be large sources of migraland and West Antarctic ice caps, which cannot be tion. Such effects are already visible in, for example, predicted with any certainty. Less than half a metre the large part of the population of Côte d’Ivoire who by 2100 would be a lucky break; a metre-plus is pos- come from Burkina Faso. sible; more than two is very unlikely, but possible later. Even as the waters rise, many coasts will be sinking Increases in average temperature will be less nobecause of the subsidence that follows as cities suck ticeable than those in extremes. According to a up groundwater. Deltas are doubly damned, since comparison of over 20 climate models, by 2050 the
ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE probability of a summer warmer than the warmest yet recorded will be between 10% and 50% in much of the world. By 2090 it will be 90% in many places (see map).
ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE Watching the weather People will also have to contend with unpredictable shifts in weather patterns. Many models say the factors that give rise to the Indian monsoon are likely to weaken. The strength of the rainfall within it, though, is likely to rise, because the air will be warmer, and warmer air can hold more water. No one can say
are you going to trust? Decisions about adaptation will be made in conditions of pervasive uncertainty. So the trick will be to find ways of adapting to many possible future climates, not to tailor expectations to one future in particular. Even then, adaptation can help only up to a point.
London versus the ocean how these two trends will play out. Similar uncertainties dog predictions about the great slopping of warmth back and forth across the Pacific known as El Ni単o and other climatic oscillations. In general, the closer you want to get to firm statements about what is likely to happen, the less adequate current climate science is revealed to be.
A 2009 review of the cost of warming to the global economy suggests that as much as two-thirds of the total cannot be offset through investment in adaptation, and will be felt through higher prices, lower growth and misery regardless. But adaptation can still achieve a lot.
The best starting point for adaptation is to be rich. It is tempting to imagine that adaptation decisions It is not foolproof: not even the rich can buy off might wait for models that can provide greater cer- all hazards, and rich countries and individuals will tainty about what might happen where. This is a make poor decisions. The need to restrict farming forlorn hope. Faster computers and new modelling with subsidised water in a drier south-western Unittechniques might well provide more details and finer ed States does not mean that the political means of distinctions. But they will not necessarily be more doing so will be found before damage is done. But accurate, or capable of being shown to be so: if dif- wealth buys information (a lot of people are studying ferent models become more precise and as a result what to do in the south-west) and it opens up optheir disagreements grow rather than shrink, which tions. Resources help people adapt both before the
ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE fact, by reducing risks, and after it, by aiding recovery from harm. Wealth can create hedges against the effects of climate change, even if they are not conceived of as such. Insurance markets are a case in point, though they have flaws: a lack of relevant history makes evolving risks hard to price, and government policies often dampen the signals that would otherwise
make people more realistically wary of coasts and floodplains. Public-health systems are another: in better-off countries these did far more to reduce the effects of malaria in the 20th century than warming did to worsen them. Economic development should see improvements in health care that will, in aggregate, swamp the specific infectious-disease threats associated with climate change.
The indiscreet charm of being loaded Rich countries can also afford big, expensive projects. Studies suggest that although much of the Netherlands lies below sea level or is at risk of river flooding, the Dutch can view the prospect of a rising sea level with a certain equanimity, at least for their own land. Plans outlined in 2008 to deal with a rise of more than two metres by 2200, as well as increased winter flow along the Rhine and Meuse rivers, put the cost of holding at bay the worst flood expected for 10,000 years at €1 billion-2 billion ($1.5 billion-3 billion) a year for a century. That is easily affordable. Other rich coastal areas have considered similar commitments. The Marina Barrage offers Singapore some protection against floods, as well as improving its ability to store fresh water. London has its Thames Barrier, first imagined after floods in 1953. The barrier was intended to deal with the worst flood expected over a millennium or more. That period looks more testing now than when the barrier was built, but Britain’s Met Office thinks the barrier, combined with other measures, is pretty much fit for purpose for this century.
in his book, “Climatopolis”, the politics of such huge and hugely costly engineering might prove difficult. New Amsterdam does not have the attitudes of old Amsterdam. Poor countries will often lack the financial means, technical expertise or political institutions necessary for such endeavours. Yet they are often at increased risk, principally because they are usually more dependent on farming than rich countries, and no other human activity is so intimately bound up with the weather. Crops are sensitive to changes in patterns of rainfall and peak temperature, as well as to average temperature and precipitation; so are the pests and diseases that attack them. In its 2007 assessment, the IPCC’s picture of agriculture in a warmer world was one of two halves. In low latitudes higher temperatures are likely to shorten growing seasons and stress plants in other ways. In high latitudes, if warming is moderate, growing seasons are expected to lengthen and yields to rise, in part because raised CO2 levels aid photosynthesis.
The IPCC thus sees agriculture as being not too badly affected by 2°C of warming, as long as you stick to New York might, in principle, protect itself against global averages. Above that (probably towards the a hurricane-driven storm surge on top of a higher end of the century) things look bad. Some think they sea level with a much more massive set of barri- look bad well before that. One worry is that a lot of ers that could seal the Verrazano Narrows and the harm may be done if temperatures breach certain smaller spans of Throgs Neck, at the base of Long thresholds even briefly. A fine-grained analysis of Island Sound, and the Arthur Kill, west of Staten Is- historical data from the United States by Wolfram land. However, as Matthew Kahn, an economist at Schlenker of Columbia University and Michael Robthe University of California, Los Angeles, points out erts of North Carolina State University found such
ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE thresholds for maize (corn), soya and cotton, America’s largest crops by value. One extremely hot day, their model suggests, can cut annual productivity by 7%. Applying their findings to models of a world with unabated emissions, they found yield declines of 6382% by the end of the century, with hefty drops even in the relatively clement first half.
extra farmland roughly as big as Russia. In that it avoids deforestation, intensification is one of a number of adaptation strategies which also help mitigation. Successful adaptation will require not just expanded research into improved crop yields and tolerance of temperature and water scarcity, but also research into new ways of managing pests, improving and conserving soil, cropping patterns and crop-management techniques that add resilience. Such research—and its application—will make it more likely that enough food for 9 billion people can be grown in a three-degrees-hotter world without much of the planet’s remaining uncultivated land or pastures coming under the plough.
This study, like many, made no provision for CO2 fertilisation. The question of how to do so is vexed. If plants grow in chambers with high concentrations of CO2, yields rise a lot (which is why tomato farmers and others use CO2 in their greenhouses). More realistic experiments using carefully contrived sprays of CO2 upwind of crops show a much lower bonus. Remarkably, experiments like this, which provide the nearest analogues to what the world may be like in a few decades’ time, are carried out in only a handful If yields cannot be improved sufficiently, though, desperation may lead to more wilderness being upof places. None regularly looks at tropical crops. rooted or burned. A headlong rush for biofuels might Against the uncertainty over thresholds and CO2 fer- have similar effects. This would be one of those adtilisation must be weighed farmers’ ability to adapt to aptations to climate change that looked a lot like change and improve yields. Despite many warnings an adverse impact. Faster loss of species is highly of doom, yields of arable crops have grown remark- likely in many ecosystems as a result of warming; ably in the past half-century. Among other things, greatly expanding farmlands will make this worse. It this intensification of farming has saved a great deal will also add to the fundamental problem, as clearing of wilderness from the plough: to feed today’s popu- forests releases greenhouse gases. lation with 1960’s yields would require an area of
Keeping the poor always with us Even if the world contrives to keep feeding itself without too much ecosystem damage, many of those dependent on agriculture or in poverty could still suffer a great deal. Regional droughts could wreak havoc, with bad ones causing global surges in food prices. Many of the millions of poor farming households in poor countries, who make up the bulk of the world’s agricultural labour force if not its agricultural output, already face more variable weather than farmers in temperate countries do. That and a lack of social safety-nets makes most of them highly risk-averse, which further limits their ability to undertake some adaptation strategies, such as changing crop varie-
ties and planting patterns. They will often prefer surer chances but lower yields. Worse, in bad weather a whole region’s crops suffer together. Here as elsewhere, there is a role for insurance to transfer and spread the risks. Marshall Burke of the University of California, Berkeley, a specialist in climate impacts, argues that the best agriculturalinsurance options for developing countries will pay out not when crops fail (which reduces incentives for the farmer) but when specific climatic events occur, such as rainfall of less than a set level. But getting farmers to invest in such schemes, even with small premiums, is hard. It also requires finding reinsur-
ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE ance for the local insurer, because there is a high chance of a lot of claims coming in at once. What’s more, actuarial accounts of future climate risk are necessarily speculative and errorprone.
sub-Saharan agriculture in Africa not seen elsewhere, which is not perhaps surprising given the huge effect of the 1980s droughts across the Sahel. A downside to urbanisation is that cities are hotter than the surrounding countryside, creating Farmers may be cheered by the thought that what meteorologists call “urban heat islands”. food prices are likely to rise. For poor farm- But there are ways of dealing with this. More ers, who spend much of their income on food, greenery in a city, spread through streets and this is a mixed blessing, especially if higher fre- over roofs, means more cooling as water evapquencies of drought make prices more volatile orates from leaves; the bits which are not green too. For poor people more generally, it is even can be painted white, to reflect sunlight. worse news. And cities have intrinsic advantages. City dwellEven if prices are higher, crops more resilient ers’ emissions per person tend to be lower, and and insurance more readily available, abandon- the more planners can do to increase populaing the farm may be the way many farmers tion density the better. Protecting a single port choose to adapt. It may be prudent even before city from floods is easier than protecting a simithe fact. Paul Collier, Gordon Conway and Tony lar population spread out along a coastline of Venables, three British development specialists, fishing villages (though when things go wrong have suggested that attempts to provide antici- disasters can be correspondingly larger and patory help to poor African farmers could be harder to address). Cities have higher rates of badly overdone. Better to encourage them into innovation and of developing new businesses, cities and to reform labour markets, restrictions business models and social strategies, formal or on the opening and closing of firms and so forth informal. in ways that will help them earn money. Ideally, there would be opportunities to move More than half the world’s people live in cities to cities in other countries, too; the larger the already. Three-quarters or more may do so by region in which people can travel, the easier mid-century. Encouraging this trend further, at it is to absorb migrants from struggling areas. least in some places, may be a useful way of This is one reason why adaptation is easier for reducing the economy’s exposure to climate large countries or integrated regions. Within the change. Statistical analyses by Salvador Barrios EU, Greeks and Italians will be better placed to of the European Union’s Joint Research Centre move to cooler climes than inhabitants of simiand his colleagues suggest that climate change larly sized countries elsewhere. is already a factor in African urbanisation. A related study shows strong climate effects on
ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE is obscure: it may simply be that overheated people work less hard. That can be seen either as adaptation or as a worrying impact, slowing down the economic growth which is the surest foundation for other, more positive adaptations. If climate change does slow poor countries’ growth rates, the onus on rich ones to help will be even larger. This was recognised to some extent in the Copenhagen accord, which proposed that $100 billion a year should flow from north to south by 2020, to be split between investments in mitigation and adaptation. But whereas investments in mitigation are fairly easy to understand—build windmills not coal-fired power stations, and so on—those in adaptation are
harder to grasp. Action on climate bleeds into more general development measures. The poorest countries all have wish-lists for adaptation funding, drawn up in the UN climateconvention process of which the Copenhagen and Cancún meetings are part. Money and know-how are essential, but so is example. Rich countries can show, through their own programmes for flood defence, zoning laws, sewerage and so on that adaptation must be part of the mainstream of political and economic life, not an eccentric and marginal idea. Adaptation by and for the poor alone is likely to be poor adaptation.
Reused with permission from The Economist. http://www.economist.com/node/17572735?story_id=17572735
Powers of example The cost of all this adaptation is hard to judge— and is another area where adaptation and impact become confused. Melissa Dell of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her
colleagues argue that in developing countries GDP growth has been lower in hotter years than in cooler ones. This may carry over into longerterm increases in temperature. The mechanism
icare THE JOURNEY SO FAR Green Campaign December 2009 Our green initiatives received a truly heartwarming response from the youth of Doon
icare THE JOURNEY SO FAR Save the trees drive: Soon after the exhibition ended, we enlisted a few students to become actively involved in our efforts. One particular day, the students read a newspaper clip-
Not only did we increase awareness about our organisation and the cause it espouses, we gave many enthusiastic students an opportunity to discover their hidden talents, have fun and achieve something substantial doing tie-ups with committed organizations. Hence, we managed to create valuable opportunities for the youth to to contribute in their own special way to Doon.
ping which claimed that some 20 trees were to be axed soon. This perturbed them greatly and they got in touch with us. That is how the Save the Trees campaign started. Eventually, over 2000 signatures were collected during the course of our campaign. Green Seminar December’s much-discussed Copenhagen Climate Change Summit prompted us
Green Campaign: It all started when, one morning, curious about the kind of response he’d get, Yudhishter decided to do a small campaign which involved school students and teachers. On 5th Dec 2009, which is also International Volunteer Day, icare
to organize a green conference for the students of the academy. The objective was to give them a chance to interact with the people who matter: we had invited Uttarakhand Environmental protection and pollution control board officials for a conversation. The event was a resounding success.
asked the school community to step up to the occasion and express, in any form, their support for the global cause. At the end of the day, the students, in large numbers numbers produced many valuable slogans, posters and articles.
icare’s Official Launch January 2010
In order to commemorate its official launch, icare, in association with the students
Our next initiative was to organize an exhibition to showcase the creative talents
of theDehradun Hills Academy conducted a seminar as well as an exhibition for
of students. We invited a number of guests to the exhibition who witnessed a
the cause of the environment. Padma Shree recipient Dr. Anil P Joshi, founder of
number of unique creations. The students were thrilled by the appreciation.
the Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organisation was the chief guest for the occasion.
THE JOURNEY SO FAR Plantation Drives April - May 2010 with graphic era university Students of Graphic Era University and Dehradun Hills Academy along with members of icare initiated a tree plantation programme on the premises of the academy. This plantation drive was a component of icare’s enterprise to reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere, thereby providing a cleaner, healthier environment for the people to live in. During the programme, 52 trees were planted in the academy as well as in the adjoining village. with IMSI India Private Limited and other colleges Volunteers from icare, in association with a corporate firm, IMSI India Private Limited, launched a tree plantation drive in Dehradun during which about 500 saplings were planted. The participating institutions included Dehradun Hills Academy, Graphic Era University, University for Petroleum and Energy Studies, Raja Ram Mohan Roy Academy, Beverly Hills and The Hilton School.
Expressions E-Magazine Launched June 2010 icare’s official environmental e-magazine, Expressions, was previewed at a launch-cum-exhibition in Doon. Deepak Bhardwaj, the President of the National Real Estate Development Council (Uttarakhand chapter) was the Chief Guest. The magazine, since its first issue in June 2010 has had a hugely suc-
cessful run and now has a readership of almost 1500 readers. It is an open
THE JOURNEY SO FAR platform for students, environmenatlists and scholars to voice their opinions. Its aim is to increase awareness about the problems plaguing our environment and supplement as well as promote the work icare does.
Plant for the Future Campaign July - October 2010 As the name suggests it was a campaign promoting the planting of trees by involving the youth (mostly from schools and colleges). The campaign reiterated the need for the youth to take stock of the situation and ensure that the seeds for a greener and sustainable future are planted. The campaign saw active participation from various educational institutions such as the the Doon International School, Carman School, Sunrise Academy, Beverly Hills, KV Bhel, Graphic Era University and UPES
Seminar on Energy Conservation & Uttarakhand Nimbu Amla Festial November 2010 The Dehradun Chapter of the Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning (ISHRAE) in association with its partner iCare conducted a seminar on the ‘Recent trends in Energy Conservation’. It was a proud moment for icare and ISHRAE as a memorandum of understanding (MoE) was signed between the two organizations to promote environmental awareness amongst the students of the Valley. The event was presided over by former Ambassador to Canada and other countries, Dr. Rakesh Shankar. icare also organised the Uttarakhand Nimbu Amla festival to commemorate the International Bio-diversity year 2010, in association with other organizations. The aim of the function was to increase awareness about biodiversity and further the cause of environmental protection. JANUARY 2011
member profile The People who really matter Yudhishter Puran Singh founder Yudhishter is an educationist with a vision working towards sustainable development with a focus on the need to integrate ‘eco- awareness’ and ‘cognitive learning’ ultimately leading to responsible leadership and enlightened lifestyles. Growing up in the Suswa River Valley, he became involved in environmental outdoor activities like recycling, waste land tree planting and campaigning for involvement of children in local issues from an early age. He is a commerce graduate from Mumbai University with a clear understanding of what is the‘need of the hour’ and has set up ‘icare’, Doon valley’s first youth based pro-active organization. For the organization’s e-magazine ‘Expressions’ he most often writes about ideas and products that can help us all be a little greener and live a little better. He believes in human ingenuity and the power of positive thinking, that the demo cratic process works when everyone engages in it, and that we should all vote with our wallets and our actions. Yudhishter believes everyone can do some thing every single day to make the world a better place. He is a sports enthusiast & a great fan of Premier League football, music and youth motivation, and believes that they all have a place in our greener world and are a great way to engage a mainstream audi ence in a greener lifestyle. He is also the secretary of Dehradun Hills Academy, an educational institution affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education New Delhi, situated along the Rajaji National park in Dehradun. He was recently felicitated with ‘The Priyadarshini Vriksh Mitra’ award by HSDA (Human Service Development Association) for his work with youth organizations in Uttarakhand.He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pooja Bhatt public relations Pooja is 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. She also loves meeting good interesting people, absorbing ideas and joining pro-active groups, passionate people who want to do something for the world. Pooja believes each one has an important role to play, an action that would ‘inspire’ others and spread goodwill, above all, preserve humanity. She can reached at Pooja_icare@live.in
Nupur Dobhal public relations Nupur is a final year student at the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES). She was born in Dehradun and did her schooing from the Convent of Jesus and Mary. She is deeply passionate about restoring the beauty of Doon and can be reached at email@example.com
Akshay Madan creative head Akshay has a degree in Software Engineering from the Dehradun Institute of Technology and is currently working as a graphics and web designer. He wishes to tackle and resolve the current environmental crisis plaguing the planet. He heads the IT Team at icare and is also the Creative Editor for Expressions. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
icare MEMBER’S PROFILE Shubhodeep Pal copy editor, Expressions
Ankit Srivastava legal advisor
Shubhodeep is a final year student at the Singapore Management University (SMU), Singapore. He was born and educated in Dehradun and is deeply passionate about conserving its beauty. He is almost equally passionate about exploring beauty through words. His first collection of poems, Interruptions, was released by Ruskin Bond in 2009. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Ankit is a final year law student at the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES), Dehradun. He has a keen interest in Environment and Oil and Gas Laws. Ankit developed a keen interest in writing at an early age. He has published several essays and articles in national magazines such as Competition Success Review as well as law journals. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Karishma Gulati features editor, EXPRESSIONS Karishma is a first year student at VIT University doing B.Tech in computer science Engineering. Having been brought up in army background, she has seen nature in its most beautiful form in the cantonment of various cities - something that inspires a want for a better and cleaner (read survivable) world. She is also a keen dancer, sportsperson and loves adventure. She can be contacted at email@example.com
Tushar Goel event co-ordinator Tushar is a third year engineering student specializing in Petroleum engineering from the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun. He is a core member of the team and in instrumental in not only planning but also organizing icare’s events. He is off the opinion that the youth must be given the confidence and support they need to create a better and sustainable tomorrow. He an be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Abhidheb Bhattacharya legal advisor
Harshal Mirchandani event co-ordinator
Abhidheb is a final year law student at the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES), Dehradun. He has a keen interest in Environment and Energy Laws. A keen debater, Adhideb, represented his school, St. Xavier’s, in various state and national level competitions. He has also participated in various national and international moot court competitions. He can be reached at email@example.com
Harshal is a third year engineering student at theUniversity of Petroleum and Energy Studies,Dehradun. He is a core member of the team and plans as well as organises icare’s events. He believes that it is critical for students from over the world to be involved in the effort to save our environment. Harshal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
55 JANUARY 2011
IN THE NEWS Over thousand wild animals killed in Madhya Pradesh 09 December 2010 17:08:02 by IANS ( 2 comments )
Bhopal, Dec 9 (IANS) Over a thousand wild animals, including seven tigers and 22 leopards, died in Madhya Pradesh in the last four years even while Rs.100 crore were spent to conserve the wild cat, according to the 2010 tiger census report.A staggering 1,017 wildlife animals lost their lives from October 2007 to October 2010. These animals were tigers, leopards, bears, deer and Neelgai (blue bulls). The government said all the killed animals were poached and cases against 604 people have been lodged for their slaughter. Madhya Pradesh has nine national parks and 25 wildlife sanctuaries spread over a total of 10,862 sq km, constituting 3.52 percent of the state’s total area. The central government launched “Project Tiger” in 1973. Kanha National Park was one of the first nine protected areas selected under the project in the country. At present, the state has six Project Tiger areas. These are - Kanha, Panna, Bandhavgarh, Satpura, Pench and Sanjay Dhubri. Madhya Pradesh contains 19 percent of India’s total tigers and ten percent of the world’s tiger numbers. Every year, the central government allots over Rs.25 crore to Madhya Pradesh in the name of wildlife animal conservation. According to the 2006 tiger census, there were around 300 tigers and 3,000 leopards in Madhya Pradesh. “There is fall in the poaching of wildlife animals but the small animals are an easy target of villagers. It is not easy to stop them but still we are trying hard to control them,” said Forest Minister Sartaj Singh.
Pasted from <http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/enviornment/over-thousand-wild-animalskilled-in-madhya-pradesh_100471745.html>
Mission Green Rajiv Mahajan
He is just 21 and before shaping his career, he intends to do something for the cause of environment. SagarChopre, a youth from Parbhani in Maharashtra, is currently touring the country on his bicycle, disseminating the message of environment conservation by growing more trees. After touring Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, this youth recently entered Nurpur, the gateway to Himachal Pradesh. Sagar launched his cycle journey with a cause, which has gained momentum in the wake of global warming, on Republic Day this year, from Jarri in Parbhani district (Maharashtra) and decided to culminate his journey on the Republic Day next year, covering major cities and villages of all 28 states. While entering the hill state, he told mediapersons that he was upset and wanted to do something constructive for the cause of environment. “I am inspired by late Baba Amte and with strong family
IN THE NEWS support, I adopted farming. I personally experienced that climate change by and large affects the farming community more,” he said, adding that he wanted to make people, especially youth, aware of global warming and climate change and thus, initiated this journey across the country for spreading the message to grow more trees and conserve environment. Interestingly, he did not accept any sponsorship for this campaign.
Source: Tribune News Service
A voice for Indian youth at Copenhagen summit Staff Reporter
The Hindu Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh along with the youth delegation which will be part of Indian delegation for COP-15 The UN framework convention on climate change at Copenhagen. (from left) Deeksha Singh, RuchikaPokhriyal, AadyaDube and RamshaSajid in New Delhi, on Friday. Photo: V. Sudershan The Union Environment and Forests Ministry and WWF-India on Friday announced the names of the four-member youth delegation that will be part of the India contingent at the climate change summit in Copenhagen. The four are –RamshaSajid (16) and AadyaDube (17) of Carmel Convent Senior Secondary School, Bhopal; RuchikaPokhriyal (19) of AcharyaNarendraDev College, New Delhi; and Deeksha Singh (20) of Patna Women’s College. They were selected through “PrithviRatna”, a national level essay writing competition for youth on climate change. The objective of the competition was to inculcate a sense of ecological citizenship among the youth by providing them a platform to express their views. The winners will participate in the conference beginning next week. Eight other finalists will travel to Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand for an expedition. Congratulating the delegates, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said: “This is first time that the youth have been included as part of an official delegation. I hope it will not be the last. The signal that we are sending is that the Environment and Forests Ministry is willing and looking forward to work with civil society and the younger generation. We want to work with the younger generation and create a mass movement about protecting the environment and taking responsibility.’’ The Minister said several programmes were being initiated along with WWF including saving of the Gangetic dolphins, bio-diversity conservation and bringing in new and improved devices to catch tiger poachers. Excited and thrilled about being a part of the Indian delegation, the youth delegates said they were looking forward to the trip. “As generation next we are most affected by climate change. We have the most at stake if the world environment is not protected, so it only makes sense that we work towards protecting it,’’ said RamshaSajid. “The youth should be included in various programmes aimed at protecting the environment. There
IN THE NEWS are often a lot of talk about protecting the environment, but we are not able do to anything specific,’’ said AadyaDube. Stressing that climate change isn’t a future calamity but is already happening, RuchikaPokhriyal said: “The meeting at Copenhagen will give us an idea about how decisions are made and how the entire world machinery functions.’’ Deeksha Singh said the trip will give the youth an opportunity to understand the implications of climate change and its far reaching effects. It’s time that the youth take on their responsibility towards the environment and make an effort to save it.’’
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Himachal farmers load guns for ‘Operation Monkey’
IN THE NEWS But their decision to kill the animals has led to widespread criticism from animal protection groups. “We will discourage any form of mass culling or the indiscriminate issuing of gun licenses. Himachal Pradesh is also known as ‘DevBhoomi’ or land of gods. The state must uphold this tradition and marry it with modern scientific tools of wildlife management,” said Arpan Sharma, a spokesperson for Delhi-based Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations. N.G. Jayasimha, US-based Humane Society’s campaign manager in India, said: “We urge the farmers to be more humane to the animals.” Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal informed the state assembly Dec 6 that the monkey menace had reached an alarming proportion and that the government had authorised the chief wildlife warden to allow their hunting along with the wild boar and the blue bull. “To check their rising numbers, the government has sterilised 23,428 monkeys so far. The sterilised monkeys were later released in their natural habitats,” he said.
IANS, Dec 10, 2010, 07.45pm IST
SHIMLA: The man-animal conflict has turned ugly in Himachal Pradesh. Farmers in several villages have set aside their farm implements and loaded their guns -- to shoot down monkeys from Friday as the simians have been destroying their crops and fruits. Under ‘Operation Monkey’, hundreds of farmers have procured permits from the state wildlife authority to kill the wild animals causing them losses, a move that has angered wildlife activists. “More than 3,000 farmers across the state have managed to procure permits to kill the wild animals - mainly monkeys, wild boar and blue bull. They will hunt the animals till Dec 23,” Kuldeep Singh Tanwar, state convenor of farmers’ outfit KhetiBachaoSangharshSamiti (KBSS), told IANS.
The wildlife wing estimates that over 900,000 farmers mainly in Shimla, Solan, Sirmaur, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Una, Mandi and Kangra districts were affected by wild animals. Monkeys, numbering over 300,000, mainly target cereal and fruit crops, causing extensive damage. Tanwar of the farmers’ outfit, however, said the state government was not serious about addressing the simian menace. “If the government is serious, then it can hire trained shooters to eliminate the problematic monkeys,” he said. Agriculture is the main occupation of the people in the state, providing direct employment to 69 percent of its workforce.
However, wildlife officials claim that only selective killing of animals has been permitted. “As per our information, less than 300 permits have been issued by the department till yesterday (Thursday),” said Chief Wildlife Warden A.K. Gulati.
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“Permission has only been given to shoot the animals in the fields. Our range officers are monitoring the killings. There would be selective killing and no mass culling. Moreover, the aim of using the ammunition is to shoo away the animals from the fields,” he said. S.S. Chandel, a farmer of Dehna village in Cheogpanchayat, some 30 km from Shimla, said villagers have pooled in money to buy ammunition and that seven guns have been deployed in nearby villages to kill the animals, mainly monkeys. “The villagers have procured 38 permits. By pooling money we have jointly procured ammunition and the shooters have been deployed. We will kill the monkeys on sighting them,” Chandel said over telephone.