Focal News from Project Organizers
Nature Can Heal If/When We Stop Attacking PDF Print E-mail

Niagra wetlands
Lower Niagara wetlands at risk from logging.
(Photo: Doug Radies)

Yale Study Finds Evidence that Damaged
Ecosystems Can Recover Rapidly

Environmental News Network
28 May 2009

   A recent study by Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies reports that if humans commit to the restoration effort, most ecosystems can recover from very major disruption within decades to half-centuries. The study was written by Holly P. Jones and Oswald J. Schmitz and will appear in the June edition of the journal PLoS ONE. According to the study, researchers compiled information from 240 independent studies conducted since 1910 that examined large, human-scale ecosystems recovery following the termination of both human and naturally imposed disruption.

    Researchers grouped the data into seven broad aquatic and terrestrial types of ecosystems, and disruptions such as deforestation, hurricane, invasive species, oil spoils, power plant and sea trawling. Most of the studies measured multiple response variables, which researched grouped into three categories: ecosystem function, animal community, and plant community. The researchers evaluated the recovery of each of the variables in terms of the time it took for them to return to their original state as determined by each study's author. The study also assessed whether recovery times were related to the magnitude of the disturbance.

CSE Green School Awards 2008 PDF Print E-mail
December 18, 2008

Delhi, Kerala schools corner India’s ‘greenest’ school awards
  • Centre for Science and Environment’s (CSE) Gobar Times National Green School Awards for 2008 announced St Paul’s School, Delhi and P T Chacko Memorial High School, Kerala get the top awards in two separate categories 24 schools from across India shortlisted – increased participation by schools. A large number of schools from Delhi and NCR make the grade CSE’s Green Schools Programme, which confers the awards, rates schools on the basis of their natural resource management and an environmental audit done by the students themselves .Schools show marked improvement in managing their water, wastes and mobility

New Delhi, December 18, 2008: St Paul’s School, in Delhi’s Hauz Khas, had made it to the list in 2007 as well. But this year, it managed to really ‘break the mould’. And cornered the first position in the ‘Changemakers’ category of CSE’s Gobar Times Green Schools Awards.

In the other category, dubbed ‘New Schools’, the top prize went to another outstanding institution: the P T Chacko Memorial High School in Kunduthode village, Kozhikode district, Kerala.

The Relevance of E. F. Schumacher in the Twenty First Century PDF Print E-mail

by John Fullerton 
May 2008

Eloquent and alarming testimony from a former Managing Director of JP Morgan where he worked for 18 years in New York, London, and Tokyo, and subsequently as CEO of an energy focused hedge fund.  He is now seeking to launch an investment fund focused on investing in high impact sustainability initiatives, and is working on The Purpose of Capital, a book about the role of investment capital in sustainable economics. Discovery and emphases courtesy of Premilla Dixit. - Ed.

The inevitability of globalization and the dominance of increasingly large and powerful global corporations and financial institutions are an accepted fact of contemporary economic life. Competitive forces pushing us further in this direction continue to build.  The benefits of scale are real, furthered by accelerating technological advances.  A former CEO of JP Morgan once proclaimed, “Size is not a strategy”.  He was wrong.  In 2001, an American banking dynasty (JP Morgan) came to a close with the take-over by Chase Manhattan Bank.
As industries mature, scale only becomes more critical out of competitive necessity.  State capitalism from emerging powers China and Russia only raise the stakes further in our competitive global economy. Within this context, Fritz Schumacher’s best selling book, Small is Beautiful, and his ideas about human scale, decentralization, and appropriate technologies may seem quaint and out of touch.  We may believe that “small is beautiful” in our hearts, but our head is teaching us that “big wins”. Experience has taught us to ignore our logical heads at our peril.  Nevertheless, our conscience is telling us, now more than ever, that something is amiss.  A new era is struggling to unfold.  While the Obama phenomena may in some ways reflect this change, it does not by any means define it. We need to pause and reflect carefully in light of what we see happening to the health and prosperity of individuals, whole populations, other species, oceans, the soil, rainforests, the atmosphere, indeed the entire planetary system, if we are awake enough to notice. 

Reviving Small Farms Key to Sound Economy PDF Print E-mail

Family Farms Pulled US Out
of the Great Depression

by Jay Greathouse

It seems to be a widely held myth that World War II was the main agent for moving the United States out of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Cornell University Professor George F. Warren, an important adviser to Franklin D. Roosevelt on rural development policy, figured out that it is agriculture that leads countries into and out of depressions. The Roosevelt Administration is the only administration that tried to do something about supporting the family farm.

11 Solutions to Halting the Environmental Crisis PDF Print E-mail

 By Yifat Susskind, AlterNet
October 31, 2007

You probably don't need to be told that the threat of climate change is real. If you're concerned about the issue, it's fairly easy to conjure the apocalyptic scenes of widespread drought, frequent deadly storms, mass hunger, and wars over natural resources like oil and water. Much harder to come by are examples of positive actions that can avert these disasters and ease the crisis in places where they are already in play. So let's skip the litany of catastrophes that await if global warming is not controlled. Instead, why not focus on some solutions? None are perfect or complete, but each offers a model of positive change that is more than theoretically possible -- it is already happening.

Many of these examples are small-scale and local. That's instructive because our best hope for sustainability -- in agriculture, industry, energy, community design, and government -- may lie in local, small-scale models like some of those presented here. It may seem as though large-scale problems require large-scale solutions. But most big institutions and processes are driven by the very people and ideas that have generated our global crisis. It's in the local and the small that the majority of people can exercise agency and decision-making power.

Alternative Tech is alive and well at PDF Print E-mail

Greetings Dear Greenshifters,

Just stumbled across and wanted to share a brave new rebirth in the Alternative Tech world. The veteran Intermediate Technologies Development Group founded by E.F. "Small is Beautiful" Schumacher has been rebranded and revivified as, a truly inspiring source of technical expertise and progressive grassroots vision.

Practical Action logo

While they are already quite active internationally, oddly and unfortunately they have no Indian projects yet, but we hope to engage them as Greening India advising partners and perhaps bootstrap some activities here soon. In the meantime, please check out their work as an admirable example of the allies we're looking for.

Techies in the Village PDF Print E-mail

by Sonu Jain
The Indian Express
September 05, 2004

No degrees please, they’re Indians. In the heartland, they write new chapters in R&D simply by thinking out of the box. plays guide on a rural innovation roadtrip.

Professor Anil Gupta is taking a break from classes at IIM Ahmedabad. For the last 10 days, he has been scouring villages in Himachal with a bunch of students, teachers and scientists. He calls it shodhyatra, journey of exploration.

Twice a year, in winter and summer, the team he leads covers nearly 200 km on foot. The aim is two-fold: Sharing their scientific knowledge with villagers and sniffing out that hidden innovation in a place that may not have a road, electricity or school, but has a thinking mind. A grassroots innovator, a person who overcomes a technical challenge on his own, without any assistance from the formal scientific system in the country.