Critical Tidings - Good & Bad - on India and our Biosphere
350.org continues to blossom through its Messengers PDF Print E-mail

350 Messengers are leaders, thinkers, and doers at the cutting edge of change, prominent global figures who have are spreading the 350 movement in their work and life. Want to nominate a messenger? E-mail organizers [at] 350.org.


http://www.350.org/350-messengers

 
Deadly Green Blowback in India PDF Print E-mail

NPR logo
Two part series on India's accelerating agricultural crisis

I: India's Farming 'Revolution' Heading For Collapse
II: 'Green Revolution' Trapping India's Farmers In Debt

by Daniel Zwerdling
All Things Considered
US National Public Radio
April 13/14, 2009

 

Sandeep Singh
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Sandeep Singh says he has been forced to deepen his well, because the groundwater under his fields has been sinking as much as 3 feet every year.

 

Part I: India's Farming 'Revolution' Heading For Collapse (Listen to program here ...)

Farmers in the village of Chotia Khurd in northern India don't realize it, but they symbolize a growing problem that could become a global crisis.

They gathered on a recent morning in a stone-paved courtyard — a circle of Sikhs with brightly colored turbans and big, bushy beards — to explain why the famed "bread basket" of India is heading toward collapse.

Their comparatively small region, Punjab, grows far more wheat and rice for India than any other region. But now these farmers are running out of groundwater.

NPR logoTwo part series on India's accelerating agricultural crisis


 

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A Green Revolution we can believe in PDF Print E-mail
Down to Earth logo
VOL 20 ,NO 16   Thursday, January 15, 2009
Source Article here .


Made it
by Savvy Soumya Misra

Enabavi, a village of 52 families, is abuzz. It is hosting farmers from the nearby Kallem village who have come here for tips on profitable agriculture. Those who missed the excitement of the Green Revolution in the 1960s can get a glimpse of it here—there is the air of collective achievement, and farmers from neighbouring villages are here because they do not want to lose out. There is one big difference from the 1960s, though: farmers are teaching and learning ways of increasing productivity without applying synthetic chemicals. Agriculture is a happy story in Enabavi.

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India's New Guiness Record: Med Pollution PDF Print E-mail

World's Highest Drug Levels Entering India stream

A man covers his nose to keep out the stench from the polluted Iska Vagu stream
AP – A man covers his nose to keep out the stench from the polluted Iska Vagu stream in Patancheru.

PATANCHERU, India – When researchers analyzed vials of treated wastewater taken from a plant where about 90 Indian drug factories dump their residues, they were shocked. Enough of a single, powerful antibiotic was being spewed into one stream each day to treat every person in a city of 90,000.

And it wasn't just ciprofloxacin being detected. The supposedly cleaned water was a floating medicine cabinet — a soup of 21 different active pharmaceutical ingredients, used in generics for treatment of hypertension, heart disease, chronic liver ailments, depression, gonorrhea, ulcers and other ailments. Half of the drugs measured at the highest levels of pharmaceuticals ever detected in the environment, researchers say.


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Worldwide Water Shortages Imminent PDF Print E-mail

Ecologists Warn the Planet Is Running Short of Water

by Leo Lewis

Times Online (UK)

A swelling global population, changing diets and mankind's expanding "water footprint" could be bringing an end to the era of cheap water.

[A dummy stands near a makeshift tent at a shanty town in the desert of Canete January 21, 2009. Reliable water supplies are difficult to find for the impoverished people living on the sandy desert fringes of Peru's capital, Lima. Clean drinking water is an unattainable luxury for a third of Peru's city dwellers. (Reuters/Mariana Bazo/Peru)]A dummy stands near a makeshift tent at a shanty town in the desert of Canete January 21, 2009. Reliable water supplies are difficult to find for the impoverished people living on the sandy desert fringes of Peru's capital, Lima. Clean drinking water is an unattainable luxury for a third of Peru's city dwellers. (Reuters/Mariana Bazo/Peru)
The warnings, in an annual report by the Pacific Institute in California, come as ecologists have begun adopting the term "peak ecological water" - the point where, like the concept of "peak oil", the world has to confront a natural limit on something once considered virtually infinite.

The world is in danger of running out of "sustainably managed water", according to Peter Gleick, the president of the Pacific Institute and a leading authority on global freshwater resources.

Humans - via agriculture, industry and other demands - use about half of the world's renewable and accessible fresh water. But even at those levels, billions of people live without the most basic water services, Dr Gleick said.

A key element to tackling the crisis, say experts, is to increase the public understanding of the individual water content of everyday items.

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People's Power Slows 3rd World Land Grab PDF Print E-mail

Land Rental Deal Collapses After Backlash Against 'Colonialism'

One of the world's largest land deals, a scheme to lease African farmland to rich countries to grow their own crops, has collapsed amid accusations of 'neo-colonialism'.

by Julian Ryall and Mike Pflanz
The Telegraph/UK


TOKYO and NAIROBI - Madagascar was poised to sign a 99-year agreement to rent 1.3 million hectares of land to South Korea's Daewoo Logistics Corporation to plant maize and palm oil for export.
[Madagascar was poised to sign a 99-year agreement to rent 1.3 million hectares of land to South Korea's Daewoo Logistics Corporation. (Photo: Getty Images) ]Madagascar was poised to sign a 99-year agreement to rent 1.3 million hectares of land to South Korea's Daewoo Logistics Corporation. (Photo: Getty Images)
Food-importing countries with little arable land, mainly in Asia and the Middle East, are increasingly looking overseas to secure food supplies after the prices of staple foods rocketed last year.

But the practice has drawn criticism that it harks back to colonial-era "plantation agriculture" where rich outsiders force subsistence farmers off fertile land to grow export crops.

Now the Daewoo plan, the largest in Africa covering an area of roughly half of Madagascar's current arable land, has been put on hold after the Malagasy people protested that it would make them a "South Korean colony".


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The Return of Common Sense PDF Print E-mail
Rajasthan Farmers go Organic
Economic Times 15-Sep-07

NAWALGARH (RAJASTHAN): Farmers in villages in Jhunjhunu district are not affected by the problems that have driven their counterparts in Andhra Pradesh and Maharastra's Vidharbha region to suicide, thanks to the steady incomes generated by organic farming.

There are like other farmers across the country. The only difference is that they pursue organic farming, in which they use natural manure or vermicast - which is made from the process of vermiculture - instead of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Though organic farming is not new to India, it is yet to become popular enough to be followed by farmers on a large scale. But those who have adopted it in this region certainly show signs of a better life.
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Greenpeace sounds ‘Blue Alert’ in Orissa PDF Print E-mail

-Sudarshan’s sand art depicts danger from global warming to iconic heritage sites

greenpeace.org
March 26, 2008
 
Puri, India — Greenpeace today joined internationally acclaimed sand artist, Sudarshan Patnaik here to highlight the threat to India’s cultural heritage sites along the coastline from global warming induced sea level rise. Sudarshan created the miniatures of iconic heritage monuments: the Jagannath temple and Konark Sun Temple in Orissa, the Shore temple at Mammalapuram in Tamilnadu, and the Gateway of India at Mumbai, in the tidal zone of Puri’s Golden Beach. During high tide, the waves washed over the sculpture, symbolizing the vulnerability that these monuments faced from sea level rise.
 
 
Internationally acclaimed sand sculptor, Sudarshan Patnaik, creates a  7 ft high sculpture of heritage monuments: the Jagannath temple and  Konark Sun Temple in Orissa, the Shore temple at Mammalapuram in  Tamilnadu, and the Gateway of India at Mumbai in the tidal zone of  Puri’s Golden Beach.
Puri India                                                                    © Greenpeace

Internationally acclaimed sand sculptor, Sudarshan Patnaik, creates a 7 ft high sculpture of heritage monuments: the Jagannath temple and Konarak Sun Temple in Orissa, the Shore temple at Mammalapuram in Tamilnadu, and the Gateway of India at Mumbai in the tidal zone of Puri’s Golden Beach.

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Beyond GDP: Bhutan's Index of Gross National Happiness PDF Print E-mail
 

Economists appraise Bhutan's happiness model

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thimphu, Bhutan -- In the thick of a global financial crisis, many economists have come to this Himalayan kingdom to study a unique economic policy called Gross National Happiness, based on Buddhist principles.

When considering economic development, policymakers here take into account respect for all living things, nature, community participation and the need for balance between work, sleep and reflection or meditation.

"Happiness is very serious business," Bhutan Prime Minister Jigme Thinley said. "The dogma of limitless productivity and growth in a finite world is unsustainable and unfair for future generations."

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Rich Launch Third World Land Grab PDF Print E-mail

Rich Countries Launch Great Land
Grab to Safeguard Food Supply

• States and companies target developing nations
• Small farmers at risk from industrial-scale deals

by Julian Borger

Rich governments and corporations are triggering alarm for the poor as they buy up the rights to millions of hectares of agricultural land in developing countries in an effort to secure their own long-term food supplies.

The head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Jacques Diouf, has warned that the controversial rise in land deals could create a form of "neo-colonialism", with poor states producing food for the rich at the expense of their own hungry people.

Rising food prices have already set off a second "scramble for Africa". This week, the South Korean firm Daewoo Logistics announced plans to buy a 99-year lease on a million hectares in Madagascar. Its aim is to grow 5m tonnes of corn a year by 2023, and produce palm oil from a further lease of 120,000 hectares (296,000 acres), relying on a largely South African workforce. Production would be mainly earmarked for South Korea, which wants to lessen dependence on imports.


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India's Growing Water Crisis PDF Print E-mail

 by Nirupam Bajpai
The Hindu: Business Line
Jan 12, 2007


While the development of sustainable and safe drinking water supplies is a global challenge, it is particularly acute in India, given its high population density, space and time variability of rainfall, and increasing depletion and contamination of its surface and ground water resources. The wasteful subsidy system only worsens the crisis. Needed are urgent reforms in water resource management and tariffs, says NIRUPAM BAJPAI.
The UNDP's Human Development Report 2006 rightly focuses on one of the most serious problems facing humanity today — the global water crisis. Water supplies are under severe stress. More than a billion people have no access to safe drinking water and almost two million children die every year for want of clean water and sanitation facilities. As a result of poor water resource management, high population growth, rapid urbanisation and increasing demand from competing uses for drinking, agriculture, industry and energy, the pressure on this finite resource is mounting every day. Climate change is also affecting the hydrological cycle, significantly affecting freshwater production and its distribution.

The human development costs of the crisis are immense, with the poor being hit the hardest. They are the first to be affected by water-borne diseases; there has been little improvement in child mortality rates, and education is a low priority for the girls, who spend most of the day collecting and transporting water. Even if they do manage to get to the school, they are more than likely to drop out, as most schools do not have toilets for girls.

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Why Are the World's Lakes Disappearing? PDF Print E-mail

by Abigail Brown, Water For The Ages
Alternet
June 10, 2008

An estimated three hundred and four million of them across the globe, and yet still, researchers are noticing many inland lakes are beginning to dry.

In Siberia, Central Asia, East Africa, and North America -- the results are the same -- lakes simply cannot compete with man-made alterations to the environment.

And, these are not just small lakes, some of the lakes with dropping water levels are gigantic in size.

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Coke and Pepsi fear bottled water backlash PDF Print E-mail

by Anthony Mirhaydari
MSN Money
July 14 2008

Soft-drink companies are bracing for a slowdown in what has been a surefire moneymaker: Selling filtered tap water, straight up or with flavor and nutrients as "enhanced water" beverages. But the companies still offer opportunity for investors.

Not only are people shying away from water costing the equivalent of $12 a gallon when gasoline is over $4 a gallon, but environmental sensitivity to those ugly, non-biodegradable plastic bottles is on the rise as well. A recent survey by venerable Morgan Stanley beverage analyst William Pecoriello found 16% of consumers are reducing bottled water consumption due to environmental concerns. This is up from just 5% last year. Of these, 34% are reusing their plastic water bottles more often while 23% are just going with tap water instead.

It's no wonder this trend is emerging: A recent report by the Swiss Gas and Water Association finds that bottled water has 100 times the environmental impact of tap water. The Sierra Club notes that bottled water produces 1.5 million tons of plastic waste each year -- the vast majority of which ends up in our landfills and oceans.

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