archive-in.com » IN » E » ECOLOGISE.IN

Total: 394

Choose link from "Titles, links and description words view":

Or switch to "Titles and links view".
  • Series: Capitalism and Climate Change – Ecologise
    H R Prakash on When communalists turns on environmentalists Ashok Kundapur on In spite of cool advertising electric cars also damage the environment Tags activism agrarian crisis agriculture air pollution alternatives Books capitalism carbon emissions China Climate Change coal corporate rule deforestation development ecological conflict economic growth education awareness energy extreme weather events food security fossil fuels future scenarios Gail Tverberg global economy green politics India inequality Kurt Cobb Narendra Modi government neoliberalism oil prices organic farming Paris climate talks peak oil Renewable energy resource depletion resource extraction Richard Heinberg rural India Sagar Dhara Sustainability Transition videos water crisis weather patterns Archives Archives Select Month May 2016 4 April 2016 51 March 2016 46 February 2016 31 January 2016 27 December 2015 31 November 2015 29 October 2015 19 September 2015 12 August 2015 13 July 2015 9 June 2015 11 May 2015 13 April 2015 12 March 2015 16 February 2015 17 January 2015 10 December 2014 10 November 2014 10 October 2014 10 September 2014 11 August 2014 7 July 2014 5 June 2014 7 May 2014 2 April 2014 3 March 2014 4 February 2014 1 January 2014 2 December 2013 3 November 2013 2 October 2013 8 Upcoming Events Webinar on Groundtruthing at online event Groundtruthing gathers information that connects regulatory requirements with actual impacts development has on people Resource person Kanchi Kohli Share this Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Click to share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Google Opens in new window 12th May 2016 12th May 2016 Rainwater Harvesting Workshop at Hyderabad Understand and combat Hyderabad s water problems through rain water harvesting Share this Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Click to share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Google Opens in new window 15th May 2016 15th May 2016 Thought for Food at Palampur Himachal Pradesh Workshop on eating responsibly sharing strategies and tools for doing so Share this Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Click to share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Google Opens in new window 18th May 2016 22nd May 2016 Two short courses on Development at Azim Premji University Bangalore Designed for professionals working in various domains of development Share this Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Click to share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Google Opens in new window 24th May 2016 3rd June 2016 View All Events Special Features Corporate Watch Series Capitalism and Climate Change Written by Contributor Mar 22 2016 0 Comments Climate change is real and it s going to get worse This video looks at how obstacles to solving the problem are intrinsic to our capitalist system The growing strength of the climate movement around the world gives us great hope but it s going to take a revolution to make the world inhabitable for future generations Climate and Capitalism

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/22/video-climate-change-its-going-to-take-a-revolution/ (2016-05-02)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Bookshelf: Failed – What the “experts” got wrong about the global economy – Ecologise
    Mark Weisbrot calls this bluff effectively and comprehensively He points out Behind almost every prolonged economic malfeasance there is some combination of outworn bad ideas incompetence and the malign influence of powerful special interests page 2 Unfortunately such nightmares are prolonged and even repeated in other places because even if the lessons from one catastrophe are learned they are typically not learned or at least not taken to heart by the people who call the shots The costs of this failure are huge for the citizenry for workers who face joblessness or fragile insecure employment at low wages for families whose access to essential goods and social services is reduced for farmers and other small producers who find that their activities are simply not financially viable for those thrown into poverty because of crisis and instability or those facing greater hunger and for almost everyone in society when their lives become more insecure in various ways Many millions of lives across the world have been ruined because of the active implementation of completely wrong and unnecessary economic policies Yet because the blame is not apportioned where it is due those who are culpable for this not only get away with it but are able to continue to impose their power and expertise on economic policies and on governing institutions For them there is no price to be paid for failure Tragedy in eurozone Weisbrot illustrates this with the telling example of the still unfolding economic tragedy in the eurozone He describes the design flaws in the monetary union that meant that the European Central Bank ECB did not behave like a real central bank to all the member countries because when the crisis broke in 2009 10 it did not behave as a lender of last resort to the countries in the European periphery that faced payment difficulties Instead the most draconian austerity measures were imposed on these countries which simply drove them further into economic decline and made their debt burdens even more burdensome and unpayable It took two years for ECB Governor Mario Draghi to promise to do whatever it takes to save the euro and he did this when the crisis threatened to engulf the entire European Union and force the monetary union to collapse When the financial bleeding was stemmed it became glaringly evident that the European authorities and the ECB could have intervened much earlier to reduce the damage in the eurozone periphery through monetary and fiscal policies In countries with their own central banks such as the United States and the United Kingdom such policies were indeed undertaken which is why the recovery also came sooner and with less pain than still persists in parts of Europe Why could this not have been done earlier Why were the early attempts at restructuring Greek debt not more realistic so as to reduce the debt to levels that could feasibly be repaid by that country Why was each attempt to solve the problem so tardy niggardly

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/21/bookshelf-failed-what-the-experts-got-wrong-about-the-global-economy/ (2016-05-02)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Farmer suicides: What do we know? What does it mean? – Ecologise
    professions the NCRB has been publishing data on suicides by sex causes and means adopted since 1967 disaggregation by professions was added in 1995 While classifying the data under different professions the NCRB reports suicides committed by a category of people called the self employed farming agriculture The NCRB report does not define the category of a self employed person But parsing the report one gets an idea about the meaning of the category Self employed is one of the many categories of professions used by the NCRB the others being housewife service unemployed student retired person and others Given these categories it would be safe to assume that self employed are those who have not been hired by other people They would have been in the service category if that had been the case Moreover they earn their living unlike the unemployed In case of farming agriculture it stood to reason that the self employed are cultivators That is they earn their living from farming but with the important qualifier that they own the land or have leased in the land Thus agricultural labourers would not fall in this category because agricultural labourers do not own farm land moreover they are hired by others Earlier analyses of farmers suicides were made on the basis of this reasonable assumption Although the above assumption regarding who is covered by the self employed farming agriculture category of the NCRB did not have much bearing on the content of the article it is important to provide this clarification upfront because the publication of the NCRB report in 2014 indicated that this assumption was incorrect It now appears that the NCRB had been clubbing the suicides by cultivators and agricultural labourers in the self employed farming agriculture category instead of taking the former category alone This becomes clear once the data of 2014 is observed The 2014 data has a different format than the previous years It has subdivided the category of self employed in agriculture into agricultural labourers farmers owning land and those who leased in land So there exists a category called the self employed persons farmers in the 2014 report But if one compares the figures reported here with the figures under self employed farming agriculture of previous reports one would be surprised to find that suicides by farmers halved between 2013 and 2014 Since this is clearly implausible one has to compare data under the category of self employed farming agriculture of 2013 and earlier years with the category of self employed persons agriculture total of 2014 Once that is done the number of suicides is found to have risen from 11772 in 2013 to 12360 in 2014 an increase by about 5 3 Three Measures of Farmers Suicides Although the number of suicides has risen between 2013 and 2014 once we look at suicides by farmers over the years we do not find a clear trend Data plotted in Figure 1 show that for the first ten years from 1995 suicides went on rising year after year From over 10 000 per year in 1995 it went to over 18 000 per year in 2004 In the last ten years however there has been a reversal of this trend with farmer suicides declining continuously As we have just seen in 2014 the number was a little over 12 000 So although the total number of suicides in 2014 is more than in 1995 in the intervening years suicides had gone up sharply and then dropped Total number of suicides is a blunt measure to capture the severity of suicide deaths This is because the number of farmers some of whom were committing suicides might be changing Hence the same number of suicides could have a different meaning because the number of farmers is different In other words it may very well happen that in two years the same number of farmers has committed suicide but in the second year the total number of farmers is lower than in the first This should mean that in a relative sense the suicides were higher in the second year although in absolute sense suicide numbers did not change Figure 1 Number of farmer suicides in India 1995 2014 In short one needs a relative measurement to gauge the severity of the problem That is why researchers estimate number of suicides per 1 00 000 population This number is called suicide mortality rate SMR In table 1 we have reported suicide mortality rate of farmers in India over the last 20 years column 2 Table 1 Farmer SMR and the ratio of farmer SMR and non farmer SMR in India 1995 2014 Year Farmer SMR Non Farmer SMR Farmer SMR Non Farmer SMR 1995 5 42 10 87 0 50 1996 6 75 10 14 0 67 1997 6 52 11 00 0 59 1998 7 45 11 67 0 64 1999 7 32 12 22 0 60 2000 7 34 11 71 0 63 2001 7 17 11 50 0 62 2002 7 76 11 33 0 68 2003 7 37 11 25 0 65 2004 7 70 11 27 0 68 2005 7 15 11 22 0 64 2006 7 04 11 51 0 61 2007 6 77 11 86 0 57 2008 6 60 11 95 0 55 2009 6 60 11 96 0 55 2010 6 39 12 59 0 51 2011 5 57 12 69 0 44 2012 5 41 12 50 0 43 2013 4 58 12 43 0 37 2014 4 76 11 87 0 40 Note Farmer SMR is the suicides of farmers per 1 00 000 farmers non farmer SMR is the suicides of non farmers per 1 00 000 non farmers It is clear from table 1 column 2 that like the total number of suicides SMR also rose during the first ten years and declined thereafter We do not have the data of suicides disaggregated by professions before 1995 So it is not possible to tell if the rising trend of suicide since 1995 was part of a tendency which had started earlier In any case the fact that it rose significantly for a decade after 1995 is borne out by the numbers we have reported in table 1 But from these numbers can we infer that farmers in particular have been in the receiving end It can very well happen that during the same time that is from 1995 to 2004 suicide mortality rate rose for the entire population This rising tendency to commit suicide in the whole population could be finding expression in terms of rising SMR among farmers as well If such is the case then it would be incorrect to say that the root of rising farmer SMR lies in any trouble in the agricultural sector particularly In that case it would be wrong to infer that the agrarian economy is in distress as some of us have been doing To check if the rising SMR is specific to farmers one has to compare between the suicide rate of farmers and those who are not farmers A simple way to do this is to take the SMR of farmer and divide it by the SMR of non farmers If this ratio is significantly higher than 1 at any point in time it would imply that the suicide rate among farmers is much higher than non farmers at that point in time on the other hand if the ratio were rising over time then it would indicate that over time suicide incidents are affecting the farmers more than the non farmers We have calculated this ratio and the numbers are reported in the column 3 of table 1 A close look at the number confirms that this ratio of SMRs underwent a gradual rise from 1995 till about 2004 after which it fell Thus it appears that all the three indicators we have examined total number of suicides SMR of farmers and the ratio of farmers SMR to non farmers SMR have undergone the same pattern of change over the last two decades a rise in the first ten years 1995 to 2004 and fall in the last ten 2004 to 2014 Before we discuss the possible reasons responsible for this identifiable pattern a few observation on the data are in order To interpret the SMR ratio it is useful to distinguish between levels and trends If we consider the level of the SMR ratio we see from column 3 of Table 1 and from the blue line in Figure 3 that it was always below unity At its maximum in 2002 and 2004 the SMR ratio was 0 68 The fact that the SMR ratio has always been below unity at the all India level suggests that the level of distress that is a cause for suicides has been relatively lower among farmers than among non farmers if we consider the country as a whole Even in the worst years 2002 2004 the relative distress among farmers was lower than among non farmers This is an important fact that has often been ignored in discussions about farmer suicides When we consider the trend we see the following pattern the SMR ratio displayed an increasing trend between 1995 and 2004 thereafter the SMR ratio declined Thus for the decade long period between 1995 and 2004 things were going terribly wrong in the agricultural sector at the all India level so that the relative rate of suicides among farmers was increasing in comparison to non farmers The fact that the SMR ratio fell since 2004 is perhaps an indication that those drivers of distress that led to the spurt of farmer suicides between 1995 and 2004 have mitigated to an extent in the subsequent period Figure 2 Ratio of farmer SMR and non farmer SMR in Kerala and Maharashtra 1995 2014 SMR of farmers suicide mortality rate for farmers farmer suicides per 1 00 000 farmers SMR of non farmers suicide mortality rate for non farmers non farmer suicides per 1 00 000 non farmers Second although the ratio of farmers SMR to non farmers SMR was less than 1 this is true at the all India level only If we focus on individual states we see that two states have defied that trend Maharashtra and Kerala In figure 2 we have plotted the SMR ratio for Maharashtra and Kerala In figure 3 we have plotted the all India SMR ratio with and without these two states to show the importance of these two states in driving up the all India SMR ratio Figure 3 Ratio of farmer SMR and non farmer SMR in India with and without Kerala and Maharashtra 1995 2014 SMR of farmers suicide mortality rate for farmers farmer suicides per 1 00 000 farmers SMR of non farmers suicide mortality rate for non farmers non farmer suicides per 1 00 000 non farmers Figure 2 shows that in these two states the SMR ratio has been more than 1 for a number of years In Kerala the ratio has fluctuated around a value that is greater than 2 in Maharashtra it has stayed above 1 for most years after 2000 It implies that although Maharashtra occupies more media space on the subject of farmers plight which is justifiable given that far more suicides are committed in Maharashtra than anywhere else the condition of farmers is grimmer in Kerala in a relative sense Moreover one observes a gradual rise in the ratio over the years in both these states Thus unlike the all India picture the suicide indicators have not come down at all in these two states after 2004 Figure 3 shows that if Maharashtra and Kerala are taken out the all India SMR ratio improves a great deal The red line all India data without these two states is consistently and appreciably below the blue line all India data including these two states Moreover once Kerala and Maharashtra are removed the SMR ratio declines continuously from 1996 onwards This has important policy implications that we discuss below 4 Possible Reasons for Suicide It is a well known fact that the agricultural sector has been performing badly since the 1990s It has been found that the annual growth rate of output in agricultural sector has halved between the period 1980 83 to 1990 93 to the period 1990 93 to 2003 06 It is also evident that a major reason for this slowdown has been the deceleration in the use of inputs In other words investment in agriculture has been declining which could be leading to slowing down of output growth As has been argued by one of us slowdown of public investment has played an important role in the decline of overall agricultural investment As output is rising at a slower rate since 1990 profitability of farmers is getting adversely affected for they are not being able to produce at as fast a rate as they had been doing before Note decline in public investment is a conscious government decision There are other policy changes which aggravated the decline in profitability As has been argued in the sanhati article these include less enthusiasm for disbursing rural credit by the government slackening of procurement operation of crops from farmers opening the domestic market to cheap imports etc All these factors increased the cost of farming while at the same time reduced the revenue which the farmer obtained by selling her crop In short profitability fell Low profitability is a reason for the depressed state of Indian agriculture since the early 1990s This depressed state might have set the background for the spate of suicides which intermittently kept occurring across the country Without denying the role of agricultural stagnation low investment and declining profitability we would also like to highlight a puzzling feature of the issue the problem of farmer suicides seem to be most acute not in the poorest states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh but in relatively prosperous and faster growing states like Maharashtra Kerala Andhra Pradesh A few case studies and journalistic reports have highlighted problems specific to the growing of cash crops like cotton or spices that seem to be important in causing farmer suicides For instance factors like high volatility of cash crop prices and lack of crop insurance mechanisms requirements of relatively large investments and hence for loans in the cultivation of cash crops lack of social and mental health support systems to deal with distress might also be important to take into account if a proper understanding of the problem of farmer suicides is to be developed 5 Cultivators and Agricultural Labourers Low profitability directly affected the farmer i e the person who cultivates and owns the land for she is the person who earns profit and suffers losses But it indirectly affects the agricultural labourers as well Low profitability implies low investments and therefore low job generation which adversely impacts the employment prospects of agricultural labourers It is found that while between 1983 to 1993 94 employment in the primary sector grew at an annual rate of 1 35 the rate subsequently fell to 0 67 1993 94 to 2004 05 and then became negative 0 13 1999 2000 to 2009 10 agricultural sector is the largest component of the primary sector Thus the number of jobs in farming is actually shrinking instead of rising Between 2001 and 2011 the total number of farmers i e owner farmers and laboures taken together went down from 234 1 million to 225 1 million It is not surprising to find labourers in the ranks of those who committed suicide It is true that indebtedness is often found to be a reason for farmer suicides These loans are often production loans which the owner farmer took and which could not be paid due to crop failure Such suicides would not impact labourers as much as the owner farmers But it must be kept in mind that labourers are the poorest section of agrarian economy Economic desperation which drives people to take their lives would be far more important to agricultural labourers than to owner farmers We have the data of suicides by agricultural labourers categorised separately from owner farmers for the year 2014 Thus it is possible to gauge the relative severity of suicide deaths among agricultural labourers as compared to owner farmers In table 2 we have reported the SMR of these two categories in different states It can be seen that at the all India level SMR of cultivators owner farmers is not much different from that of agricultural labourers it is marginally higher But there is lot of variation across states In Maharashtra SMR of cultivators is quite high it is twice the value of the SMR of labourers In the land deficient Kerala the opposite is true SMR of labourers is more than three times as high as the SMR of cultivators For other high farmer suicide states we see the following pattern In Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka they are almost similar In Chhattisgarh like in Maharashtra cultivators have a higher SMR In Tamil Nadu labourers have a higher SMR In Madhya Pradesh cultivators have the higher figure West Bengal reports zero suicides for cultivators this makes the data suspect In general it appears that land deficient states have higher SMR for labourers compared to cultivators The fact that labourers are also getting killed in large number in fact more in absolute number than the cultivators is an important observation which is easy to lose sight of Table 2 Suicide Mortality Rate suicides per 1 00 000 population for Agricultural Labourers and Cultivators across Indian States 2014 Agricultural Labourers Cultivators Andhra Pradesh 2 79 2 75 Arunachal Pradesh 7 83 0 00 Assam 1 92 0 51 Bihar 0 05 0 00 Chhattisgarh 5 72 11 68 Goa Daman and Diu 0 00 0 00 Gujarat 8 01

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/21/farmer-suicides-what-do-we-know-what-does-it-mean/ (2016-05-02)
    Open archived version from archive

  • The Paris Climate Talks: A Nepali View – Ecologise
    Nepal new and sometimes alarming understandings that will guide me in my continued activism for justice and climate change What I found most disturbing in Paris was the widespread expectation of and reliance on foreign donations for climate change adaptation This I believe is the single reason we will most likely fail to implement the measures needed to prepare for climate change In particular leaders of the climate justice campaigns demand funds for Least Developed Countries LDCs that would ensure the continuation of existing social and economic systems This serves the interests of rich people who do not want fundamental change However fundamental change is actually essential to achieve a sustainable and more just world Within the Paris framework there are predefined roles for nations determined by their status as Developed Nations Developing Nations and LDCs that are based on culturally biased definitions of development Those definitions essentially assume that industrialization is fundamental to development There is no acknowledgment of historic contributions by LDCs through their traditional cultures to the conservation of resources and natural areas Those traditions are therefore considered to have no economic value The fundamental focus on Western style economic development drives most of what really happens at UN climate conferences What s more the USA and other developed nations are the potential funding sources for the changes the LDCs must make to adapt to climate change This makes the LDCs even more dependent on the developed nations than they already are It leaves no room for ideas from the LDCs to percolate up into the developed nations And as hat in hand nations the LDCs are constrained in their criticism of the policies of the donor nations When measured against sustainable development goals most LDCs are already close to a sustainable way of life This however takes exception to the presumption that GDP growth is essential LDCs are being forced into the industrial paradigm like it or not The UN definitions of Developed and LDC are mostly based on resource intensity and this is a fundamental problem in itself We need new terms to categorize nations by their level of sustainability in which resource extraction and consumption no longer add to measures of economic health but instead subtract from them While GDP based evaluations encourage ever greater consumption of natural resources there are better economic yardsticks such as Gross National Happiness that evaluate nations on the basis of the actual well being of their citizens Alas concepts such as this were all but invisible at COP21 Instead sources of energy i e fossil fuel vs renewable were the focus preventing the delegates from recognizing the effects of the energy intensive resource exploiting economy that is presumed to be the only means of achieving prosperity Overall the discussions took little account of the gains to be made by reducing consumption It doesn t matter what your source of energy for the washing machine is when you are still using it to wash your clothes while at the

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/20/the-paris-climate-talks-a-nepali-view/ (2016-05-02)
    Open archived version from archive

  • On burning ground: The human cost of India’s push to produce more coal – Ecologise
    abyss below These are economic boom times in India The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is presiding over 7 percent annual growth fueled by the coal that generates most of the country s electricity and powers heavy industries like steel and motor manufacturing that dominate Jharkhand one of India s industrial heartlands To keep the growth going Modi last year called for the state owned company Coal India whose subsidiaries include Bharat Coking Coal to double its production by 2020 Raju and his family live 30 feet from an open pit coal mine in Lantenganj Many fear the climatic consequences of India s drive for coal powered growth Other major coal mining nations like the United States and China are cutting back on burning the dirtiest of the fossil fuels But India the world s third largest coal producer and fourth largest greenhouse gas emitter stood out as a climate bad guy at the United Nations climate talks in Paris in December It has set itself on an energy growth path that will increase emissions by an estimated 60 percent by 2030 That is bad enough But there is a local price to pay too in polluted air and damage to the lungs and living conditions of people like Raju whose homes are in such mining areas as the 108 square mile Jharia coalfield that includes Lantenganj According to Gurdeep Singh of the Indian School of Mines University in Dhanbad the biggest nearby city Jhaira is probably the most densely populated coal mining area in the world with up to half a million inhabitants The Jharia coalfield is gigantic Its nine large open pits and dozens of deep mines and smaller pits are responsible for about a quarter of India s coal production including almost all of its highly prized bituminous coal which is burned in the blast furnaces of the country s major iron and steel corporations such as Mittal and Tata As I experienced during a trip to the Jharia coalfield early this month nearby communities are frequently shrouded in a noxious fog of smoke and dust that catches in the throat and dramatically reduces visibility A study last year by the Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research in Dhanbad found widespread evidence of lung diseases and other health impacts The problem is worsened by the fires that lurk underground in about a tenth of the coalfield Aside from blackening the air they cause widespread subsidence as they eat away the coal and cause the ground above to fissure and collapse Over the years they have consumed an estimated 37 million tons of coal according to Glenn Stracher of East Georgia State College in Swainsboro an expert on underground coal fires who rates the Jharia conflagrations among the worst in the world The coal company sees the fires as a means to force out villagers in the way of mine expansion an activist says The fires typically ignite spontaneously when minerals in the exposed coal are oxidized and heat up Some have been burning since the British began deep mining here over a century ago But the subterranean conflagrations have dramatically worsened since independent India began open pit mining in the 1970s Official reports mention 70 long standing major fires But in the plush air conditioned local offices of the government run Mines Rescue Station the people whose main job is to contain and extinguish fires in productive mines by sealing them off told me that the current tally is 84 They are losing the battle This sounds as though it would be bad for business Indeed the fires have reportedly cut off some 1 5 billion tons of coal from future mining But Jharia businessman Ashok Agarwal who campaigns for the rights of those who are losing their homes to the fires told me he believes the mining company sees the fires more positively as a means to force out villagers who get in the way of expanding the mines to increase production The fires are being used to secure more and more land he said As they spread the people are forced to evacuate The company which did not respond when contacted by Yale Environment 360 reportedly denies this motive But the Jharia coalfield has a tradition of brutality It and the neighboring steel city of Dhanbad are notorious in India for being the home of coal mafias These are criminal gangs that reputedly control trade unions money lending a huge clandestine trade in coal and politics In 2012 Bollywood made a movie based on the local mafiosi called Gangs of Wasseypur Jharia s underground coal deposits have been burning for nearly a century An hour s rickshaw ride away from Jharia serried ranks of four story apartment blocks make up Belgaria a township under construction by the government s Jharia Rehabilitation and Development Authority since 2006 to house evacuees from the advancing mines and fires It currently has 2 300 households each family having been given a free one or two room apartment for life But it could grow to many times that size if the government s aim to shift 100 000 people from the coalfield is ever carried out The township has a bank and a school and much cleaner air than on the coalfield but no jobs Evacuees have to commute back to the coalfields to find even casual labor Yet many like Pandey who came from the mining village of Bokapahari five years ago have more or less given up trying to find work There are no jobs now he said Life in the township remains surprisingly rural with chickens and cattle roaming the streets In his tiny apartment Pandey s daughter was cooking a lunch of leafy green vegetables and rice I noticed her stove burned dried cattle dung rather than coal An hour later I was in Pandey s former home village of Bokapahari its remaining houses sandwiched between an abandoned mine and one still growing As

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/20/on-burning-ground-the-human-cost-of-indias-push-to-produce-more-coal/ (2016-05-02)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Richard Heinberg: 100% renewable energy is possible, here’s how – Ecologise
    assess those plans and have a book in the works titled Our Renewable Future Here s a very short summary tailored mostly to the U S of what we ve found Level One The Easy Stuff Nearly everyone agrees that the easiest way to kick start the transition would be to replace coal with solar and wind power for electricity generation That would require building lots of panels and turbines while regulating coal out of existence Distributed generation and storage rooftop solar panels with home or business scale battery packs will help Replacing natural gas will be harder because gas fired peaking plants are often used to buffer the intermittency of industrial scale wind and solar inputs to the grid see Level Two Electricity accounts for less than a quarter of all final energy used in the U S What about the rest of the energy we depend on Since solar and wind produce electricity it makes sense to electrify as much of our energy usage as we can For example we could heat and cool most buildings with electric air source heat pumps replacing natural gas or oil fueled furnaces We could also begin switching out all our gas cooking stoves for electric stoves Transportation represents a large swath of energy consumption and personal automobiles account for most of that We could reduce oil consumption substantially if we all drove electric cars replacing 250 million gasoline fueled automobiles will take time and money but will eventually result in energy and financial savings Promoting walking bicycling and public transit will take much less time and investment Buildings will require substantial retrofitting for energy efficiency this will again take time and investment but will offer still more opportunities for savings Building codes should be strengthened to require net zero energy or near net zero energy performance for new construction More energy efficient appliances will also help The food system is a big energy consumer with fossil fuels used in the manufacture of fertilizers food processing and transportation We could reduce a lot of that fuel consumption by increasing the market share of organic local foods While we re at it we could begin sequestering enormous amounts of atmospheric carbon in topsoil by promoting farming practices that build soil rather than deplete it as is being done for example in the Marin Carbon Project If we got a good start in all these areas we could achieve at least a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions in 10 to 20 years Level Two The Harder Stuff Solar and wind technologies have a drawback They provide energy intermittently When they become dominant in our overall energy mix we will have to accommodate that intermittency in various ways We ll need substantial amounts of grid level energy storage as well as a major grid overhaul to get the electricity sector close to 100 percent renewables replacing natural gas in electricity generation We ll also need to start timing our energy usage to coincide with the availability of sunlight and wind energy That in itself will present both technological and behavioral hurdles After we switch to electric cars the rest of the transport sector will require longer term and sometimes more expensive substitutions We could reduce our need for cars which require a lot of energy for their manufacture and decommissioning by increasing the density of our cities and suburbs and reorienting them to public transit bicycling and walking We could electrify all motorized human transport by building more electrified public transit and intercity passenger rail lines Heavy trucks could run on fuel cells but it would be better to minimize trucking by expanding freight rail Transport by ship could employ sails to increase fuel efficiency this is already being done on a tiny scale by the MS Beluga Skysails a commercial container cargo ship partially powered by a 1 700 square foot computer controlled kite but relocalization or deglobalization of manufacturing would be a necessary co strategy to reduce the need for shipping Much of the manufacturing sector already runs on electricity but there are exceptions and some of these will offer significant challenges Many raw materials for manufacturing processes either are fossil fuels feedstocks for plastics and other petrochemical based materials or require fossil fuels for mining or transformation e g most metals Considerable effort will be needed to replace fossil fuel based industrial materials and to recycle non renewable materials more completely significantly reducing the need for mining If we did all these things while also building far far more solar panels and wind turbines we could achieve roughly an 80 percent reduction in emissions compared to our current level World per capita primary energy consumption Photo credit Research from Peter Kalmus and Post Carbon Institute YES Magazine infographic Level Three The Really Hard Stuff Doing away with the last 20 percent of our current fossil fuel consumption is going to take still more time research and investment as well as much more behavioral adaptation Just one example We currently use enormous amounts of concrete for all kinds of construction The crucial ingredient in concrete is cement Cement making requires high heat which could theoretically be supplied by sunlight electricity or hydrogen but that will entail a nearly complete redesign of the process While with Level One we began a shift in food systems by promoting local organic food driving carbon emissions down further will require finishing that job by making all food production organic and requiring all agriculture to build topsoil rather than deplete it Eliminating all fossil fuels in food systems will also entail a substantial redesign of those systems to minimize processing packaging and transport The communications sector which uses mining and high heat processes for the production of phones computers servers wires photo optic cables cell towers and more presents some really knotty problems The only good long term solution in this sector is to make devices that are built to last a very long time and then

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/19/richard-heinberg-100-renewable-energy-is-possible-heres-how/ (2016-05-02)
    Open archived version from archive

  • How did Indian rivers fare in 2015? – Ecologise
    metals but pollution was just one factor affecting rivers The other important factor was the number of hydropower power projects which continue to choke rivers such as the Chenab in Jammu Kashmir Amidst such gloom here is a recap of important news related to some of the major rivers this year The Ganga Steps to curb pollution Ganga river at Sangam in Allahabad Earlier this year the centre and the states where the Ganga flows geared up for the Clean Ganga Mission with Jharkhand becoming the model state for the drive The Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board initiated the process of closing 98 factories in Kanpur for polluting the Ganga while the National Green Tribunal revised its guidelines to identify seriously polluting units along the river in addition to grossly polluting ones which are scrutinised by both the Central and State Pollution Control Boards Also the CPCB ordered some 3900 highly polluting industrial units along the river to install 24 7 online monitoring devices out of which nearly 66 have complied to the orders while the remaining have been warned of strict action for non compliance In March the National Mission for Clean Ganga served notice to 118 local bodies and 764 units for polluting the river but later the Nirmal Ganga Sahbhagita scheme was launched to develop a sustainable partnership with these 118 Urban Local Bodies Recently the Government has decided not to allow new constructions on the Ganga or any of its tributaries in order to maintain the river s minimum environmental flow and protect the ecology dependent on it Also plastic has been completely banned from Gomukh to Haridwar along the stretch of the Ganga Smart Ganga clean up To involve the public in the Clean Ganga Mission the Water Ministry launched the Bhuvan Ganga Mobile Application and web portal The app enables people to click and upload pictures of pollution sources so that further action can be taken The revival India inspired by the revival of the Rhine river hopes to apply a similar success model to the Ganga Also Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for an uncompromising mission mode approach to revive the river Recently the CPCB has also proposed a segment wise cleaning of the river based on geography eco flow of the river and pollution load The demarcated segments are Gomukh to Haridwar Haridwar to Narora Narora to Varanasi and Varanasi to Kolkata The Government has also committed to completing the Ganga Rejuvenation project by 2018 Some good news Ganga shifts to original course in Patna In March the High Court ordered the Central and Bihar Governments to restore the Ganga s original course which had shifted northward from Patna by about 2 3 km in the last two decades Per the records of Bihar State Pollution Control Board BSPCB it was the brick kilns nearly 596 in numbers along the banks of the Ganga that were to be blamed for the shift However by the efforts of the Bihar Government the

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/19/how-did-indian-rivers-fare-in-2015/ (2016-05-02)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Can environmentalism learn from religion? – Ecologise
    categories but rather part of a seamless order that is currently best described by political ecology If the rhetoric of political ecology is to remain merely descriptive we can stop here But if we want that rhetoric to become a tool of change we must go beyond the notion that facts speak for themselves We will get to the question of religion further on The late Sen Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not to his own facts We find ourselves now in an age where people believe that they are indeed entitled to their own facts Many politicians and their supporters have come to believe that the facts provided by scientists are tainted by social political and financial factors In short the politically motivated critics of science have discovered the postmodern French critique of science These critics particularly the American ones would shrink in horror from the suggestion that they were engaging in anything remotely French in origin Nor does this group extend the postmodern critique to other categories such as the economic social and religious views they promote The highly selective approach of focusing this critique on science particularly the science of climate change tells us something about its potency No one wants to have the cannon artillery and canon rules and principles of the postmodernist critique aimed at their own vested interests The metaphorical ramparts surrounding those interests might be blown to bits It turns out that everything we do and think is shot through with social political financial and yes even religious content So it is telling that part of the attack on the science of climate change has come in the form of religious rhetoric An Illinois congressman vying for the chairmanship of the U S House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee in 2010 declared that God simply won t let climate change create floods and other effects that will undermine human civilization His colleague U S Sen James Inhofe invoked similar ideas in his book The Greatest Hoax Such attacks have been potent because environmentalism does in fact share many characteristics with religion And it turns out that many of environmentalism s adherents work to address environmental challenges out of a conviction that it is their religious duty to do so as stewards of God s Earth Environmentalism is not a branch of science then but a movement based on values And the key value is that human culture should continue indefinitely into the future The main difference between environmentalism and those opposing it is that environmentalists believe human continuity can only be secured by respecting the limits and dictates of the natural world Some environmentalists go further and assert the inherent right of other species both animal and plant to exist and thrive and not simply to be food and fiber for humans The idea that environmentalism is a religion is sometimes hurled at its adherents as a criticism for two reasons First environmentalism is

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/18/toward-a-new-rhetoric-of-political-ecology-can-religion-teach-us-something/ (2016-05-02)
    Open archived version from archive