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  • NEWS UPDATE #86 – Ecologise
    India is caused by snakebites A study of snakebite mortality in India published in 2011 found that close to 46 000 people die of snakebite every year far higher than the official estimates from government hospitals of between 1 300 and 1 400 deaths annually The report said Thus snakebite remains an underestimated cause of accidental death in modern India causing about one death for every two HIV related deaths Centre exempts white industries from green nod Times of India In its effort to sync environmental goals with the Centre s agenda of improving ease of doing business the environment ministry on Saturday released a new categorization of industries based on their pollution load It introduced a new category white having 36 types of non polluting industries which will not require environmental clearance for their operation Bio fertilizer bio pesticide organic manure wind power and mini hydel of less than 25 MW of capacity are among the industries projects that fall under the new white category If This Is Pro Farmer P Sainath Outlook Magazine Alongside this fiddle comes the crazy claim of doubling farmers incomes by 2022 Does the finance minister mean real income after adjusting for price rise And how At the heart of their crisis is how unviable farming is being rendered by policy Will he honour his party s promise and boost the MSP Will he reduce the burden of farmers locked into a high cost econ omy give them access to better credit and cheaper seed fertiliser and other inputs There is not a hint in the budget The lion s share of agricultural credit goes to urban and metro based businesses How realistic are promises of doubling farm incomes Roshan Kishore Live Mint First there is the question of nominal versus real increase in incomes While economists might tend to value only the latter people do value even a nominal increase in incomes Second given the lack of actual income data in India there is also the question of which indicator should be taken as a measure of farmers income A useful way to judge the feasibility of Jaitley s targets can be to look at how such indicators have behaved in the past Also read What do small farmers and India s food security gain and lose from the union budget The Reality of India s Rising GDP Numbers Taufeeq Ajaz The Wire The popular and official view is that the Indian economy is growing but high frequency data suggest otherwise The GDP data for the current financial year had estimated manufacturing sector growth at an annual 12 6 during October December but the latest numbers for the IIP indicate a mere 0 9 rise during the same quarter The gap is surprising The government however maintains that the two sets of contradictory numbers are based on different methods of calculation Teething Troubles at Kudankulam India Biting More Nuclear Than it Can Chew M V Ramana The Wire The saga of failures at

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/10/news-update-86/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Video & Report: Is India’s 100 smart cities project a recipe for social apartheid? – Ecologise
    apartheid cities governed by powerful corporate entities that could override local laws and governments to keep out the poor In a monograph for a conference on smart cities in Mumbai in January the economist and consultant Laveesh Bhandari described smart cities as special enclaves that would use prohibitive prices and harsh policing to prevent millions of poor Indians from enjoying the privileges of such great infrastructure This is the natural way of things he noted for if we do not keep them out they will override our ability to maintain such infrastructure Bhandari s bald statements sparked social media pandemonium and the economist is now at pains to assert he is far from uncritical of such plans I am describing the unfeasibility and undesirability of a thoughtless smart city vision he says When you invest so much without thinking about services and low cost housing and governance then you will end up creating enclaves that keep out the poor In their present form Bhandari adds smart cities are essentially rechristened Special Economic Zones SEZs neo liberal business friendly zones exempt from taxes duties and stringent labour laws They are also subject to what urban scholars say is a form of privatised governance due to a constitutional amendment that renders local governments powerless All of which according to Bhandari makes them inherently and unreservedly exclusionary The current template for smart cities only mandates infrastructure creation What we need is democracy and rule of law not governance by fiat that holds in SEZs and smart cities created in China Last July Narendra Modi s newly elected government allocated 70 6 billion rupees 762m to its 100 Smart Cities plan This year s allocation shrank to 1 4bn rupees yet smart cities remain a key justification for a controversial land acquisition ordinance the government is aiming to enact which does away with mandatory consent and social safeguards for those whose lands are forcibly acquired Over the past few months smart city themed conferences have been taking place every week in Delhi and Mumbai culminating in the urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu s announcement that the scheme would be rolled out imminently Yet no one is quite sure of what these cities might look like or who they re for Naidu with not a little wistfulness said that smart cities would have clean water assured power supply efficient public transport and would not be polluted or congested A concept note from his ministry last revised in December explains that they will have smart intelligent physical social institutional and economic infrastructure guaranteeing their residents employment opportunities and a very high quality of life comparable with any developed European city This repeated emphasis on high end infrastructure and superlative quality of life hints at a discomfiting answer to the second question who the intended inhabitants of smart cities are likely to be The current template might have given us Palava City This self described smart city across 3 000 acres of Mumbai s northeastern exurbs is

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/09/video-report-smart-cities-or-cleverly-disguised-corporate-colonies/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Human impact has pushed Earth into the Anthropocene, scientists say – Ecologise
    such time divisions The Guardian There is now compelling evidence to show that humanity s impact on the Earth s atmosphere oceans and wildlife has pushed the world into a new geological epoch according to a group of scientists The question of whether humans combined environmental impact has tipped the planet into an Anthropocene ending the current Holocene which began around 12 000 years ago will be put to the geological body that formally approves such time divisions later this year The new study provides one of the strongest cases yet that from the amount of concrete mankind uses in building to the amount of plastic rubbish dumped in the oceans Earth has entered a new geological epoch We could be looking here at a stepchange from one world to another that justifies being called an epoch said Dr Colin Waters principal geologist at the British Geological Survey and an author on the study published in Science on Thursday What this paper does is to say the changes are as big as those that happened at the end of the last ice age This is a big deal He said that the scale and rate of change on measures such as CO2 and methane concentrations in the atmosphere were much larger and faster than the changes that defined the start of the holocene Humans have introduced entirely novel changes geologically speaking such as the roughly 300m metric tonnes of plastic produced annually Concrete has become so prevalent in construction that more than half of all the concrete ever used was produced in the past 20 years Wildlife meanwhile is being pushed into an ever smaller area of the Earth with just 25 of ice free land considered wild now compared to 50 three centuries ago As a result rates of extinction of species are far above long term averages But the study says perhaps the clearest fingerprint humans have left in geological terms is the presence of isotopes from nuclear weapons testing that took place in the 1950s and 60s Potentially the most widespread and globally synchronous Anthropogenic signal is the fallout from nuclear weapons testing the paper says It s probably a good candidate for a single line of evidence to justify a new epoch we can recognise it in glacial ice so if an ice core was taken from Greenland we could say that s where it the start of the Anthropocene was defined Waters said The study says that accelerating technological change and a growth in population and consumption have driven the move into the Anthropocene which advocates of the concept suggest started around the middle of the 20th century We are becoming a major geological force and that s something that really has happened since we had that technological advance after the second world war Before that it was horse and cart transporting stuff around the planet it was low key nothing was happening particularly dramatically said Waters He added that the study should not be

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/08/human-impact-has-pushed-earth-into-the-anthropocene-scientists-say/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Video: Al Gore makes the case for optimism on Climate Change – Ecologise
    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 Video Al Gore makes the case for optimism on Climate Change Written by Contributor Mar 7 2016 0 Comments Al Gore former US Vice President and Founder The Climate Reality Project spoke at the recently concluded 2016 TED Technology Entertainment and Design conference in Vancouver British Columbia According to him the future of our planet looks very different today than it did when he last spoke on the TED stage nearly a decade ago Climate Reality Project Hope isn t always easy With global temperature records being broken month after month rising seas off coastal cities like Miami causing sunny day flooding droughts and wildfires destroying thousands of acres of forests and more severe hurricanes and typhoons many wonder how we ll solve this planetary crisis in our lifetimes Here are a few reasons why we all should still have hope o In 2000 analysts projected the world would have 30 gigawatts of wind energy capacity installed by 2010 In 2015 the world passed this mark by 14 5 times o Experts also projected in 2002 that the world would install 1 gigawatt of solar power per year by 2010 Last year we beat that figure by 58 times over And this year we are on track to exceed that prediction by 68 times over o The cost of solar energy has decreased 10 percent each year for the past 30 years and we re getting closer to grid parity in more and more markets around the world which means solar power will soon cost less than electricity from fossil fuels in more and more places around the world Then there s the Paris Agreement In December 195 nations

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/07/video-al-gore-makes-the-case-for-optimism-on-climate-change/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Towards Energy Democracy: A Vision Statement – Ecologise
    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 Towards Energy Democracy A Vision Statement Written by Contributor Mar 6 2016 0 Comments Unlimited growth and consumerist culture is incompatible with a finite world We call for an urgent paradigm shift from the currently dominant model of consumption led development to creating frameworks of human and ecological well being This transition should be defined by the principles of sustainability equity and justice Adopted at the Bijli Vikalp Sangam Bodh Gaya Vikalp Sangam A large group of civil society organizations including experts energy practitioners think tanks peoples movements academics and entrepreneurs came together as part of Bijli Vikalp Sangam in Bodh Gaya between 4th to 6th March 2016 We reflected upon and explored sustainable equitable practices on energy with a focus on electricity This was aimed at building a continuing critical dialogue with the state and other stakeholders in order to build a just and equitable energy future There are several serious social environmental technical and economic issues with implications for future generations if the business as usual approach continues We acknowledge that future energy scenarios must factor in realities such as limited natural resources accelerated environmental degradation growing populations climate change and high energy poverty Roughly two thirds of India s population do not enjoy energy security About a quarter of India s population has no access to any source of electricity despite a massive increase of more than 200 times in power generation capacity since Independence Many of those with access suffer from erratic supply The fact that Delhi s per capita electricity consumption is more than 10 times that of Bihar is representative of the inequity in consumption in the country Our continuing reliance on large centralized power generation through conventional sources will continue to exacerbate climate change impacts displacement biodiversity loss water stress destruction of forests and pollution of air land water and sea This commodification of our commons will further compromise our energy security and undermine the universal right to energy including electricity There is increasing evidence that nuclear power is neither clean affordable nor safe coal power is not only dirty but also adds greatly to our carbon footprint and large hydro is massively destructive Therefore none of these can be long term solutions for our country The government in its recent policies has announced fairly ambitious targets for renewable energy although much of it is centralized and corporate controlled However there are worrying indications of significantly expanding coal nuclear and large hydro While the grid is a reality of present day electricity access a far more democratic and decentralized governance of the grid becomes an imperative Unlimited growth and consumerist culture is incompatible with a finite world We call for an urgent paradigm shift from the

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/06/towards-energy-democracy-a-vision-statement/ (2016-05-02)
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  • ‘Journey to the center of the Earth’: Private capital is running away from trouble – Ecologise
    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 Icecap Asset Management Journey to the center of the Earth Private capital is running away from trouble Written by Contributor Mar 6 2016 0 Comments Keith Dicker writes Why is the world in an economic funk The answer is quite simple Private Capital does not like the actions by central banks and governments and is withdrawing their money from the global economy And it is heading towards the center of the earth Yes it really is as simple as that Keith Dicker IceCap Asset Management Question Why is the world in an economic funk Answer Private Capital is running away from trouble Chart 2 shows two variables The BLUE line shows the amount of quantitative easing or money printing in the USA Up until September 2008 the amount of money made available to the economy increased in a gradual manner Thereafter it became a gong show The RED line shows the Velocity of Money Velocity of money is just another way to measure how well the economy is doing And while they are loathe to admit it it is one of THE most important data points monitored by central banks every minute of the day Velocity of money measures how fast money swishes around an economy The faster it swishes around the faster the economy is growing Naturally the opposite is also true and this is what is happening today Why is the world in an economic funk is the wrong question Instead the correct question to ask is why is the velocity of money declining And more importantly Why despite the printing of trillions of Dollars Yen Sterling and Euros is the Velocity of Money declining The answer of course is quite simple Private Capital does not like the actions by central banks and governments and is therefore withdrawing their money from the global economy And it is heading towards the center of the earth Yes it really is as simple as that Yet the irony is that our central banks and governments have no clue as to the risks they have created They honestly believe their efforts to stimulate the economy is groovy But since their stimulus isn t working the answer is to do more of the same Maybe we should make them all memorize Einstein s quote Insanity doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results Yes the insanity continues And judging by recent actions it will continue for a while

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/06/journey-to-the-center-of-the-earth-private-capital-is-running-away-from-trouble/ (2016-05-02)
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  • A.R. Vasavi: The bitter reality behind the ‘pro-farmer’ budget – Ecologise
    to be made good through a new levy are questionable A R Vasavi Live Mint The Bharatiya Janata Party BJP has discovered the rural and agricultural sector and announced what it claims is a pro village pro poor pro farmer budget Yes the bounty seems generous and the magic wand of financial allocation is meant to address the income deficits of farmers of our nation While the enhancement for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme MGNREGS is to be appreciated the other allocations to be made good through a new levy the Krishi Kalyan Cess on services are questionable As for target specific cesses what has the cess for education delivered to the education system How does the focus on enhancing irrigation address the vast stretches where non rainfall based irrigation is a near impossibility With the BJP s support for big irrigation projects including interlinking rivers the large allocation may actually be detrimental to the long term and viable irrigation and cultivation possibilities in many regions Since a majority of agriculturists up to 86 are small and marginal cultivators who cultivate less than two hectares the budget provides no specific allocation to cater to their needs There are no clear indications as to how the interest subvention will translate on the ground and if the average farmer can expect to be debt free with the largesse that the budget promises The proposed e platform for farmers also seems to draw on the idea of information technology as a resolver of problems and it does not specify how the myriad problems of the average and non commercial cultivator will be addressed through the wonders of information technology The budget s focus on infrastructure may not translate into actual benefits for the marginalized majority and retaining the fertilizer subsidies only reinforces the cash flow towards the corporate sector Confining drought mitigation to the recharging of groundwater is myopic and overlooks the intense distress in vast terrains of the country where successive droughts have produced innumerable ecological refugees Financial allocation is required to restore these regions and their cultivation systems and to enable migrants to return to their home base The crop loss insurance with assertions of nominal premium and maximum compensation is not an assurance for the vast majority for whom the labyrinthine bureaucracy provides no succour The budget represents the lack of an alternative imagination for rural India Instead of primarily infrastructure the requirement is of new institutions that can bring together the minuscule plots the possibility of supporting cooperative production and facilitating new producer organizations that can bypass middlemen in the marketing of produce The need is for new mechanisms and institutions that can scaffold local seed production The need is for a new agricultural extension service that can promote sustainable and localized agriculture These are all issues that need more financial allocations Despite the rhetoric of enabling the poor farmer the language of the budget is that of business increasing incomes credit interest infrastructure interest subvention

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/05/a-r-vasavi-the-bitter-reality-behind-the-pro-farmer-budget/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Nationalists take note – its nature that draws borders, not nation-states – Ecologise
    we must remind ourselves that our lives culture and understanding of land are ecologically grounded An ecological perspective interrogates dominant views of nationalism and allows us to approach the question with greater nuance and sensitivity A couple of years ago I went to the Sunderbans the vast deltaic ecosystem straddling eastern India and Bangladesh to talk to people there about how sea level rise was affecting their lives An encroaching sea had been nibbling away at those islands for years and continues to do so causing tens of thousands to abandon their homes and fields and move further inland or move out We stayed one night at the edge of Sagar island all along that stretch of coast were abandoned homes and saline lands broken trunks of dead coconut trees jutting into the sky creating a landscape one can only describe as surreal This erosion of our lands is happening not just in West Bengal but in many parts across India s vast coastline It s happening along parts of the Orissa and Tamil Nadu coasts on the other side of the Indian landmass it was reported some years ago that the advancing sea was forcing people to move out from Gujarat s Valsad and Bharuch districts The poorest are the most directly affected said a scientist who studied this manifestation of global warming They can t afford to shift but they can t stay here either That sea level rise is going to increase and accelerate over the next few years and decades is an accepted scientific fact the only point of debate is how fast this will happen It will happen to a greater degree because the great ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica will melt at an accelerating rate a trend that may have already begun Most timeframes of this process tend to stop at the end of this century but the nature of ice sheet melting is such that once it starts it carries on for thousands of years The greatest threat to our lands may come from just beyond our shores not from what we think but from the sea If any of us have fixed geographical notions of the nation state the rise and fall of sea levels everywhere ought to give us pause Not just in warnings about the near future but also lessons from the past As the Earth went into and out of warm interglacials such as the present one water got frozen in the ice sheets at the peak of ice ages or melted into the sea during the interglacials altering the levels of ocean waters by dozens of metres and re creating land borders in the process Not just here but also elsewhere perhaps the most striking example is the Channel that now divides England and Europe At one time England and France were contiguous landmass Over anything beyond the short term our borders are drawn not by us but by the oceans There are at least two other

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/03/04/the-idea-of-india-makes-little-room-for-its-ecology/ (2016-05-02)
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