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  • Syria’s Climate-Fueled Conflict, In One Stunning Comic Strip – Ecologise
    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

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2015/09/15/syrias-climate-fueled-conflict-in-one-stunning-comic-strip/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Climate Change – Selected Excerpts – Ecologise
    The Christian tradition has never recognized the right to private property as absolute or inviolable and has stressed the social purpose of all forms of private property Saint John Paul II forcefully reaffirmed this teaching stating that God gave the earth to the whole human race for the sustenance of all its members without excluding or favouring anyone Deriving joy through contemplation of nature The Lord was able to invite others to be attentive to the beauty that there is in the world because he himself was in constant touch with nature lending it an attention full of fondness and wonder As he made his way throughout the land he often stopped to contemplate the beauty sown by his Father and invited his disciples to perceive a divine message in things Lift up your eyes and see how the fields are already white for harvest Power and its deployment Yet it must also be recognized that nuclear energy biotechnology information technology knowledge of our DNA and many other abilities which we have acquired have given us tremendous power More precisely they have given those with the knowledge and especially the economic resources to use them an impressive dominance over the whole of humanity and the entire world Never has humanity had such power over itself yet nothing ensures that it will be used wisely particularly when we consider how it is currently being used We need but think of the nuclear bombs dropped in the middle of the twentieth century or the array of technology which Nazism Communism and other totalitarian regimes have employed to kill millions of people to say nothing of the increasingly deadly arsenal of weapons available for modern warfare In whose hands does all this power lie or will it eventually end up It is extremely risky for a small part of humanity to have it Power and progress There is a tendency to believe that every increase in power means an increase of progress itself an advance in security usefulness welfare and vigour an assimilation of new values into the stream of culture as if reality goodness and truth automatically flow from technological and economic power as such The fact is that contemporary man has not been trained to use power well because our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility values and conscience The technocratic paradigm The basic problem goes even deeper it is the way that humanity has taken up technology and its development according to an undifferentiated and one dimensional paradigm This paradigm exalts the concept of a subject who using logical and rational procedures progressively approaches and gains control over an external object This subject makes every effort to establish the scientific and experimental method which in itself is already a technique of possession mastery and transformation It is as if the subject were to find itself in the presence of something formless completely open to manipulation Unlimited growth resource depletion and peak oil Earlier it was a matter of receiving what nature itself allowed as if from its own hand Now by contrast we are the ones to lay our hands on things attempting to extract everything possible from them while frequently ignoring or forgetting the reality in front of us Human beings and material objects no longer extend a friendly hand to one another the relationship has become confrontational This has made it easy to accept the idea of infinite or unlimited growth which proves so attractive to economists financiers and experts in technology It is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth s goods and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry beyond every limit It is the false notion that an infinite quantity of energy and resources are available that it is possible to renew them quickly and that the negative effects of the exploitation of the natural order can be easily absorbed The fallacy of neutrality of technology We have to accept that technological products are not neutral for they create a framework which ends up conditioning lifestyles and shaping social possibilities along the lines dictated by the interests of certain powerful groups Decisions which may seem purely instrumental are in reality decisions about the kind of society we want to build Technology as a dominant force over society The idea of promoting a different cultural paradigm and employing technology as a mere instrument is nowadays inconceivable The technological paradigm has become so dominant that it would be difficult to do without its resources and even more difficult to utilize them without being dominated by their internal logic It has become countercultural to choose a lifestyle whose goals are even partly independent of technology of its costs and its power to globalize and make us all the same Technology tends to absorb everything into its ironclad logic and those who are surrounded with technology know full well that it moves forward in the final analysis neither for profit nor for the well being of the human race that in the most radical sense of the term power is its motive a lordship over all The deepest roots of present failure We fail to see the deepest roots of our present failures which have to do with the direction goals meaning and social implications of technological and economic growth Specialisation The specialization which belongs to technology makes it difficult to see the larger picture The fragmentation of knowledge proves helpful for concrete applications and yet it often leads to a loss of appreciation for the whole for the relationships between things and for the broader horizon which then becomes irrelevant This very fact makes it hard to find adequate ways of solving the more complex problems of today s world particularly those regarding the environment and the poor these problems cannot be dealt with from a single perspective or from a single set of interests Partial responses Ecological culture cannot be reduced to a series of urgent and partial responses to the immediate problems of pollution environmental decay and the depletion of natural resources There needs to be a distinctive way of looking at things a way of thinking policies an educational programme a lifestyle and a spirituality which together generate resistance to the assault of the technocratic paradigm Otherwise even the best ecological initiatives can find themselves caught up in the same globalized logic To seek only a technical remedy to each environmental problem which comes up is to separate what is in reality interconnected and to mask the true and deepest problems of the global system Call for a revolution All of this shows the urgent need for us to move forward in a bold cultural revolution Science and technology are not neutral from the beginning to the end of a process various intentions and possibilities are in play and can take on distinct shapes Nobody is suggesting a return to the Stone Age but we do need to slow down and look at reality in a different way to appropriate the positive and sustainable progress which has been made but also to recover the values and the great goals swept away by our unrestrained delusions of grandeur Choosing technology over reality Modern anthropocentrism has paradoxically ended up prizing technical thought over reality since the technological mind sees nature as an insensate order as a cold body of facts as a mere given as an object of utility as raw material to be hammered into useful shape it views the cosmos similarly as a mere space into which objects can be thrown with complete indifference The intrinsic dignity of the world is thus compromised When human beings fail to find their true place in this world they misunderstand themselves and end up acting against themselves Consequences of separation from reality Once the human being declares independence from reality and behaves with absolute dominion the very foundations of our life begin to crumble for instead of carrying out his role as a cooperator with God in the work of creation man sets himself up in place of God and thus ends up provoking a rebellion on the part of nature Restoring inter personal relationships If the present ecological crisis is one small sign of the ethical cultural and spiritual crisis of modernity we cannot presume to heal our relationship with nature and the environment without healing all fundamental human relationships Abortion and protection of nature Since everything is interrelated concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings however troublesome or inconvenient they may be if we fail to protect a human embryo even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of the new life is lost then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away Practical relativism When human beings place themselves at the centre they give absolute priority to immediate convenience and all else becomes relative Hence we should not be surprised to find in conjunction with the omnipresent technocratic paradigm and the cult of unlimited human power the rise of a relativism which sees everything as irrelevant unless it serves one s own immediate interests Use and throw logic In the absence of objective truths or sound principles other than the satisfaction of our own desires and immediate needs what limits can be placed on human trafficking organized crime the drug trade commerce in blood diamonds and the fur of endangered species Is it not the same relativistic logic which justifies buying the organs of the poor for resale or use in experimentation or eliminating children because they are not what their parents wanted This same use and throw away logic generates so much waste because of the disordered desire to consume more than what is really necessary An economy that favours small businesses it is imperative to promote an economy which favours productive diversity and business creativity For example there is a great variety of small scale food production systems which feed the greater part of the world s peoples using a modest amount of land and producing less waste be it in small agricultural parcels in orchards and gardens hunting and wild harvesting or local fishing Economies of scale especially in the agricultural sector end up forcing smallholders to sell their land or to abandon their traditional crops Their attempts to move to other more diversified means of production prove fruitless because of the difficulty of linkage with regional and global markets or because the infrastructure for sales and transport is geared to larger businesses Civil authorities have the right and duty to adopt clear and firm measures in support of small producers and differentiated production To ensure economic freedom from which all can effectively benefit restraints occasionally have to be imposed on those possessing greater resources and financial power Integral ecology When we speak of the environment what we really mean is a relationship existing between nature and the society which lives in it Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live We are part of nature included in it and thus in constant interaction with it Recognizing the reasons why a given area is polluted requires a study of the workings of society its economy its behaviour patterns and the ways it grasps reality Given the scale of change it is no longer possible to find a specific discrete answer for each part of the problem It is essential to seek comprehensive solutions which consider the interactions within natural systems themselves and with social systems We are faced not with two separate crises one environmental and the other social but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty restoring dignity to the excluded and at the same time protecting nature How ecosystems interact Each organism as a creature of God is good and admirable in itself the same is true of the harmonious ensemble of organisms existing in a defined space and functioning as a system Although we are often not aware of it we depend on these larger systems for our own existence We need only recall how ecosystems interact in dispersing carbon dioxide purifying water controlling illnesses and epidemics forming soil breaking down waste and in many other ways which we overlook or simply do not know about Once they become conscious of this many people realize that we live and act on the basis of a reality which has previously been given to us which precedes our existence and our abilities Homogenisation of cultures A consumerist vision of human beings encouraged by the mechanisms of today s globalized economy has a levelling effect on cultures diminishing the immense variety which is the heritage of all humanity There is a need to respect the rights of peoples and cultures and to appreciate that the development of a social group presupposes an historical process which takes place within a cultural context and demands the constant and active involvement of local people from within their proper culture Nor can the notion of the quality of life be imposed from without for quality of life must be understood within the world of symbols and customs proper to each human group Death of a culture Many intensive forms of environmental exploitation and degradation not only exhaust the resources which provide local communities with their livelihood but also undo the social structures which for a long time shaped cultural identity and their sense of the meaning of life and community The disappearance of a culture can be just as serious or even more serious than the disappearance of a species of plant or animal The imposition of a dominant lifestyle linked to a single form of production can be just as harmful as the altering of ecosystems How native people view land For indigenous communities land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values When they remain on their land they themselves care for it best Nevertheless in various parts of the world pressure is being put on them to abandon their homelands to make room for agricultural or mining projects which are undertaken without regard for the degradation of nature and culture Lack of housing Lack of housing is a grave problem in many parts of the world both in rural areas and in large cities since state budgets usually cover only a small portion of the demand Not only the poor but many other members of society as well find it difficult to own a home Having a home has much to do with a sense of personal dignity and the growth of families This is a major issue for human ecology Slum relocation When the poor live in unsanitary slums or in dangerous tenements in cases where it is necessary to relocate them in order not to heap suffering upon suffering adequate information needs to be given beforehand with choices of decent housing offered and the people directly involved must be part of the process Improved public transportation instead of cars The quality of life in cities has much to do with systems of transport which are often a source of much suffering for those who use them Many cars used by one or more people circulate in cities causing traffic congestion raising the level of pollution and consuming enormous quantities of non renewable energy This makes it necessary to build more roads and parking areas which spoil the urban landscape Many specialists agree on the need to give priority to public transportation Yet some measures needed will not prove easily acceptable to society unless substantial improvements are made in the transport systems themselves which in many cities force people to put up with undignified conditions due to crowding inconvenience infrequent service and lack of safety Our physical body as an allegory of nature The acceptance of our bodies as God s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns often subtly into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation Learning to accept our body to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning is an essential element of any genuine human ecology Intergenerational justice What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us to children who are now growing up This question not only concerns the environment in isolation the issue cannot be approached piecemeal When we ask ourselves what kind of world we want to leave behind we think in the first place of its general direction its meaning and its values Unless we struggle with these deeper issues I do not believe that our concern for ecology will produce significant results But if these issues are courageously faced we are led inexorably to ask other pointed questions What is the purpose of our life in this world Why are we here What is the goal of our work and all our efforts What need does the earth have of us It is no longer enough then simply to state that we should be concerned for future generations We need to see that what is at stake is our own dignity Irresponsible to view doomsday predictions with disdain Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain We may well be leaving to coming generations debris desolation and filth The pace of consumption waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2015/06/20/pope-francis-encyclical-on-climate-change-selected-excerpts/ (2016-05-02)
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  • News update – Ecologise
    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 News update Written by Ecologise Mar 31 2015 0 Comments Could India s Coal Plans Derail the Global Climate Tobias Engelmeier The Energy Collective If India were to grow its electricity system based on coal as China has done would it derail the global climate According to our calculations under a coal heavy scenario India would need to increase is coal fired power generation capacity from the 156 GW in early 2015 to 677 GW in 2035 What would be the CO2 implications of such a strategy Global water crisis causing failed harvests hunger war and terrorism Nafeez Ahmed The Ecologist The world is already experiencing water scarcity driven by over use poor land management and climate change It s one of the causes of wars and terrorism in the Middle East and beyond and if we fail to respond to the warnings before us major food and power shortages will soon afflict large parts of the globe fuelling hunger insecurity and conflict The Global Water Crisis and Coal Fired Power Plants Iris Cheng Greenpeace Despite the global water crisis being identified as the top risk to people across the globe very few are taking a stand to protect dwindling water resources from the huge planned global growth of coal fired power stations The fact is that the planned coal expansion will contribute to water crises as the energy sector usually wins against us when it comes to who gets access to this precious resource The Case for a Climate Goal Other Than Two Degrees Celsius Diane Toomey Yale Environment 360 Scientists and climate negotiators have largely agreed that limiting global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius is an important goal But David Victor political scientist and lead author with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC disagrees arguing that the benchmark is too simplistic and should be abandoned in favor of other indicators He maintains that not only is the 2 degree goal now unattainable the focus on it has almost unwittingly played into

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2015/03/31/news-update-45/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Displacement & Conflict – Page 2 – Ecologise
    January 2014 2 December 2013 3 November 2013 2 October 2013 8 Special Features Displacement Conflict Four Reports Global Risks Water Food Policy Natural Capital Written by Ecologise Mar 29 2015 0 Comments Environmental Risks Dominate the WEF Global Risks Report 2015 Edge Environment Surveyed responses ranked the risks of Water Crises Failure of Climate Change Adaptation and Extreme Weather Events among the topmost likely and impactful global risks in the World Economic Forum s Global Risks Report 2015 These potential risks were considered of greater importance than other Continue Reading News update Written by Ecologise Mar 6 2015 0 Comments Lester Brown Vast dust bowls threaten tens of millions with hunger The Guardian UK Vast tracts of Africa and of China are turning into dust bowls on a scale that dwarfs the one that devastated the US in the 1930s one of the world s pre eminent environmental thinkers has warned Over 50 years the writer Lester Continue Reading News update Written by Ecologise Feb 28 2015 0 Comments India s 100 GW Solar Target Could Create 1 Million Jobs by 2022 The Energy Collective Delhi is abuzz as the first renewable energy financing summit organized by the Indian government RE Invest 2015 wrapped up with commitments totaling a whopping 266 GW of renewable energy in the next 5 years For context of the magnitude of these Continue Reading News update Written by Ecologise Feb 25 2015 0 Comments What is Saudi Arabia not telling us about its oil future Kurt Cobb Resource Insights What if the Saudis are acting now to undermine U S and Canadian oil production because they realize that Saudi production will soon reach a peak What if the Saudis fear that energy efficiency fuel substitution say toward natural gas and Continue Reading News update Written by Ecologise Feb 4 2015 0 Comments Commodities crash Bad news for the world economy but is anyone listening Kurt Cobb Reading the general run of financial headlines might lead one to believe that price declines in those commodities which are highly sensitive to economic conditions such as iron ore copper oil natural gas coal and lumber are good on their face Food Continue Reading Film Mad Max Fury Road Written by Ecologise Jan 2 2015 0 Comments It s the oil stupid Mad Max the 1970 Australian dystopian movie which went on to be part of a hit trilogy will soon be back with a fourth edition Going by the trailer it promises a lot more explosions high speed crashes and other such violent thrills the franchise is known for The film was Continue Reading Video Cocaine Crude Mexican Cartels Discover Oil Written by Contributor Dec 2 2014 0 Comments Vice News Mexico s notoriously violent drug cartels are diversifying Besides trafficking narcotics extorting businesses and brutally murdering their rivals cartels are now at work exploiting their country s precious number one export oil Every day as many as 10 000 barrels of crude oil are stolen from

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/category/conflict/page/2/ (2016-05-02)
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  • The sixth mass extinction and chemicals in the environment – Ecologise
    widespread use on agricultural crops of the systemic neonicotinoid insecticides and the herbicide glyphosate both of which cause immune suppression make species vulnerable to emerging infectious pathogens driving large scale wildlife extinctions including essential pollinators Providing evidence to show how human disease patterns correlate remarkably well with the rate of glyphosate usage on corn soy and wheat crops which has increased due to Roundup Ready crops Mason goes on to present more sources to show how our over reliance on chemicals in agriculture is causing irreparable harm to all beings on this planet Most of these chemicals are known to cause illness and they have likely been causing illnesses for many years But until recently the herbicides have never been sprayed directly on food crops and never in this massive quantity The depopulation agenda Mason discusses how agriculture and genetically modified organisms GMOs fit into a wider agenda for depopulating the planet She notes that on the initiative of Gates in May 2009 some of the richest people in the US met at the home of Nurse a British Nobel prize winning biochemist and President 2003 10 of Rockefeller University in Manhattan to discuss ways of tackling a disastrous environmental social and industrial threat of overpopulation The meeting was hosted by David Rockefeller Jr These same individuals have met several times since to develop a strategy in which population growth would be tackled The Rockefeller Foundation RF was involved in extensive financing of eugenics research by the National Socialists Nazis during and after World War and was in league with some of the US s most respected scientists from such prestigious universities as Stanford Yale Harvard and Princeton The explicit aim of the eugenics lobby funded by wealthy élite families such as Rockefeller Carnegie Harriman and others since the 1920s has embodied what they termed negative eugenics the systematic killing off of undesired bloodlines RF funded the earliest research on GMOs which Mason regards as part of the depopulation agenda of course apart from the adverse health impacts of GMOs Monsanto owns the epicyte gene which causes sterility in males The RF funded the earliest research on GMOs in the 1940s and effectively founded the science of molecular biology Mason cites Steven Druker to show the fraud behind GMOs and how governments and leading scientific institutions have systematically misrepresented the facts about GMOs and the scientific research that casts doubt on their safety Druker has shown that GMOs can have severe health impacts which have been covered up The Royal Society is the preeminent scientific body within the UK that advises the government It has misrepresented the facts about GMOs and has engaged in various highly dubious and deceptive tactics to promote the technology Druker wrote an open letter to RS as it has an obligation to the British public to provide a public response and put the record straight on GMOs Although Sir Paul Nurse s presidency of Rockefeller University terminated in 2010 after he assumed the Royal Society presidency Mason notes that Nurse is said to have maintained a laboratory on the Rockefeller campus and has an ongoing relationship with the university She asks is that why Sir Paul was unable or unwilling even to discuss GMOs with Steven Druker Was he sent to London by the Rockefeller Foundation to support the UK Government in their attempt to bring in GM crops The UK Government and the GM industry have after all been shown to be working together to promote GM crops and foods undermine consumer choice and ignore environmental harm Mason then goes on to discuss the impact of glyphosate residues herbicide tolerant GM crops are designed to work with glyphosate which are found in the organs of animals human urine and human breast milk as well as in the air and rivers She documents its widespread use and contamination of soil and water and notes that the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer s assessment of glyphosate being a 2A carcinogen probably carcinogenic in humans is unwelcome news for the agrochemical industry She also notes that Roundup usage has led to a depletion of biodiversity and that loss of biodiversity is also correlated with neonicotinoids However despite the evidence the blatant disregard concerning the use of these substances by regulatory agencies around the world is apparent To provide some insight into the impact on health of the chemical intensive model of agriculture Mason shows that in the US increases in Alzheimer s disease obesity breast cancer oesophageal cancer congenital anomalies and a growing burden of disability particularly from mental disorders are all acknowledged She claims that plans are under way to depopulate the planet s seven billion plus people to a more manageable level of between 500 2000 million by a combination of means including the poisoning and contamination of the planet s food and water supplies via chemical intensive industrialised agriculture Mason also notes that health damaging GMOs are being made available to the masses under the guise of feeding the poor while elites are more prone to eat organic food We may be gone before planned depopulation takes hold Although Mason cites evidence to show that a section of the US elite has a depopulation agenda given the amount of poisons being pumped into the environment and into humans the thrust of her argument is that we could all be extinct before this comes to fruition both rich and poor alike In concluding she states that the global pesticides industry has been allowed to dominate the regulatory agencies and have created chemicals of mass destruction that can no longer be controlled She has some faith in systems biology coming to the fore and being able to understand the complexity of the whole organism as a system rather than just studying its parts in a reductionist manner But Mason believes that ultimately the public must place pressure on governments and hold agribusiness to account However that in itself may not be enough It is

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/01/25/research-the-sixth-mass-extinction-and-chemicals-in-the-environment/ (2016-05-02)
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  • New book: Elemental India : The Natural World in Crisis – Ecologise
    development organic farming clean cookstoves freshwater endangered species and population and family planning Subramanian is a US based freelance journalist who received a Fulbright Nehru Senior Research Fellowship and a grant from the Fund for Environmental Journalism to support reporting for her book In the following excerpt she describes the carcass dump in Bikaner Rajasthan once home to the White backed vultures and the longbilled vultures However the widespread use Diclofenac a common anti inflammatory drug administered to livestock has resulted in their near extinction The drug is fatal to vultures if they eat from the carcass of an animal that has been treated with it The vultures are gone but the livestock carcasses they once consumed by the millions remain Many are collected and deposited at carcass dumps like the one called Jorbeer on the outskirts of Bikaner where dogs run wild amid an endless supply of food As I travelled around India I kept hearing about aggressive dogs Soon after I arrived in Bikaner someone told me about two local girls eight or nine years old who were attacked by dogs at night while they were sleeping They were such easy prey They were hurt so badly but not killed the man told me The police came and took the dogs away but I was so astonished how can there be dogs like this Other dog attack victims seventeen million in India each year mostly children do not survive A four year old boy named Manjunath in the city of Bengaluru didn t make it Nor did three year old Arshpreet Kaur who was bitten in her home in New Delhi when a stray dog came through her front door it bit both her and her grandfather First Arshpreet got a headache then a fever She slipped into a coma where she remained for nine long years before she finally died A journalist reported that dogs routinely enter the Patna Medical College in Bihar where one had to be threatened extensively with a baton when it was found with the skull of a stillborn baby locked in its jaws in the gynaecology department Munir had warned me of the dogs and they were there when I arrived at Jorbeer and met Rameshwar and his wife Pandevi I ve been here for four years Rameshwar told me as we stood outside his family hut a hundred yards from a 5 acre pile of carcasses He was wearing a thin button down shirt that had a neat tear in the back His hair was thick as dark as his onyx eyes Lanky he looked no older than thirty I live here with my wife and four children he began These are my four goats which we keep for milking Every day from the city a tractor comes with thirty to thirty five carcasses His gaze lifted up as something captured his attention behind me Heyyahh he yelled his soft voice suddenly rising as he shooed goats from the open doorway of his hut They scurried away but remained close I asked him about the dogs I ve seen the dogs coming each day more and more he told me During the day they are very familiar with us but at night they are much more aggressive Then we don t go outside without a stick and I have to keep them away from the goats He motioned to an enclosure made of thorny brush where he put the goats at night The sun blazed on us and the dusty desert ground littered with a goat hoof a stray tail a single shoe and the plastic bags that have become an integral part of the Indian landscape We were upwind from the bodies so the air didn t smell fetid Bikaner is a city of a half million that sits in the Thar Desert of western Rajasthan Though it had been dry amid the cliffs of Ranthambore in the eastern part of the state here were no forests just expanses of sand dotted with occasional trees Once the government of India grazed a huge camel corps at the Jorbeer site until the military started adopting more modern means of transportation But dozens of camels long legged dun mountains still grazed on the surrounding lands blending in with the tawny hues of the sand dunes upon which grew gum acacias and khejari trees Sodom s apple and shrubby khimps Gazelles chinkara desert foxes and porcupines still roamed the area But since the camel corps had dispersed the carcass dump had appeared in its stead no one seems to know exactly when or how or by whose directive It was a convenient place for the city to bring its dead cows water buffalo goats and camels as well as some dogs I saw tossed from the back of a boxy yellow truck before it turned and sped away kicking up a cloud of dust Rameshwar lived at the dump as the on site skinner a profession mostly left to the Dalits When the carcasses arrived twice each day Rameshwar and his wife Pandevi removed the hides to be sold for leather and then piled up the bare remains for the animals and elements to dismantle They layered the skins with a desiccant in covered sheds at the side of their encampment which consisted of a thatched hut that tilted to one side and an outdoor earthen platform with a traditional clay chulha for a kitchen Their eldest son at thirteen worked as a labourer on the tractors that brought the deliveries Their daughter lived with them and their two younger sons were in and out of school sometimes staying with the grandparents in town Over our heads hundreds of birds kettled in slow circles in the sky Of the sixteen Old World vulture species nine are found in India Eight of those can be spotted in the Thar But overhead were other birds mostly Eurasian griffons bulky steppe eagles which could have travelled

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2016/01/24/new-book-elemental-india-the-natural-world-in-crisis/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Video: Aluna – A Warning from the Kogi of Sierra Madre – Ecologise
    world into a safe educational or entertainment or inspirational frame and into the society of the spectacle But this film is not a documentary Reversing Colonialism Who is the filmmaker here Ordinarily one would say it was Alan Ereira a former BBC producer who produced it But that s not what he says and that s not what the Kogi say either According to them the Kogi noticed the accelerating degradation of the planet and contacted the outside world to deliver a message that we must stop the destruction They did so first in the early 1990s with the BBC documentary From the Heart of the World after which they again withdrew from contact Obviously we didn t heed their message We must not have spoken it clearly enough they concluded and so they sought out Ereira again to make a sequel Fittingly this is not a masterly production in conventional terms Ereira appears to be in a little over his head guileless uncertain and humble These qualities are palpable throughout and contribute to one s confidence that the Kogi and their message have not been conveniently packaged for commercialization or ecospiritual objectification It is a raw and honest film The cynical observer practiced with the tools of post colonial analysis might think that the assertion that the Kogi have requested this film be made in order to convey their message is a mere cinematic trope or a way to preempt charges of exoticism Orientalism and cultural appropriation However that analysis is itself a kind of colonialism based as it is on the patronizing assumption that the Kogi must be the helpless pawns of the filmmaker It discounts the Kogi s own explicit assertion that they have called the filmmaker back in order to transmit an important message to little brother the industrialized world Dare we take the Kogi at face value Dare we hold them in full agency as authors not only of this film but of a message sent to us on their initiative To do so reverses the power relations implicit in even the most post colonially sensitive ethnography in which the distinction between the ethnographic subject and the ethnographer is usually preserved in some form and institutionalized when with all due disclaimers it appears in academic publications Anthropologists don t normally grant ethnographic populations agency as the originators of messages to academia The Kogi are not interested in being studied They have not allowed anthropologists to live among them They have not let their civilization become an object within ours They in fact have been studying us and with increasing alarm We have warned little brother they tell us and little brother has not listened The Gift of Humility In one telling scene the Kogi mama shaman Shibulata visits an astronomical observatory in England The astronomer is struck by the fact that Shibulata evinces no desire to learn from Western science no curiosity about the telescope He shows him photographs of galaxies invisible to the naked eye The mama is not impressed He is here to teach us not to learn from us Perhaps he recognizes the telescope as another manifestation of the same desire to conquer nature that has destroyed the forests and rivers and mangrove swamps near his home He also displays an uncanny power picking out from a large photograph the single star in it among multitudinous galaxies and other objects Naming it he says That star is not visible to our eyes In this film the colonial gaze is turned back on the colonizers sternly imploringly and with very great love The Kogi tell us You mutilate the world because you don t remember the Great Mother If you don t stop the world will die Please believe us they say You must stop doing this Do you think we say these words for the sake of talking We are speaking the truth Why hasn t little brother listened It has been over twenty years since the Kogi first spoke their message to the modern world I think perhaps we have not listened because we have not yet inhabited the humility that this film embodies We continue to try to somehow box contain and reduce the Kogi and their message so that it can rest comfortably in our existing Story of the World The Kogi themselves say that thought is the scaffolding of matter that without thought nothing could exist The official Aluna website describes the Kogi s view thusly We are not just plundering the world we are dumbing it down destroying both the physical structure and the thought underpinning existence The conceptual reduction of the Kogi and indigenous groups generally to academic subjects museum specimens New Age fetish objects exploitable labor or tourist spectacles is part of this dumbing down Thankfully the requisite humility to truly hear the Kogi is fast upon us born of what else humiliation As our dominant cultural mythology falls apart we face repeated humiliation in the failure of our cherished systems of technology politics law medicine education and more Only with increasingly strenuous and willful ignorance can we deny that the grand project of civilization has failed We see now that what we do to nature we do to ourselves that its conquest brings our death The utopian mirage of the technologist and the social engineer recedes ever further into the distance The breakdown of our categories and narratives the breakdown of our Story of the World gives us the gift of humility That is the only thing that can open us to receive the teachings of the Kogi and other indigenous people to truly receive them and not merely insert them into some comfortable silo called indigenous wisdom as if they were a museum piece or a spiritual acquisition I am not suggesting that we adopt part and parcel the entire Kogi cosmology We need not imitate their shamanic practices or learn to listen to bubbles in the water What we must do is

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2015/11/06/video-aluna-a-warning-from-the-kogi-of-sierra-madre/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Obituary: The Passing of Bhaskar Save: What The ‘Green Revolution’ Did for India – Ecologise
    took away much But the fertility of our land remained unaffected In our forests the trees like ber jujube jambul jambolan mango umbar wild fig mahua Madhuca indica imli tamarind yield so abundantly in their season that the branches sag under the weight of the fruit The annual yield per tree is commonly over a tonne year after year But the earth around remains whole and undiminished There is no gaping hole in the ground From where do the trees including those on rocky mountains get their water their NPK etc Though stationary Nature provides their needs right where they stand But scientists and technocrats like you with a blinkered meddling itch seem blind to this On what basis do you prescribe what a tree or plant requires and how much and when It is said where there is lack of knowledge ignorance masquerades as science Such is the science you have espoused leading our farmers astray down the pits of misery While it is no shame to be ignorant the awareness of such ignorance is the necessary first step to knowledge But the refusal to see it is self deluding arrogance This country has more than 150 agricultural universities But every year each churns out several hundred educated unemployables trained only in misguiding farmers and spreading ecological degradation In all the six years a student spends for an M Sc in agriculture the only goal is short term and narrowly perceived productivity For this the farmer is urged to do and buy a hundred things But not a thought is spared to what a farmer must never do so that the land remains unharmed for future generations and other creatures It is time our people and government wake up to the realisation that this industry driven way of farming promoted by our institutions is inherently criminal and suicidal Trying to increase Nature s productivity is the fundamental blunder that highlights the ignorance of agricultural scientists like you When a grain of rice can reproduce a thousand fold within months where arises the need to increase its productivity Numerous kinds of fruit trees too yield several hundred thousand kg of nourishment each in their lifetime That is provided the farmer does not pour poison and mess around the tree in his greed for quick profit The mindset of servitude to commerce and industry ignoring all else is the root of the problem But industry merely transforms raw materials sourced from Nature into commodities It cannot create anew Only Nature is truly creative and self regenerating through synergy with the fresh daily inflow of the sun s energy Modern technology wedded to commerce rather than wisdom or compassion has proved disastrous at all levels We have despoiled and polluted the soil water and air We have wiped out most of our forests and killed its creatures And relentlessly modern farmers spray deadly poisons on their fields These massacre Nature s jeev srushti the unpretentious but tireless little workers that maintain the ventilated quality of the soil and recycle all life ebbed biomass into nourishment for plants The noxious chemicals also inevitably poison the water and Nature s prani srushti which includes humans Can you deny that for more than forty centuries our ancestors farmed the organic way without any marked decline in soil fertility as in the past four or five decades Is it not a stark fact that the chemical intensive and irrigation intensive way of growing monoculture cash crops has been primarily responsible for spreading ecological devastation far and wide in this country Within the lifetime of a single generation This country boasted an immense diversity of crops adapted over millennia to local conditions and needs Our numerous tall indigenous varieties of grain provided more biomass shaded the soil from the sun and protected against its erosion under heavy monsoon rains But in the guise of increasing crop production exotic dwarf varieties were introduced and promoted through your efforts This led to more vigorous growth of weeds which were now able to compete successfully with the new stunted crops for sunlight The farmer had to spend more labour and money in weeding or spraying herbicides The straw growth with the dwarf grain crops fell drastically to one third of that with most native species In Punjab and Haryana even this was burned as it was said to harbour pathogens It was too toxic to feed farm cattle that were progressively displaced by tractors Consequently much less organic matter was locally available to recycle the fertility of the soil leading to an artificial need for externally procured inputs Inevitably the farmers resorted to use more chemicals and relentlessly soil degradation and erosion set in The exotic varieties grown with chemical fertiliser were more susceptible to pests and diseases leading to yet more poison insecticides etc being poured But the attacked insect species developed resistance and reproduced prolifically Their predators spiders frogs etc that fed on these insects and biologically controlled their population were exterminated So were many beneficial species like the earthworms and bees Agribusiness and technocrats recommended stronger doses and newer more toxic and more expensive chemicals But the problems of pests and diseases only worsened The spiral of ecological financial and human costs mounted With the use of synthetic fertilizer and increased cash cropping irrigation needs rose enormously In 1952 the Bhakra dam was built in Punjab a water rich state fed by 5 Himalayan rivers Several thousand more big and medium dams followed all over the country culminating in the massive Sardar Sarovar And now our government is toying with a grandiose Rs 560 000 crore proposal to divert and inter link the flow of our rivers This is sheer Tughlaqian megalomania without a thought for future generations India next to South America receives the highest rainfall in the world The annual average is almost 4 feet Where thick vegetation covers the ground and the soil is alive and porous at least half of this rain is

    Original URL path: http://www.ecologise.in/2015/10/25/obituary-the-passing-of-bhaskar-save-what-the-green-revolution-did-for-india/ (2016-05-02)
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