Livelihoods, Ecology and Climate Change, 11th August 2018

“Trees are the Earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven”

Rabindranath Tagore

In urban  planning, one deals with redevelopment of existing areas and new urbanisation around the periphery of the existing town or city.

In the former, planners using the principle of densification, aim to knock down existing structures, and create new structures which increase the population density in the area. This redevelopment is responsible for clearing existing trees and greenery. This reflects bad planning.

In new urbanisation, one can use satellite imaging for appropriate zoning of your constructions so as to mitigate loss of valuable fertile soil and green cover. This minimises the impact of emissions which contribute to global warming. Satellite imaging is a vital tool for urban planning.

Densification involves costs and benefits which have to evaluated sensibly.

Planning densification without sacrificing vital green cover should be the guiding light. Unfortunately this did not happen in the Sarojini Nagar and Kidwai Nagar redevelopments undertaken by NBCC (India) Limited.

Every redevelopment which involves densification at the cost of green cover in a congested city is a clear no, no…as it aims at one level to giving  scarce real estate in the city to outsiders which is incorrect as the driving force is profiteering from real estate sacrificing green cover.

In a city like Delhi, where air quality is poor, reduction in existing green cover impacts air quality for all citizens. The cost of this on public health is huge.

What more is there to add…Delhi has woken up to the wisdom of green cover late. The City is still not willing to regulate vehicles on the basis of carrying capacity of the cities roads.

(Guest Blog)

Rohini Nilekani dreams of making invisible water visible

The capricious nature of groundwater has resulted in so much exploitation and overuse that we now have a consistent crisis. Presenting a roadmap for groundwater governance and information transparency using technology.–Making-invisible-water-visible.html

This Man Is Helping Farmers Fight Both Dry Spells and Water Logging with a Unique RWH Technology (‘Bhungroos’)

Lake Authority not ready to take responsibility: CM

Can the Karnataka State Lake Development Authority (KSLDA) independently manage and restore 35,000 lakes in the state?

Lessons from Kolleru Lake

Kolleru is India’s largest fresh water lakes at over 90,000 hectares. It hosts upto 189 species of birds, which arrive in the thousands each year – some coming from as far as Siberia.

Unrestricted aquaculture turned the ecosystem into a prawn-only parade, forcing the water to turn saline. The prawns required manure to grow, and this seeped into the water – turning it into a nutrient soup that supported algae but smothered other life forms. Locals started buying their water in sachets as non-locals made a killing. Soon enough, even the prawns raised here became toxic.

It is a textbook case in environmental mismanagement.

India’s water crisis is hitting women hardest

Nearly 16.3 crores of India’s population of 130 crores lack access to clean water close to home – the most of any country in the world, according to a report this year by the Britain-based charity Water Aid.

On an average, a rural woman walks 5 kilometres to 20 kilometres (3-12 miles) a day just to fetch water, according to estimates by campaigners.

Apart from the physical strain of collecting water, women also suffer from the emotional stress of managing with little water, and maintaining menstrual hygiene, said Ranjana Kumari, Director of Advocacy, Centre for Social Research.

The burden is greater with the Clean India Mission, which aims to end open defecation in rural areas by installing toilets.

“But many of (the toilets) do not have running water, leaving the additional task of getting water for them to women,” she said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has acknowledged the severity of the water crisis and promised more resources to tackle it, including cleaning up the Ganges river, which makes up 40 percent of total replenishable groundwater resources.

There is little time: by 2030, water demand is projected to be double the supply, implying severe scarcity for hundreds of millions.

“Demand is increasing, access is getting more difficult, yet the infrastructure has not improved,” Kumari said.

“Women are bearing the brunt of it.” 

Lessons from an Agriculturally Advanced State

In 1970-71, Punjab had 1.92 lakh tube wells which increased to 14.14 lakh by 2015-16. As a result, groundwater level in different districts declined between 6-22 meters during 1996-2016.

How India Could Cut Irrigation Water By 33% – And Reduce Anaemia, Zinc Deficiency 

India could reduce the water it uses for irrigation by a third and simultaneously address a persistent malnutrition problem, if it replaced its rice crop with more nutritious and less thirsty cereals, a study of irrigation-water use over 43 years has found.

Rice, which consumes the most water by tonne of output while delivering the least nutrients–iron, zinc and fibre–could be replaced with less thirsty and more nutritious maize, ragi (finger millet), bajra (pearl millet) or jowar (sorghum). To reap these benefits, however,

India must replace rice and wheat with healthier alternative cereals in its public distribution system, which provides subsidised food grain to the poor, the study said.

Information helpline improves local governance in Nuh villages

An information center in Nuh district (of Haryana state) that lags in economic and social development has created awareness about government schemes and entitlements, and has empowered villagers to claim their rights

Air Pollution in 20 cities

Air Pollution Knowledge Assessments (APnA) city program – 20 city reports online 

Earth entering “hothouse state”

Earth at risk of entering ‘hothouse’ state from which there is no return, scientists warn climate (change) scientists ‘In the context of the summer of 2018, this is definitely not a case of crying wolf… the wolves are now in sight’.

Solar India and Solar China

Even after reaching its 2020 solar target 3 years early, China continues to power ahead, installs 24.3 GW of new solar in 1st half 2018 (more than Italy or India’s total solar capacity)

Kolkata City and Global Warming

Global warming poses an urgent threat to Kolkata, a river delta city of 1.4 crores. The city’s natural defenses are being lost.

On Climate Change, Water and Food Security

If weather changes wrought by climate change destroy crops or we run out of water, we will literally die.

The Myth of Self-Governance in Scheduled Areas Needs to Be Dispelled

Since the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act was passed in 1996, it has remained a dead letter in Gujarat.

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