Report on the first Ecologise! workshop
Letter from Shreekumar of Sangatya Commune,
who hosted the first Ecologise! workshop
We had a good beginning to the Ecologise programme with the first
orientation camp held at Sangatya Commune, Nakre, Karkala.
The first session, held after dinner on Friday, August 14, 2015, was
meant for getting acquainted with one another. After a welcome by
Shreekumar on behalf of Sangatya, the participants, who came from a
variety of backgrounds and from various parts of India, introduced
themselves in detail. The schedule of events for the next two days
was outlined: field work in the morning, a session for
discussion and a session for screening films on Saturday.
Field work and discussion on Sunday. There were 34 participants
(including 7 children) in the first session and two more joined
the next morning taking the total number to 36.
The field work on both days included planting saplings, digging
trenches, pruning gliricidia trees and mulching. The physical work
was accompanied by sharing of knowledge. Usha's presence was of
Saturday's discussion session began with an introduction by Vijayendra
and the screening of Village of the Watermills from Akira Kurosawa's
film, Dreams. Sunday's discussion was based on a paper by Venkat,
On a Perspective for Renaissance of Agriculture. At the end, the
participants made resolutions regarding their efforts to ecologise
Listed below are the important things articulated during the
discussions (feel free to suggest additions, modifications or
1. The Earth is sick. Healing it is of great urgency. It is
necessary to bring more people to the task of healing.
2. Supporting the prevailing capitalist system, directly or
indirectly, will make the planet more sick. Therefore more and more
people must be involved in building a sustainable, local economy.
3. In order to participate in healing the Earth, people must connect
with the land. The peasantry must be nurtured rather than exploited.
4. Planning of land use must be done at the level of watershed instead
of individual land holdings. People must have usufruct rights for land
rather than ownership, i.e. right to use, not to own.
5. Healing the Earth is in the common interest of all. We must build
communication channels surmounting caste and class barriers to face
the crisis. Opportunities in the unsustainable globalised economy are
liberating to the rural working class because of the exploitative
hierarchical structure of rural society. Improving and securing the
lives of the poor must be of utmost priority.
6. Working on land in isolation may turn out to be futile if others in
our society continue to exploit common resources. Collective action
7. It is necessary to organise ourselves to face the large scale
threat of predatory policies of the government which can wipe out all
the good work in one stroke.
8. The task of ecological restoration must go hand in hand with social
movements in rural as well as urban areas against the exploitation of
the oppressed. Reciprocally, those involved in social movements for
the oppressed must align themselves in the struggle for ecological
9. All people who are leading a life of high carbon footprint
(i.e. high consumption of non-food goods) must simplify their
lifestyles so that ecological space exists for the extremely poor to
lead better lives. There is much to learn from the poor and adivasis
who live more sustainable lives and take better care of natural
Dr Sanjeev Kulkarni has offered to host the next Ecologise camp at
Dharwad. The dates will be November 14, 15. Another camp is proposed
to be held at Sangatya for people of the region. All the proceedings
will be in Kannada. The locals who participated in this camp are
requested to help in organising the next camp.
Suggestions are welcome for organising the next camp. Venkat's
article, On a Perspective for Renaissance of Agriculture will be
included in the next edition of the Ecologise booklet. Suggestions
regarding any further addition or deletion are welcome.
The camp was organised at minimum expenditure. The principle was "pay
if you can and as much as you can". Many people contributed
generously as a result of which we are left with a surplus, which
will be used for organising the next Ecologise camp for
locals in which participants will not be asked to pay.
Thank you very much.