Archive for the tag “green activism”

E-book: Water warriors – Stories on people and their relationship with water

The stories in this yearbook highlight efforts by rural and urban communities across India to take back ownership of their water resources.

India Water Portal

Prayers on the bank of the Kshipra

Prayers on the bank of the Kshipra

Water sustains lives and livelihoods. It is a precious and finite resource that, in future years, is likely to become the main bone of contention between peoples, states and nations. Water – like every other finite resource – needs sustainable and equitable management, with equal focus on reducing demand, recycling and finding alternatives, as well as the usual emphasis on supply solutions.

While alarms are regularly raised over its increasing scarcity, water is largely seen as a matter of state regulation and governance, and is affected by large-scale issues such as privatisation, industrial and human pollution, and corruption.

Water warriors – Stories on people and their relationship with water presents the issue of water from the perspective of local communities, based on the premise that water is a very local issue that affects the lives of people everywhere, every day. The stories in this yearbook highlight efforts by rural and urban communities across India – in as far off regions as Umananda island in Assam, Amatikra in Chhattisgarh, Bengaluru in Karnataka, and Dhanukshkodi in Tamil Nadu – to take back ownership of their water resources.

These stories first appeared on the India Water Portal in English, Hindi and Kannada. This book showcases the best content from the Portal since its inception.

Download a copy of the book 

Event: TARAgram Yatra on India Post 2015 : Investing in Sustainability

www.taragramyatra.org

TARAgram Yatra 2015 is an annual event that holds global multi-stakeholder consultation,organised by the Development Alternatives in partnership with Technology & Action Rural Advancement (TARA), Heinrich Böll Stiftung / Foundations (HBF), OXFAM, Deutsche Gesellschaft for Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and the Department for International Development (DFID).

TARAgram Yatra brings together practitioners and policy makers from India and across the world to discuss germane issues of sustainability and identify what can we do more and different such that India transforms to a greener, more sustainable, resilient and inclusive nation. Read more…

Worldwide Peoples Climate March November 29th

Avaaz.org

Something magical is happening All across the world we’re coming together to hit the streets on November 29th — hours before the most important climate summit this decade!

This is a day of action not to be missed — click on the map to find an event near you:

John Michael Greer: The Last Refuge of the Incompetent

John Michael Greer, The Archdruid Report

(Click here to view original essay and comments)

There are certain advantages to writing out the ideas central to this blog in weekly bursts. Back in the days before the internet, when a galaxy of weekly magazines provided the same free mix of ideas and opinions that fills the blogosphere today, plenty of writers kept themselves occupied turning out articles and essays for the weeklies, and the benefits weren’t just financial: feedback from readers, on the one hand, and the contributions of other writers in related fields, on the other, really do make it easier to keep slogging ahead at the writer’s lonely trade.

This week’s essay has benefited from that latter effect, in a somewhat unexpected way. In recent weeks, here and there in the corners of the internet I frequent, there’s been another round of essays and forum comments insisting that it’s time for the middle-class intellectuals who frequent the environmental and climate change movements to take up violence against the industrial system. That may not seem to have much to do with the theme of the current sequence of posts—the vacuum that currently occupies the place in our collective imagination where meaningful visions of the future used to be found—but there’s a connection, and following it out will help explain one of the core themes I want to discuss.

The science fiction author Isaac Asimov used to say that violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. That’s a half-truth at best, for there are situations in which effective violence is the only tool that will do what needs to be done—we’ll get to that in a moment. It so happens, though, that a particular kind of incompetence does indeed tend to turn to violence when every other option has fallen flat, and goes down in a final outburst of pointless bloodshed. It’s unpleasantly likely at this point that the climate change movement, or some parts of it, may end up taking that route into history’s dumpster; here again, we’ll get to that a little further on in this post. Read more…

News update

Burning all fossil fuels will melt entire Antarctic ice-sheet, study shows
The Guardian, UK
Burning all the world’s coal, oil and gas would melt the entire Antarctic ice-sheet and cause the oceans to rise by over 50m, a transformation unprecedented in human history. The conclusion of a new scientific study shows that, over the course of centuries, land currently inhabited by a billion people would be lost below water. “For the first time we have shown there is sufficient fossil fuel to melt all of Antarctica,” said Ricarda Winkelmann, at the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, who led the research published in the journal Science Advances.

Sooty South Asian air and global warming
Nalaka Gunawardene, Scidev.net
Carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas capable of causing global warming and is not the worst culprit. Black carbon, methane, hydrofluorocarbons and ground level ozone need to be controlled. In South Asia black carbon from cooking stoves and fuels like diesel, coal and wood are problematic.

Indian govt to allow private sector to manage 40% of forests
Hindustan Times
The government is set to throw open the management of up to 40% of Indian forests to the private sector to revive degraded forests but experts warn it may destroy complex ecosystems and deprive local communities of a livelihood. The environment ministry issued guidelines to the states last month, where it argued it didn’t have the resources to manage forests well and laid down the procedure to lease out degraded forests to private companies, who would “carry out afforestation and extract timber”.

Cleaning coal instead of wishing it away
Rahul Tongia, The Hindu
So called “clean coal” is under development worldwide. But carbon capture and sequestration is some years away from commercialisation, let alone competitive commercialisation. Thus, “cleaner coal” — in the form of more efficient coal plants — requires innovation to work well with Indian (high-ash) coal. Such efforts need support, ranging from technology, to policy support and financing.

Coal mining sector running out of time, says Citigroup
The Guardian, UK
US banking giant Citigroup says the global coal industry is set for further pain, predicting an acceleration of mine closures, liquidations and bankruptcies. The value of listed coal companies monitored by Citi has shrunk from $50bn (£32bn) in 2012 to $18bn in 2015, a trend it believes will continue. “On the demand side we think thermal coal is cyclically and structurally challenged and that current market conditions are likely to persist,” it says in a report.

Coal prices hit 12-year low as demand from China, India down
Kseboa.org
Coal futures have fallen to 12-year lows, hit by soaring production and a slowdown in global buying, including from India and China which until recently have been pillars of strong demand. Benchmark API2 2016 coal futures last settled at $52.85 a tonne, a level not seen since November 2003. The contract is now over 75 percent below its 2008 all-time peak and more than 60 percent below its most recent high following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan

$250 billion opportunity to invest in renewables: Piyush Goyal
Live Mint
India has a $250 billion investment opportunity in the renewable energy space, said Piyush Goyal, minister of power, coal and renewable energy, at Mint’s fifth energy conclave in New Delhi on Friday. This includes the peripheral transmission and generation segments as well. India plans to have 100,000 megawatts (MW) of solar energy capacity by 2022. The government has also set a target of generating 60,000MW from wind power by then.

Is This The Breakthrough Fusion Researchers Have Been Waiting For?
Michael McDonald, Oilprice.com
Fusion power may have just had the long-awaited breakthrough its backers have been waiting years for. A small secretive company in California called Tri Alpha Energy has been working on fusion power for years. It has built a machine that forms a high temperature ball of superheated gas and holds it together for 5 milliseconds without decay. That tiny timeframe is enough to get backers of the technology excited as it represents a huge leap forward in comparison with other techniques tried in the past.

The choir that sings out of tune
Nimesh Ved, The Hindu
A friend asked me on Facebook if we consider the impact of travel, especially air travel, on our ecological footprint. Surprisingly, many justified it as a ‘positive’ action. How can anyone justify flying in and out repeatedly for conferences? Doesn’t going for a study tour, for example, leave its own ecological footprint? We cannot do without travel and its resulting ecological footprint, but can we at least be conscious of the issue, discuss it and look at our own actions critically?

Picturing the End of Fossil Fuels
Bill McKibben
In the energy world, though, I’m willing to bet that these images are poison to the fossil fuel industry. It’s not just because of their sheer inhuman oversized ugliness, but because they manage to look somehow so antique. Or rather, so modern in a postmodern world. Even without understanding the science of climate change—the horror that the carbon from that digger and that drill rig is driving—you have a visceral sense that they’re in the wrong moment, the wrong mood.

 

Event: The Noida NCR Learning City UnConference

Prakriti.org.in

Are you searching for a new vision of education? Come meet lots of amazing people working on innovative models of learning and living at The Noida NCR Learning City UnConference

Inviting all: education visionaries, alternative educators, social entrepreneurs, artists, designers, artisans, activists, organic farmers, slow food chefs, earth architects, healers, homeschoolers, unschoolers, cross-pollinators, planetary changemakers.

News update

Doomsday in 10 years: India may run out of water by 2025
Nihar Gokhale, Catch News
We know quite well that water is scarce. Many even imagine that a Third World War will be fought over water. Nonetheless, the thought of taps running dry doesnt come naturally. But maybe it is time to wake up doomsday is likely just 10 years from now. This alarming figure was emphasised in the last Parliament session. In the Question Hour, Sanwar Lal Jat, the junior minister for water resources, quoted a study by a private consulting firm that said India wont have enough water for its people by 2025.

How India Can Cut Short-term Carbon Emissions 70%
Darryl DMonte, IndiaSpend
As India works on its voluntary commitments to reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Indian experts have explained how the country could cut its carbon emissions from short-lived climate pollutants by nearly three-fourths using low-cost methods and, in the process, transform the lives of the poor. The US, EU and China are among the major countries which have declared their commitments; the global community is waiting to see what India does.

The Latest Science on Global Warming (by James Hansen & others)
Eric Zuesse, Countercurrents.org
Previous estimates of the coastal cities that will be flooded out of existence have been overly optimistic. The situation will likely be worse than has been projected. But measures can be taken that will probably succeed at preventing the outcome from being even worse than that.

July 2015 was warmest month ever recorded for the globe
Science Daily
The July average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.46°F (0.81°C) above the 20th century average. As July is climatologically the warmest month for the year, this was also the all-time highest monthly temperature in the 1880-2015 record, at 61.86°F (16.61°C), surpassing the previous record set in 1998 by 0.14°F (0.08°C).

Plan for Paris: looking beyond emission cuts
Sujatha Byravan and Sudhir Chella Rajan, South Asia Monitor
In the lead up to the Paris Climate Summit — Conference of Parties (CoP) 21 — an important buzzword in international climate circles is INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) that each country needs to commit itself to as its climate policy. Much of this is tacitly expected to mean a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions rather than adaptation, which would be about transforming or changing systems and institutions to enable us live in a warmer world. While we eventually have to reduce emissions to zero in order not to completely destroy the earth’s ecosystems, we also need to learn how to live on a planet that is on average at least about 2-3 degrees Celsius warmer than in pre-industrial times.

Entering the Mega-Drought Era in America
William deBuyes, Tom Dispatch
On the U.S. Drought Monitor’s current map, a large purple bruise spreads across the core of California, covering almost half the state. Purple indicates “exceptional drought,” the direst category, the one that tops both “severe” and “extreme.” If you combine all three, 95% of the state is covered. In other words, California is hurting.

Why an Oil Glut May Lead to a New World of Energy
Michael T. Klare, Tom Dispatch
Major producers continue to pump out record levels of crude and world demand remains essentially flat. The result: a global oil glut that is again driving prices toward the energy subbasement.  While most oil-company executives continue to insist that a turnaround is sure to occur in the near future, some analysts are beginning to wonder if what’s underway doesn’t actually signal a fundamental transformation of the industry.

Wind Energy Could Blow U.S. Coal Industry Away
Oilprice.com
Though solar energy has become the poster child for renewable energy generally, the strongest player in the game, for now, is wind. Wind leads solar energy in capacity installed as well as output (world solar capacity passed 200 GW this year); and other than a few welcome cases (so far) where PV comes in under 5 cents per kWh, wind is generally cheaper.

Germany Struggles With Too Much Renewable Energy
Gaurav Agnihotri, Oilprice.com
Germany and its neighbors are now facing an unusual problem. With the dramatic increase in green energy usage, Germany is generating so much electricity from renewables that it is finding it hard to handle it. The excess electricity that is generated is being spilled over to its neighboring countries, thereby increasing the threat of a power blackout should there be a sudden supply disruption.

News update

The heat and the death toll are rising in India. Is this a glimpse of Earth’s future?
The Guardian UK
India is struggling to cope with one of the deadliest heatwaves to hit the subcontinent. And its attempt to do so is raising a question for the whole planet – how can humans cope with the kinds of temperatures that scientists fear may become ever more common? (Related: Ahmedabads Heat Action Plan)

Indian government to review hydroelectric dams in two river basins
The Guardian UK
An 11-member expert committee recommended that 23 dams on the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers, the two main tributaries of the Ganga, be scrapped. Builders of six dams in the upper Ganga basin asked the court to allow their projects to proceed. The six were among the 23 vetoed dams. Instead of accepting the expert committee’s advice, the court asked for a review committee to specifically examine the environmental clearances given to these six dams.

Indian leadership on climate change: Punching above its weight
Samir Saran and Vivan Sharan, Brookings Institution
In the global discourse on climate change, India often gets singled out for resisting mitigation action and for its reliance on fossil fuels such as coal. In this paper we argue that in addition to the efforts directed toward coping with and adapting to climate impacts (e.g., recent floods in Kashmir and monsoon failure in 2014), India is also “punching above its weight” on mitigation.

Direct Actions Across UK Disrupt Fossil Fuel Business-As-Usual
Common Dreams
Anti-drilling activists across England sent a powerful message on Monday with a series of direct actions protesting the Cameron governments promotion of false solutions, such as fracking, and the industries that are profiting in the face of runaway climate change. Among the 18 targets on Monday were public relations firms that represent fracking and nuclear power companies, a World Coal Association conference, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and various corporations which activists say are complicit in the global rise of carbon emissions.

Global Apollo programme seeks to make clean energy cheaper than coal
The Guardian UK
The Global Apollo Programme aims to make the cost of clean electricity lower than that from coal-fired power stations across the world within 10 years. It calls for £15bn a year of spending on research, development and demonstration of green energy and energy storage, the same funding in today’s money that the US Apollo programme spent in putting astronauts on the moon.

Why Chinas CO2 emissions have been plummeting lately
Brad Plumer, Vox.com
Arguably the most important climate story in the world right now is the question of whats happening in China. A recent analysis by Greenpeace International found that Chinas carbon dioxide emissions have plunged nearly 5 percent, year over year, in the first four months of 2015.

Revolution? More like a crawl
Vaclav Smil
The reality of energy transitions is very different. Too many modern observers have become misled by the example of electronics, in which advances have followed Moore’s law — the now 50-year-old prediction that the number of components on a microchip will double every 18 months. This has allowed exceptionally rapid progress. But the fundamental physical realities that determine progress of energy systems do not behave that way: they are improving steadily, but far more slowly.  (Related: The energy revolution will not be televised)

The oil crash: something wicked this way comes
Ugo Bardi
With the ongoing collapse of the oil prices, we can say that it is game over for the oil and gas industry, in particular for the production of tight (or shale) oil and gas. Prices may still go back to reasonably high levels, in the future, but the industry will never be able to regain the momentum that had made its US supporters claim energy independence and centuries of abundance. The bubble may not burst all of a sudden, but it surely will deflate.

Why Greenpeace is first on the chopping block

Sajai Jose

620gre

As Greenpeace India struggles to stay afloat, the real reason why the government wants to shut down the global environmental NGO hasn’t got much attention: Coal, the single biggest source of primary energy in India, is at the heart of the Narendra Modi government’s ambitious plans to ramp up industrial production in the country.

A total of 1,199 new coal-based thermal power plants with a total installed capacity of more than 1.4 million MW proposed worldwide, the lion’s share—455 plants—are in India, according to data from the World Resources Institute. Read more…

Badanavalu Satyagraha A Report

Vijay Kundaji, Bangalore Notes

  

Badanavalu is 10 kilometers from Nanjangud along the road to Chamarajnagar in Mysuru (Mysore) District of Karnataka.  In 1927, a Khadi and Gramodyog Center was established here by Dalit women and Gandhian activists, which later grew to enlist many hundred workers, producing close to 50,000 lbs of handspun cotton yarn by 1938.  Hearing about this center, and on the persuasion of his ardent follower, Tagadur Ramachandra Rao, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi visited the center in the years around 1927 (there is some confusion in the sources about whether his first visit to Badanavalu was in 1927 or 1932) thereby putting it on the map of Gandhian pilgrimage and Gandhiana.

The now dilapidated Khadi and Gramodyog center, located on the other side of the tracks from the tiny Narasambudhi station, came back to life in the days leading up to April 19, 2015 for the Badanavalu Satyagraha when several hundreds of sustainable living (susthira baduku) activists, practitioners and enthusiasts converged here to share, hear from others and express solidarity with the growing legions of people, of all persuasions, who have concerns about the unsustainable path of development that India (and indeed the world) is on. Read more…

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