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20 years of DTE
In 1991, the Congress government announced a new economic regime that meant opening India for trade and investment, tax reforms and privatisation of institutions, activities and resources. Down To Earth invited economists and bureaucrats to discuss what the shift augured for the environment. Extracts of the debate carried in the May 31, 1992, issue

Who makes poachers?

Issue Date: May 31, 2012
“Ranthambore is like a leper’s pock mark on this district,” says a senior citizen of Sawai Madhopur, the town near which this important national park is located. The comment sums up the disdain in which many Sawai Madhopur residents hold the park. It also puts into doubt the government’s nature conservation strategy.

Two decades of hope

Issue Date: May 15, 2012
When planning Down To Earth as a news magazine, we had two concerns: One, are we fully aware of the rapid changes that are taking place in the world’s technological systems, the kinds of opportunities and problems that these changes are likely to generate, and are we debating enough which of these we want to adopt or letting ourselves through inertia be swept

Audit of reluctance

Issue Date: Apr 30, 2012
The ministry of environment and forests (MEF) has decided to postpone from May 15 to September 30 the date for industries to submit their first environmental audit. This corresponds to the date by which companies are expected to file annual reports.

Dr nature on call

Issue Date: Apr 15, 2012
Scientists working to develop new ayurvedic drugs are concentrating on the treatment of memory disorders. Says Sukh Dev, professor of chemistry at IIT-Delhi, “Ayurveda prescribes several remedies for improving memory and intelligence. Our experiments are validating many of these claims.”

Age-old Barbarism

Issue Date: Mar 31, 2012
Former environment minister Maneka Gandhi’s exhortations against cruelty to animals were often extreme—depriving itinerant animal trainers of their pets or campaigning against the killing of stray dogs even though this could expose children to rabies. Now, Richard D Ryder, former programme organiser for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, says environmentalism is rooted in the desire to preserve natural resources for human beings and arises from “speciesism”, as does cruelty to animals and denying them the right to live.

Money matters

Issue Date: Mar 15, 2012
The web is getting tighter. The South is realising that funds that were to pay for global environmental problems are entangled in countless issues.

Talk to neighbours

Issue Date: Feb 29, 2012
Down To Earth has been consistently arguing that people’s self-management is the best way to deal with the critical ecological problems facing India. This is a powerful thesis based on real-life experience of village communities that are actively battling ecological decline and the crises in their daily lives. During the past few months, India has suffered the traumatic experience of being rocked by communal disharmony. Can participatory politics help in the maintenance of urban communal harmony and peace and produce the same positive results as it does when dealing with rural natural resource management?

Let’s talk money

Issue Date: Feb 15, 2012
The 80th session of the Indian Science Congress ended in the first week of January in Goa without adding to anyone’s knowledge or wisdom. The importance of the theme of the conference, Science and the Quality of Life, did not get the attention it deserves in a country that has made large investments in science, but still has the world’s largest population of illiterates and the poverty-stricken.

Whither peoples’ movements

Issue Date: Jan 31, 2012
The Rio summit proved graphically that even in Northern countries such as the US and Canada and the European countries, national and regional level movements on issues such as environment, sustainable development and toxic wastes did not find a voice either in the process leading up to UNCED or in UNCED itself.

Press rewind key

Issue Date: Jan 15, 2012
1992 was the year of environment. More than 100 heads of state and government gathered at Rio to discuss the health of the planet. But the conference refused to look at underlying issues, lack of global democracy at one level and local democracy on the other, that favour exploitative forces. Instead, they dealt with symptoms of the disease and promised a few technocratic and regulatory pills.
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