Human empathy is our politics

This year, Down To Earth turns 31 years old. We have promises to keep. And keep them we will

By Sunita Narain
Published: Sunday 21 May 2023
Human empathy is our politics
It was in May 1992 that the first edition of Down To Earth was published. The late Anil Agarwal (pictured) is its founder editor. Photo: Anil Agarwal / CSE It was in May 1992 that the first edition of Down To Earth was published. The late Anil Agarwal (pictured) is its founder editor. Photo: Anil Agarwal / CSE

It’s hard not to look back on the past three decades, every year when the date chimes: anniversary. This year, Down To Earth turns 31 years old; it was first published in May of 1992, just a month before the Rio Summit was held—it was a watershed call for action on climate change and biodiversity conservation.

Since then our journey each fortnight has reflected the journey of the environmental movement in India as well as the rest of the world. Think of us as your chronicler who tells the story as it happens—without guile, without fuss, without fiction.

We deconstruct science as much as we take apart the politics of action (or inaction). Our effort is to stay on top of the news as much as to thoroughly analyse each issue, so that you gain in-depth understanding and a balanced perspective.

Our work is to inform you and at the same time build your knowledge base so that together we can make magic happen—action is what we need. Urgently in our world.

As I write this, there are also promises to keep. One, we will now bring you much more reportage from the ground—from the forests, fields and the factories—so that voices that are no longer heard in the mainstream media are listened to.

The very “nature” of our media is undergoing a transition; it is now more urban, consumerist and single-event-focused. Down To Earth must stay on course; it must buck this trend so that we can bring you news not just about the latest disaster or conflict but also why it happens and what we must do to mitigate adversity in the future.

When we do this, we will bring you the opinions of experts, who, unfortunately, remain invisible in most cases (and often prefer closed rooms). It is our task to cajole them into speaking and into explaining the facts so that society is well-armed.

Two, we will bring you, more than ever before, news about solutions. When we started Down To Earth we said, we have a “duty to hope”. But in these dark times, it is hard to find these nuggets of change.

It often seems that the good news we come across is a drop in the ocean; they will not bring about the transformational change we need in the world. But we forget that human endeavour is our inspiration. Human empathy is our politics. And these will show us the way ahead. So, we will persist in this duty of hope.

This was first published in the 16-31 May, 2023 print edition of Down To Earth

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.