Down To Earth speaks to KR Jaithran, chairman of the Kodungallur municipality, about its new injunction to plant two fruiting trees in the premises of any new building built within the municipality’s jurisdiction after June 5, 2019
‘Leave the Sentinelese alone’
50 years after he first visited North Sentinel Island in the Andaman archipelago, veteran anthropologist, T N Pandit talks to Down To Earth about the Sentinelese people, other tribal groups in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands and his legacy
“Environmental amnesia is constricting our intellect”
Though we are living in a highly degraded environment, we have failed to spot behavioural fallouts. Increasingly, children living in polluted ecosystems now construct ideas that things are basically "normal" even when they are pretty bad. PETER H KAHN JR, director, Human Interaction with Nature and Technological Systems Lab, University of Washington, USA, has been doing research on the …
‘We have to be optimistic about the survival of Africa’s Pygmy peoples’
Brussels-based Dutchwoman Monique Munting has donned several hats. She has been an academic, independent researcher, consultant and is currently, a film-maker. She was in Delhi recently to attend the CMS Vatavaran environment film festival where her French documentary, ‘L’espirit de la foret’ (The Spirit of the Forest) on the Baka Pygmies of Central Africa was screened. She …
‘The Persian Gulf is a sensitive issue in Iran’
Amir Masoud Aghababaeian is an Iranian film-maker, originally from Isfahan and based in Tehran. He is the director of ‘Mermaid’, a Persian-language feature film on oil pollution in the Persian Gulf, the semi-enclosed, inland sea of the Middle East. In Delhi to attend the CMS Vatavaran Environment Film Festival, Aghababaeian speaks to Down To Earth about the issues surrounding the …
"Dialects are the avant-garde teams exploring new semantic possibilities"
Linguist GANESH DEVY has just published a new volume of a unique language survey that is based on geography and people's vernacular claims. He speaks to RAJAT GHAI on the link between languages and ecology
`Bioregionalism could become a global movement'
French architect Didier Prost is an advocate of bioregionalism, which calls for a renewed focus on local people and knowledge to innovate for greener solutions. He speaks to Rajat Ghai on how bioregional approaches can be adopted to solve India's environmental problems
‘Plant dyes should be used on an industrial level only if the plants' cultivation is propagated’
Vadodara-based artist Taniya Vaidya recently exhibited her collection of paintings at New Delhi’s India International Centre. She mainly uses natural dyes—mostly plant-based ones like indigo, madder and harda. She talks to Down To Earth about themes in her current works, the use of natural dyes in India and the problems faced by traditional artisans using such dyes.
`Ancient Indian literature displays exact knowledge of environmental phenomena'
Retired diplomat and well-known translator of ancient Sanskrit texts, Aditya Narayan Dhairyasheel Haksar recently released the reprint of his 2003 translation of the Jatakamala, the stories from the Buddha's previous births. He speaks to Rajat Ghai about the importance of the environment in ancient Sanskrit literature. Edited excerpts
“Aboriginal people in Australia still do not have right over their land”
Poet and writer ALI COBBY ECKERMANN was in India recently to launch her memoir, Too Afraid To Cry. The book is an account of her growing up as a child of the Stolen Generations, children of Australian Aboriginal people who were forcefully removed from their families and sent to white foster homes. Her novel, Ruby Moonlight, set against the massacre of Aboriginals by white settlers in South …
Sinking deltas have not got much attention
River deltas, which have been the seat of most great civilisations in the world, are fast disappearing, says James Syvitski, chairperson of International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, a non-governmental organisation devoted to advancement of science. Syvitski, who was at the organisation’s annual meeting in Bengaluru on April 7, talked to Laasya Samhita on the state of river deltas. …
'Let us internalise the relation we need to have with nature'
Jonathon Porritt wears many hats. A pioneer of green politics in the UK, sustainability campaigner, media personality and writer. His latest book, The World We Made, is an environmental thriller set in 2050. Porritt spoke with Pradip Saha about his futuristic take on some of the sustainability issues we face today
Organic goes online
India’s organic food exports have found a new strength—online traceability. Web-based TraceNet can trace an organic product right from its origin. It assembles, stores and reports information on each organic food produced for export. So, if an importer complains that a product has chemicals, TraceNet can verify it at just the click of a mouse. The idea is to have a stringent …
‘Let’s understand aquifers to save water’
Global warming, water shortage and a growing population. These are only a few of the problems that Earth faces today. Researchers are racing against time to find out ways to tackle these problems. Wendy Timms of Australian National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training in Adelaide is one of them. Timms shares her research work in an email interview with Shilpika Rajeshwar
'Clean environment has to be a fundamental right'
For more than four years now, Narayan Belbase, an environmental public interest lawyer, has been working towards facilitating and mainstreaming environmental governance and justice in Nepal's new Constitution. The author of over a dozen books on environmental policy, legislation and gender justice speaks to Aditya Batra on his efforts to make the right to clean and healthy environment a …
Secretive tribunals, hidden damages
Canadian academic Gus Van Harten is well known for his efforts to reform the global investment treaty regime through his research papers, conference presentations and a monograph, Investment Treaty Arbitration and Public Law (Oxford University Press). This treatise presents a public law critique of investment treaty arbitration and proposes the setting up of an international investment court …