Listing legume benefits
A COMPREHENSIVE database on legumes, the first of its kind in South Asia is being set up by Sudershan Kumar, a researcher at the National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow.
The bean family, leguminosae, consists of 18,000 plant species. It is a source of important chemicals like castanospermine, used as an anti-aids killer, and rotenone, an insecticide. Benzoic acid, a food preservative, and eseridine for treating gastrointestinal disorders, are also legume-based. The food value of legumes is estimated at a about us $200 billion. Besides, they are an invaluable source of soil nitrogen.
Known as the International Legume Database and Informatiion Service, the database currently contains the conservation status of the plants, agronomic and ecological data, and other data related to the genetic and biological makeup of the plant. Local names of the plant are also included. Information is available on 60,600 legume species from all over the world except South Asia. Information on South Asian legumes will be made available within 6 months. The project is supported by the Commonwealth Science Council, uk, the British High Commission, and the Delhi-based Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
National Botanical Research Institute
Equations of clean tourism
EQUATIONS is a non-profit making organisation established for conducting research and training in, and promotion of, a holistic concept of tourism. Says K T Suresh, director, Equations, "Tourists can just literally love a place to its death." The murkier side of tourism has already been well highlighted by concerned environmentalists: trivialising, cultures and environmental degradation. Tourism's economic benefits accrue mostly to private entrepreneurs or the government. Equations believes, tourism today is largely an elitist phenomenon and encourages a consumptive lifestyle.
Suresh points out that the benefits of tourism should largely be reaped by the host communities: "This can be achieved if communities are involved and decide how tourism should be permitted and regulated. Tourism should be integrated into the traditions of the host community so that it is culturally appropriate and acceptable to both the hosts and the guests. And the polluter must pay." Says Suresh, "Each place should be valued in terms of its carrying capacity."
Equations lobbies for the interest of local communities affected by the ravages of tourism, monitors tourism policy and keeps an eye on global developments affecting tourism. From heritage tourism to ecotourism -- it has documented all the aspects.
Equations welcomes views and experiences on tourism and suggestions of alternative models for supporting a more equitable form of tourism.
168, 8th Main behind Indian Nagar Club
CLIMATE Action Network (CAN) comprises of a worldwide group of NGOs working in climate change, environment and development. CAN has 8 regional focal points coordinating in Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the UK and the US.
CAN seeks human-induced climate changes to be at sustainable levels, and motivates governments and individuals to promote this; can's members all over the world coordinate information exchange on international, regional and national climate policies, and issues between can members and interested institutions; it supports research on any climate-related issues; it takes a close look at global policies relating to energy, transport and agriculture; can also collaborates with interested NGOs to study global warming and the methods of averting it.
CAN-South Asia is a network of South Asian NGOS. Its secretariat is situated in the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS), Bangladesh. The BCAS disseminates information on climate change, conducts studies on likely climate change impacts on Bangladesh and South Asia. It has a quarterly newsletter, Clime Asia. The BCAS also develops environment and climate policies.
CAN's membership is open to all kinds of environmental development- and people-oriented organisations which subscribe to its goals.
Climate Action Network-South Asia
Bangladesh Centre for Advance Studies
620, Road 10 A
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