Trading our woes
I did not know that Down To Earth was so widespread that even people in Germany have contacted me concerning my article 'Reclaiming clean air' ( Down To Earth , Vol 5, No 7).
Although a tradeable emission permit system to combat global warming should cover polluters worldwide, a beginning has to be made on a small scale to show how such a system could work. The existing administrative and economic framework in Europe facilitates the implementation of such a system. The German Council for Environmental Affairs (Umweltrat) has recommended the implementation of a European pilot project for tradeable emission permits.
In my opinion, a tradeable permit system that addresses individual firms (industry-model) compares better with the system in which only countries can trade permits (country-model) in terms of cost-efficiency....
Leave it as it is
This refers to the letter from S B Somasundaram -- 'Pull up your socks' (Down To Earth, Vol 5, No 10). The suggestion to include a column on mathematics is welcome. But the suggestion to include cover stories other than on environmental issues does not make any sense. I think Down To Earth is primarily an environmental magazine. There are other magazines available in the market that cover science. Secondly, the comment that the magazine's appearance is old-fashioned is too trivial. It is the issues covered, the depth and seriousness of the articles that are more important. Thirdly, I would like to say that Down To Earth has at present reasonably good photographs to support its articles. Environment does not mean green postcard photographs.
I don't want Down To Earth to be a typical commercial magazine with beautiful pictures and centrespreads....
Fast train to health
I read the book Slow Murder brought out by the Centre for Science and Environment. It is highly relevant and interesting. I feel that an efficient circular railway is the one-stop solution for pollution in Delhi. The city already has a number of stations and railway lines in place. The demand-supply equation of the transport problem is a highly lucrative one and the potential for profits is endless. Besides, the venture will reduce pollution, end the redline bus menace and generally reduce traffic on the roads.
However, this venture should not be run by the Indian Railways. They are already in a financial mess.
I wish the concerned authorities would seriously think about this....
In the heart of India
I personally think that Down To Earth is one of the finest and sanest eye-openers in India. My wife, a school teacher, shares this view. She uses it as a teaching aid for her students. We take back-issues to my father-in-law who, after retiring from the cabinet secretariat, has settled down in a remote village in Sindhuchury district. They are then read in the village so that the people learn of the latest happenings in the field of environment....
Reaching far and wide
Environmental awareness should reach everyone on earth. Down To Earth is one of the best magazines available in India, but is read by only a negligible section of the society and in a language alien to most Indians.
I wish the magazine could be made available to educational institutions from the school to the college level, and to village panchayats and blocks, in Hindi and other regional languages.
The number of pages may be reduced to 20 or 30 and the focus should be on rural problems such as fodder, firewood and food which can be solved by planting more trees of different species. This is also likely to help control pollution.
A beginning in this direction is imperative. I hope the ministry of environment and forests will come forward to subsidise this venture so that it can be made available to as many people as possible....
In our hands
This refers to the subscribers' meeting held on November 2, 1996 in the national capital. I owe apologies to you and your team, for I was one of those who suggested some changes in the magazine.
After that meeting I went through the previous issues of Down To Earth as well as the present issue and I now believe that the magazine, as it is, is good enough for anybody seriously concerned with the deteriorating state of the environment.
Sometimes, the state of our environment seems beyond redemption as the authorities concerned do not seem to be serious in checking pollution and the general environmental degradation around us.
However, it is for the citizens to see that the pollution levels in their city remain well within the acceptable limits. They can do this by using their vehicles only when necessary and getting them checked for emission levels....
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