Published: Sunday 31 August 1997


Your magazine Down To Earth (DTE) is a very nice magazine. I like your magazine because it has very good print quality and language. I got your magazine this year. The article 'Celestial guest' (DTE, Vol 5, No 23; April 30, 1997) on Hale Bopp comet was the best article. I discussed it with my parents and they liked it too. I was interested in it because I myself observe comets. I also like the cartoons in your magazine....

Great service

I have just read your most recent article in dte, which is my favourite journal. I think you have given a great service by once again coming out so strongly on environmental issues. I have the greatest respect for your vision, commitment and perseverance to correct some of the many wrongs, arising from ignorance and complacency and motivated generally by greed. If I were ever asked to nominate anybody for the Nobel Prize for contribution to humankind, you would be my star candidate.

There is something seriously wrong when multinationals, banned from selling products in their own countries, try to satisfy the greed of their shareholders by selling them in developing countries.

This is not limited to pesticides. Products like growth hormones, banned in eu, are being pushed into developing countries like India and Zimbabwe as a potential miracle drug for increasing milk production. Most researchers in developing countries are involved in research for developed countries rather than looking into the problems of their own farmers, which are many and scientifically challenging.

Anyway, I do not write this letter to let off my own frustrations but rather to encourage you to battle hard against your illness. The planet needs you. When you fight, you fight for the world, not just yourself....

The Editor replies

I read your letter with great interest. I fully share your feelings because I too often feel that I am fighting a losing battle. I try to go on as much as I can.

There is a famous teaching in the Hindu text Gita, which says that your responsibility is restricted to your actions and not to the fruits of your actions. I think it is in that yogic mode that we all continue to do a little work. But we do hope that one of these days our efforts will bear some fruit....

Recycled paper for sleazy mags

That the world is heading for disaster within a very short time is admitted by all. However, those who are genuinely concerned are few, while those who only mouth concern are many. Magazines, in particular, appear to lead the brigade of the second variety. How else does one explain proliferation of glossy film and sex-oriented magazines which squander paper of the best quality in the most extravagant and profligate manner with little regard to the environmental damage caused through large-scale destruction of forests? And what is the corresponding social benefit that accrues from such lurid literature?

I would suggest that dte highlights this matter and persuades right-thinking print media to use only recycled paper....

Back to basics

I read the articles on the traditional water harvesting systems (TWHS) in India (DTE, Vol 5, No 20; March 15, 1997 and Vol 5, No 21, March 31, 1997). We need to revive these systems to solve the problems of drinking water shortage and diminishing underground water resources. It would be better if you could channelise your efforts towards a movement to revive our twhs and not limit yourself to publication.

My suggestion is that you start survey work on the traditional farming systems in India. In this you may include the agro forestry systems, natural/organic farming and other approaches for conservation of natural resources like soil, water and vegetation.

I have another suggestion. Due to high subscription rate it is difficult to subscribe to DTE. You should start a newsletter (with its email edition) of 2-3 pages, giving excerpts from your magazine with reference of the issue of dte in which the detailed article is published, so that anyone who wants the details may purchase that issue. ...

Editor replies

I am happy to know that you liked our magazine dte. We have indeed started a campaign on traditional water harvesting systems. You must have read about our activities in this regard in the supplement that we issue with DTE.

DTE, at its subscription price, is only Rs 11 per issue.

About your suggestion for putting dte on the internet, at present we are working to develop a website and very soon you will be able to access information on dte from the internet....

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