The 21st century's converging crises and alternative pathways
Header Widget Area
Joshimath Crisis is a Warning from the Himalayas
6th February 2023
A development model based on local conditions and aspirations is necessary. The current crisis in Joshimath is the consequence of choosing economics over ecology or the ecosystem. It was scripted from the time we opted for a development model that instigated the open plunder of natural resources.
There is no such thing as a perfect society, and anyone who tries to build one will either go mad or become a tyrant. Humans are fallen, or just natural, and both of those words are synonyms for ‘imperfect’. What is ‘perfection’ anyway? It is a concept designed by a part of the modern human mind – the part that likes clean lines, easy answers, plots that end by neatly tying up all the threads. The quest for perfection is a quest for homogeneity and control, and it leads to the gulag and the guillotine, the death camp and the holy war. Even if we could agree on what perfection amounted to, we would none of us be equipped to build it.
For years, normality has been stretched nearly to breaking-point, a rope pulled tighter and tighter, waiting for a nip of the black swan’s beak to snap it in two. Now that it’s snapped, do we tie its ends back together, or shall we undo its dangling braids, to see what we might weave from them?…
Visakhapatnam gas leak accident: A preliminary modelling study
15th May 2020
At least 13 people have been killed and nearly 1000 others hospitalised following a massive leak of styrene gas from the LG Polymers plant in the city of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. Here is a preliminary modelling study of one of the worst industrial accidents in recent times by Sagar Dhara and K Babu Rao….
Ratheesh Pisharody writes: A classic method of avoiding personal sacrifice is to explore “alternatives”. The individual thought behind this is simple. “Can I keep sitting on my privileges by pretending to make a dramatic change with sufficient optics and industry backing, but with no personal cost/effort?”. And the pop-icon of “alternatives” is the electric car….
Economy and ecology are now in conflict; it’s time to integrate them with wisdom
27th March 2020
“We have now reached a new tipping point where enmities are more expensive in all respects than friendly collaboration; where planetary limits of exploiting nature have been reached. It is high time for us to cross this new tipping point into our global communal maturity — to evolve an ecosophy.” says evolutionary biologist Elisabet Sahtouris….
Just like the economy, India’s forests too are thriving only on paper
8th March 2020
From Live Mint: Dodgy numbers, a ‘flexible’ approach to the facts and self-serving definitions beginning with how “forest cover” itself is actually defined. This is what accounts for the unanimous skepticism among ecologists and other experts of the “growth” in India’s forest cover, claimed by the recently released India State of the Forest Report 2019….
Nine competing geoeconomic projects that will shape Asia’s future
13th February 2020
From Great Game India: A global contest with at least 9 geoeconomic projects is underway in and around Asia. Regional powers are putting forward ambitious plans for building roads, railways, and other hard infrastructure across the region. A preview of a competition as wide-ranging as the region itself; whose long-term ecological cost will be incalculable….
The terrifying science behind the accelerating locust plague
11th February 2020
From Wired: It’s the worst locust outbreak to strike Africa in decades, and Pakistan and India’s border states too have been badly affected. And the problem is about to get a lot worse—the insect population could boom by a factor of 500 by June. Unlike other species, a rapidly-warming planet present an advantage to locusts….
Ahead of ‘Day Zero’, Delhi’s water crisis is about to turn into a water war
4th February 2020
From ABC News: Delhi is one of 21 Indian cities that could run out of groundwater, according to a 2018 government thinktank report. Disputes over water often lead to violence, especially in the city’s unauthorised settlements. The state government and the local “water mafia” are drilling bores, further depleting groundwater and exacerbating the larger problem….
I live in a concrete maze that boasts a few yards of curbed open space and calibrated greenery. High-rises clutter the view of sky; pigeons and mynahs rule the roofs. Urban wildlife often feels incongruous, surreal. A praying mantis sheltering from lashing rain makes the windowsill suddenly more meaningful, though that is not its purpose….
War, mismanagement and climate change: Iraq’s environment on the brink
20th March 2020
From Fanack.com: From Saddam Hussein’s destruction of the unique Southern marshlands to the burning of croplands in Iraq’s greenbelt in 2019, the country’s valuable natural and cultural resources are being degraded rapidly. At the same time, growing awareness of environmental issues has spurred the rise of groups that want to change the course of the country….
Big Farms make Big Flu: The deadly connection between industrial farming and pandemics
17th March 2020
From Climate and Capitalism: Evolutionary biologist Rob Wallace explains the tight links between new viruses, the epidemiologically dangerous methods of industrial food production, and corporate profits. “To understand why viruses are becoming more dangerous, we must investigate industrial models of agriculture and livestock production. But, few governments, and few scientists, are prepared to do so.”…
The Songs of Trees: Stories From Nature’s Great Connectors
14th March 2020
From CBC Radio: Wind, rain, wildlife, and how they interact with the different sizes and shapes of leaves and branches all make up what David George Haskell calls the “distinct voices” of trees. His new book closely examines a dozen trees to show how they’re joined to the natural world, and to humanity as well….
Charles Hugh Smith: Could Covid-19 overwhelm us in the months ahead?
11th March 2020
The science is telling us that the global economy will experience a depression as the reality of the coronavirus pandemic sinks in. Authorities pushing complacency as a short term financial panacea are doing an enormous disservice to the people. Instead, they should prepare to deal with a global depression while limiting the spread of the virus….
New Zealand’s ‘well-being budget’ and the unnecessary evil of economic growth
5th March 2020
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has presented a pioneering national budget where spending is dictated by the “well-being” of citizens, rather than productivity and economic growth. But as long as other major economies continue to prioritise growth, New Zealand may become a lone wolf trapped in an increasingly hungry bear pit, writes Jack Peat….