Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ecology of Orissa On The Edge:An analysis

The gravity of natural disasters has been compounded by man's greed and his systematic interference with Nature. May be its Orissa cyclone nine years before or the environmental damage in western part.
I thought the super cyclone was a man made one……man-made disasters were being fobbed off as natural disasters. The gravity of these "natural disasters" has been compounded by man's greed and his systematic, sustained interference with nature.
Let me put some point with analysis. There is a plant called mangrove plant which is generally found in Sundarban region of west Bengal region… Its specialty is that a mangrove forest can have the potentialities to distract the direction of upcoming cyclone. Generally a single mangrove plant have the peculiar and unique characteristics of absorbing salts from the soil… called Heliophilic or salt loving………….
Such a mangrove forest was there long years in when Paradip (the port town) near vicinity of capital city Bhubaneswar. Paradip Port, and the areas surrounding it, were once rich mangrove forests. When the Paradip Phosphate Limited was proposed by Government, there was a huge protest by environmentalist on behalf of these Mangrove forest….but in the end PPL was installed by sacrificing the huge natural resource of Mangrove forest. Starting of prawn and shrimp farms also another cause of this uprooting of Mangroves.
In the Orissa cyclone, the maximum damage was caused in coastal areas where the mangroves had been uprooted for starting prawn and shrimp farms. In fact, the Orissa government has been repeatedly warned of the ecological hazards of removing the protective covering of the mangroves for the prawn farms. The Bhitarkanika stretch of the Orissa coastline was saved because the mangroves were still intact. In fact about 10 per cent of the mangroves forests are being cut every year.
Let’s come to western Orissa….the region of Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh Districts.With thousands of trees destroyed in these areas due to mushrooming of sponge iron, steels and aluminum plants, every subsequent year is likely to be scorching. For the last 10 years, a large number of heat stroke deaths have been reported from Orissa.

Large scale deforestation has aggravated flooding. Displaced people are invariably settled in forests and this further denudes the encroached forestlands. Rocks are being pulled out of riverbeds and fragile hills without a thought to what the consequences would be. The proposed Indian and foreign mining projects in western Orissa are expected to pollute 700 streams and threaten the survival of the local tribal people. We are laying the foundation for an erosion - a devastation that could be 20 times more serious.While there is a great deal of attention at the time of the disaster, very little work is done between the disasters - though they come in regular cycles. Between one drought and the next, we do not work on systems of water harvesting. Mining leaves the forested areas ravaged and scarred but these wounds of nature are not treated or filled up.
Annually 24 million people are affected by disasters in India, 5,116 people die and the economic loss has been computed at $1,883.9 million. Natural disasters like floods affect 11.2 per cent of the land; drought affects 28 per cent of the land; cyclones - a 7,516 km long vulnerable coastline and earthquakes 57 per cent of the land.
In Saurashtra, the mining of natural aquifers of limestone for the cement industries has resulted in the ingress of saline desertification into the fertile ecosystem. In the Western Ghat watershed of Tungabhadra, iron ore mining has created drought by reducing base flows and increasing silt load on rivers. In Cherrapunji, once the wettest place on earth, the mixed natural forests in the upper catchment have been destroyed. Most of the 1,200 cm of annual rainfall runs off causing floods in Bangladesh. After the monsoon, the springs and rivers dry up - and there is drought.
Nineteen per cent of India's total area, with 12 per cent of its total population is considered drought-prone. Critical changes in agricultural practices have ushered in intensive irrigation and promoted water hungry crops. This has phased out traditional crop mixes with inherent drought-proofing mechanisms to survive fluctuations in rainfall.
In fact environmental degradation impoverishes the people it touches and forces migration, frequently sparking off conflict between the displaced people and the host communities. The impoverished poor and the landless also put more pressure on natural resources for their survival.
"Pollution and its disastrous impact are closely linked with equity." Most people who suffer the impact of vehicular pollution do not own motor vehicles and those who are forced to use untreated foul swelling water do not have access to the sewers that pollute the rivers.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Brand of "DO NOTHING FARMING":Single Straw Revolution...........................

"The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops,but the cultivation and perfection of human beings."
Masanobu Fukuoka
Recently I read "One Straw Revolution" by Masanobu Fukuoka and it moved me. Fukuoka’s philosophy around farming has the ability to inform a broad range of topics and strategies. Ultimately, it is about quieting our cleverness in a way that allows us to see how we really can do more with less.
For those not familiar with the book, One Straw Revolution is an engaging story of a unique Japanese farmer named Fukuoka. A man many credit with inspiring the permaculture movement. Folks marvel at his approach to farming because he creates sustainable and bountiful crops year after year, while only working on his land a fraction of the time compared to other local farmers. While other farmers are busy harrowing, tilling, seeding and plowing, Fukuoka seems still and Zen like. His energy is focused on handling the seeds in his home and then observing the land. His methodology has been described as do-nothing farming which is ironic, because by doing nothing he has actually mastered the art of doing more.
How can we shift our thinking and behavior in a way that we are more resourceful, efficient and sustainable over time? Look back on the past year. What really mattered? What made a difference? How much capital (human and financial) was wasted because you did not take the time to be present and truly understand the essence of your surroundings? Imagine how different the past year would have been if you simply had taken the time to quiet yourself and observe before doing. My sense is that there is an amazing opportunity to shift our focus and obsession away from doing to observing and reflecting followed by design (note:
Otto Scharmer’s Theory U is a great resource for more on this discussion, as is Sister Corita Kent’s rule #8 and Buckminster Fuller’s Trimtab principle).
It is my fervent belief that growing a brand is an art, and that we are desperate for more artists. We need leaders willing to adopt the art of do-nothing branding. In other words, let’s loose the habit of becoming intoxicated with the latest, greatest
thing and instead, become artists that are focused less on a tactic and more on the effect we wish to create.
For example, wh
at if brandsseeking to enter into the green movement were less inclined to create a green product and more apt to invest time in finding the right set of principles and positioning that could ignite a new ethos in their entire culture?
In essence, discovering the acupuncture point for driving a brand by sitting back to observe the canvas, before frantically rushing to the brush. My premise is that by investing in this new breed of artist we will not only spend less capital, but also be exponentially more efficient and strong. We will, in essence, OPTIMIZE the value of the journey for all involved.
Fukuoka describes Natural Farm
ing as "… a Buddhist way of farming that originates in the philosophy of 'Mu' or nothingness, and returns to a 'do-nothing' nature." He writes about Mahayana Natural Farming (Mahayana is one of the two major schools or sects of Buddhism) as "… the very embodiment of life in accordance with nature… [it] is realized when man becomes one with nature, for it is a way of farming that transcends time and space and reaches the zenith of understanding and enlightenment."
Although natural farming — sin
ce it can teach people to cultivate a deep understanding of nature - may lead to spiritual insight, it's not strictly a spiritual practice. Natural farming is just farming, nothing more. You don't have to be a spiritually oriented person to practice this methods. Anyone who can approach these concepts with a clear, open mind will be starting off well. In fact, the person who can most easily take up natural agriculture is the one who doesn't have any of the common adult obstructing blocks of desire, philosophy, or religion... the person who has the mind and heart of achild. One must simply know nature... real nature, not the one we think we know!" "Many people think that when we practice agriculture, nature is helping us in our efforts to grow food. This is an exclusively human-centered viewpoint... we should instead, realize that we are receiving that which nature decides to give us.A farmer does not grow something in the sense that he or she creates it. That human is only a small part of the whole process by which nature expresses its being. The farmer has very little influence over that process... other than being there and doing his or her small part."