Convincing farmers that it’s worth it to reduce their water consumption will rest on our ability to help develop local groups to manage aquifers at the community-level.
Help for Indian Small Farmers in a Changing Climate
While a much-needed insurance reform is a welcome change in the Indian agricultural sector, enabling smallholders to be self-sufficient in the wake of climate change and India’s alarming problem of groundwater depletion would be an added plus.
We arrived in Kolkata, and filmed by the Hooghly River. While it is no longer the main channel of the Ganges, it is still the Holy Ganges and we saw a funeral procession spreading ashes of a loved one while filming there. Then a 5 hour trip by car, ferry, rickshaw and boat to the Indian Sundarbans. The mangrove forest here is undergoing more erosion and land loss than in Bangladesh, where more river sediments can replenish it. The water here is more saline and the trees are small. A tiger was spotted by another boat, but was gone when we got there.
In the small town of Kolasib, we stayed in Hotel Cloud 9. I had been told since I was a child that I was always off on Cloud 9 and now I was actually here. However, the electricity wasn’t for the first few hours, so showers were cold, but the dinner was hot.
Education advisors from Columbia University, in collaboration with Avanti Fellows and Central Square Foundation, are implementing a new course, “Emerging International Education Trends with Focus on the Indian Education System,” in early to mid-2015 at Hindupat Institute of Teacher Training, Jiwaji University in Raghogarh, Madhya Pradesh, India.
Is the creation of a National Water Framework Law or other stronger national legislation the right approach to creating a more sustainable water regime in India? To answer that question, one has to look at the current constitutional status of water rights in the country.
In terms of the urgent need to reform agriculture, address climate change and promote sustainable watershed development, the Indian government’s new budget provides for a number of promising initiatives.
The Centers for International Projects Trust has undertaken various low cost technological innovations to reduce the amount of water used for the production of rice and wheat in India. Such innovations not only reduce water usage in agriculture but also make farmers less vulnerable to climate variability, especially as it relates to the monsoon season.
You could be dancing a Dollu Kunitha in Karnataka, or a Kpanlogo in Ghana, or a samba in Rio. Dance is integral to most cultures, and it’s also a social and fun way to improve physical fitness. It can help prevent cardiovascular disease and control weight, among other health benefits. And that is the point that a group of Earth Institute students are hoping will win them a million dollars to finance their project, named “Health for All.”
When the Environmental Defense Fund asked me to measure how biogas cook stoves were changing the lives of farmers in rural India, there wasn’t a word in that question with which I was comfortable. Having just graduated from the Undergraduate Program in Sustainable Development, I had never done fieldwork; and the concept of a biogas digester, which turns cow dung into natural gas through anaerobic digestion, was itself a mystery. I had no idea that this was the beginning of a steep learning curve into low-carbon development at a large scale. But even more, that it would provide a window into the lives of families whose existences have permanently improved thanks to the clean cooking stoves.