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No food security without ecological and livelihood security

Providing food for the poor is important, says Ashish Kothari, but the Food Security Bill must also create the conditions under which people can provide food for themselves, or have the means to buy it

Food Security Bill


The future no one wants?

Rio+20 is expected to come up with a strong actionable plan towards sustainability, but its first official document is more business as usual than a bold vision of the future, and fails to rein in the irresponsibility of private corporations and profligate consumerism by the rich, says Ashish Kothari

Rio Conference on Sustainable Development


2012: A year for transformation?

2012 has been predicted by many cultures as landmark for massive transformations. May this be a year when we witness many more alternative grassroots initiatives that will help us push back the forces of destruction unleashed by the blind pursuit of economic growth, writes Ashish Kothari


Is sustainability truly built into the 12th 5-Year Plan?

Perhaps for the first time, environment and related livelihoods issues figure in several chapters of a 5-Year Plan approach paper. But it is far from achieving the kind of integration of environment, economy, and livelihoods that is required if India is to meet its obligations to its people, to nature, and to international agreements, writes Ashish Kothari


Can LPG fuel a real consumer revolution?

Does the proposal to limit a family’s consumption of subsidised LPG cylinders to four a year indicate a realisation that we can no longer afford to subsidise the lifestyles of the rich? If the poor can face all kinds of restrictions on their consumption of natural resources etc, why not the rich, asks Ashish Kothari.


The impending extinction of wildlife committees

Civil society members on India’s most important wildlife conservation committees are mostly rubber stamps, says Ashish Kothari, making these forums so much greenwash for pushing ‘development’ projects that threaten wildlife habitats through


How not to save wetlands

The Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, notified in 2010, is a recipe for failure and conflict: it is unwieldy and contradictory, it concentrates all power in the hands of state and central governments, and it provides absolutely no role for citizens living around the wetlands to be conserved, says Ashish Kothari


Conservation suicide

Hostility and anger against authoritarian, conflict-generating conservation is growing amongst lakhs of people across India. Responding in a knee-jerk manner to the tiger crisis, government has facilitated the notification of a spate of new tiger reserves without any consultation with local communities that have shared the habitat with the tiger for centuries, writes Ashish Kothari


The Forest Rights Act is floundering

An eight-month investigation into the implementation of the Forest Rights Act by a committee that travelled across 17 states has identified several systemic faults. Ashish Kothari reports


Shine on you crazy diamonds...

By Ashish Kothari

The environment fraternity lost five extraordinary individuals in 2009 -- Ravi Sankaran, Smitu Kothari, W A Alan Rodgers, Narendranath Gorrepati and Edward Goldsmith. All of them had a commitment to a saner world, visions of how this could be attained, and the passion to transform their visions into real action


How fertilisers are killing Indian agriculture

By Ashish Kothari

The huge government subsidy of Rs 12,000 crore is not only a financial millstone around our neck. By encouraging unrestrained use of fertilisers it is destroying our soils and agriculture


Impossible deadline for the Forest Rights Act

By Ashish Kothari

The December 31 deadline of the tribal affairs ministry for full implementation of the Forest Rights Act is absurd. How can implementation of such a complex Act be rushed through when issues involving processing of claims, recent encroachments, and the Act’s relationship with existing forest and wildlife laws have not yet been thought through?


Should India cut emissions?

India’s stand on climate change is that our right to ‘development’ is non-negotiable. But, considering that the path to development we have adopted is neither sustainable nor equitable, it is time we took on voluntary emission cuts for our own welfare, even as we continue pressurising the West to cut its emissions substantially, says Ashish Kothari


What's wildlife worth? Ten rupees!

Is there any significance in the fact that India’s 1,000-rupee note depicts technological progress and industry, while wildlife and natural resources make it only to our 10-rupee note? After all, says Ashish Kothari, even as our decision-makers pay lip service to nature these seven days of Wildlife Week, they continue to sign away the very habitats that wild plants and animals thrive in


An agenda for the environment minister

India’s new minister of state for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh cannot change his government’s focus on unsustainable growth, but he can open the environment ministry to civil society engagement and change its status as a willing rubber stamp for industry, says Ashish Kothari


Acts of healing

By Ashish Kothari

In the heart of Washington DC is an official museum that is brutally honest about the genocide that the white man wrought on the native Americans five centuries ago. When will India begin to provide a more balanced view of the history, culture and current status of its indigenous people?


The other America?

Barack Obama's election victory could well be a defining moment for the earth, says Ashish Kothari. For if he works to rescue what he calls "a planet in peril", we could see America responding to the biodiversity crisis, adopting clean technologies and embracing ecological economic models that put the environment and ordinary people -- rather than profits -- at the centre of planning


Indian industry's wake-up call on environmental sustainability

Environmentalists have always warned that India is living well beyond its means. Now Indian industry has released a report saying that India consumes twice as much natural resources as it possesses. Ashish Kothari analyses India’s Ecological Footprint: A Business Perspective, produced by the Confederation of Indian Industry and Global Footprint Network


Tata, bye-bye, and good riddance?

As the Tatas battle on in Singur in the wake of protests against their Nano car plant, industrial houses should take comfort in the fact that the Indian government is solidly behind them. It’s just those ignorant farmers, fisherfolk and tribals who don’t know what’s good for them who’re standing in the way of a shiny new India, says Ashish Kothari


'Can you do family planning of nilgai, sir?'

All of us hate the idea of hunting or killing wildlife, writes Ashish Kothari. But with villagers across India facing increasing attacks by wild animals, conservationists must realise that in the interests of both wildlife conservation and people's livelihood security we must look beyond the narrow ethics of individual animal protection to a broader one of survival of species and ecosystems



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