Environment Justice Matters- Vol 2. Issue 17

ESG Features: A Climate Action Plan for Bengaluru

 

During March and June 2021, ESG worked with administrators of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike and Karnataka Government, senior representatives of regulatory agencies,  representatives of multiple sectors across Bengaluru, academicians and experts, and importantly the wide public, in 9 webinars held through the 2nd major lockdowns imposed due to COVID  in developing Make Bengaluru Climate Friendly: A blueprint for integrated, participatory and inclusive urban governance”.  

See a Kannada translation of this report. 

This plan, now in public domain, is reaching rural and urban local governments across Karnataka, Members of Parliament representing Karnataka, Members of Legislative Assembly and Council of Karnataka, to all agencies of the Government of Karnataka, Union Ministries and Central/State regulatory addressing environment and climate change concerns. ESG would also be presenting this strategy to relevant agencies involved with urban action to tackle climate change as part of the COP 26 organised by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

We hope this unprecedented  effort will inspire Bengaluru in working its way towards a climate friendly future, and that this would inspire similar actions elsewhere. We believe that such collectivised ground up action will provide us a reasonable chance to reverse climate change for our benefit and that of generations to come.  

We are thrilled to see similar efforts being undertaken by the Mumbai administration. As Nikhil Anand and Lalitha Kamath aptly argue in the Indian Express, Mumbai’s climate planning must not only cut across all sectors of governance, but should be an outcome of deeply democratic processes. 

Forcible Evictions for “Environment Reasons”

In a must-read report, the Housing and Land Rights Network has found that at least 173,333 persons were forcibly evicted in India in 2020. Most were not rehabilitated or compensated in any way. Appallingly, almost half were evicted due to “environmental” reasons, including wildlife and forest protection. We can add to the list the ongoing eviction of agriculturalists from the Banni grasslands of Kutch. It shows how a simplistic framing of environment-human interactions ignores complexities such as the erosion of communities’ management of commons due to centralised governance, as has been described in this account of how encroachments by Banni’s local communities began. 

Karnataka High Court Rules on Cauvery Calling

The Karnataka High Court has passed a judgment allowing afforestation on farmlands through the Cauvery Calling Project. The logic is that trees will save the planet, and it is not a crime to plant them on “barren” private land. This ruling is the outcome of a Public Interest Litigation which challenged ISHA Foundation’s claims that this project is the outcome of collaboration with the Government. The final ruling records that ‘Cauvery Calling’ is not a project developed with support from the Karnataka Government. See also the report of a national seminar organised at Asian College of Journalism on Interrogating Cauvery Calling  on 23 November 2019. 

Farm and Food Security

In this context, it is worth noting recent reports that provide a grim insight into increasing levels of agricultural distress, which is forcing farmers out of farms. Farm income is increasingly coming through wages from labour, and farm debt is mounting. 

An overview of changing rainfall patterns in the north-east, for instance, indicates foolhardiness in promoting oil palm crop in this ecologically sensitive region. In the meantime, Sri Lanka has taken a decision to ban the import of agri-chemicals and promote organic farming. But this move, which many complain has been didactic, appears to be contributing to a food crisis and a  nationally-imposed food emergency.

Interrogating Wetland Protection

India’s decision to declare more wetlands in the country as sites of international importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, needs to be deeply interrogated, which Ritesh Kumar of Wetlands International does not in his essay in Mongabay. As ongoing efforts of Indigenous Perspectives of Manipur, Ngamee Lup and ESG has revealed, merely declaring Loktak as a Ramsar site does not guarantee its protection as a region of ecological and cultural diversities. 

A Flawed Environmental Clearance Process 

Mongabay India and Citizen Matters investigate how superficial the environmental clearance process is for medium and large scale real estate projects in Bengaluru. 



In Memoriam

Gail Omvedt: Revolutionary activist who fought passionately for Dalit rights
N Vinoth Kumar, The Federal, 25 August 2021
Hermann Bacher, Jesuit who founded people-led watershed development, dies
The Indian Express, 16 September 2021

More In The News

The Mishing and the Miyah Have Learnt To Live With the Brahmaputra. Can Assam?
Ashima Sharma, The Wire Science, 13 September 2021
Farmers call off Karnal protest as Haryana govt agrees to demands
Neeraj Mohan, Hindustan Times, 12 September 2021
ILO and IUCN sign an agreement to harness the interdependence between jobs and nature
ILO Press Release, 1 September 2021

Energy

‘Unjustified’: Experts Write to PM Modi Against Hydro Projects in Ganga Himalaya
The Wire Science, 10 September 2021
Power generation surplus, proposed 27 GW of thermal power plants superfluous
to India’s energy need: Report
Gaon Connection, 10 September 2021
BSES commissions Delhi’s first urban microgrid system
ET Energyworld, 10 September 2021

Law & Society

Murders of environment and land defenders hit record high
Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 13 September 2021
Khori Gaon Demolitions: Supreme Court Directs Faridabad Municipal Corporation To Roll Out Provisional Rehabilitation Scheme
Srishti Ojha, Live Law, 14 September 2021
Delhi High Court Refuses To Stay Centre’s Notification Allowing Import Of Crushed, De Oiled Genetically Modified Soya Cake
Nupur Thapliyal, Live Law, 10 September 2021
How Public Land Will Be Saved From Unauthorized Construction In Name Of Religious Places: Allahabad High Court Asks UP Govt
Sparsh Upadhyay, Live Law, 9 September 2021

Watch

The Story of Plastic
An Emmy-nominated documentary streaming free on Youtube this month.
Janta Parliament: Response to Monsoon Session
Sessions held on 9-11 September on issues including education, health, food and nutrition, pensions, and debunking government claims on Covid, food insecurity, and more.

Team ESG

Environment Support Group (Trust)
1572, 36th Cross, Ring Road
Banashankari II Stage
Bangalore 560070. INDIA
Tel: 91-80-26713560
Voice/Fax: 91-80-26713316

Website: esgindia.org Email: socialmedia@esgindia.org 
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