Environment Support Group, in partnership with Bengaluru Sustainability Forum, Karnataka Gandhi Smaraka Nidhi, Mount Carmel College, Kriti Film Club, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti-Karnataka,Gamana Women’s Collective, is organising a film festival/conference on “Climate Change and Climate Resilience” on October 6 and 7 at Gandhi Bhavan from 10am to 5pm and at Mount Carmel College auditorium on October 9 and 10 from 9:30am to 3:30pm. For more details see here.
Challenges to National Conservation Efforts
A review of the first year of Project Cheetah reveals that without adequate habitat, there is no point in importing Cheetahs since in the past year, almost half the cheetahs imported have died. However, it is reported that India plans on bringing in about 12 to 14 cheetahs a year from countries other than South Africa & Namibia.
This comes at a time when various State Forest Departments and Zoos in India are celebrating the 69th National Wildlife Week from 02.10.2023 to 08.10.2023, with this year’s theme being“Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation”.
The Fight to Reclaim our Right to Protest
The Horatada Hakkigaagi Janandolan has been advocating against an order issued by the Bengaluru Police Commissioner restricting all protests to Freedom Park. On 2nd October, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, a protest march was held which ended in manhandling by the police and detention of many peaceful protesters.
Threats to Forests & Biodiversity
A new report by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), highlights the global threat posed by invasive alien species introduced by anthropogenic activities. The report reveals that more than 37,000 alien species have been introduced to regions and biomes around the world, and about 60% of species extinctions are attributable to invasive alien species.
In India, forest ecosystems are threatened by climate change, as is the case with the Anshi forest in Karnataka, and also by the recent amendments to the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 which favours companies that own “deemed forests”.
A paper published in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution, finds that monoculture tree planting activities actually threaten local biodiversity.
It is reported that Bayer (earlier Monsanto) has signed MOUs with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) regarding collaboration for innovative solutions in agriculture. Combined with the fact that most districts across the country do not have a functional Biodiversity Management Committees or an updated Peoples’ Biodiversity Register, and given the recent amendments to the Biodiversity Act, 2002, India is vulnerable to biopiracy making vigilance and conservation the need of the hour.
Row over Rivers
In India, an analysis of the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) finds that 11 out of 15 major river basins in India will experience water stress by 2025, a condition where the per capita annual renewable water resource availability will be below 1,700 cubic metres.
Karnataka and Tamil Nadu continue to dispute over River Cauvery as the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) directed Karnataka to release around 3,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu every day, until October 15. The decision sparked protests across the State and a State-wide bandh was observed on 29th September, 2023.
This comes at a time when World River Day was celebrated on the 4th Saturday of September with the 2023 theme being “waterways in our communities”, highlighting the many values of our rivers and encouraging the improved stewardship of all rivers around the world.
It is at times like these that revival of age old traditions are key to waster security. In Raichur, a 2000-year old irrigation system involving clay pots of water buried in fields is being revived. In Uttarakhand, water user committees are formed by local women to revive natural springs. Similarly, ESG has been advocating for the revival of the States lakes and raja kaluves to ensure decentralised, ecologically wise and socially inclusive ways of securing water.
Scourge of Plastic Pollution
Several studies have shown the presence of microplastics in just about anywhere. Recent worrisome research by scientists has revealed its presence in clouds and even in a cave system that was closed to humans 3 decades ago! The chemical composition, durability and omnipresence of plastic waste is making scholars designate our age as the Plasticene!
In Europe, a new report published last week reveals that no action was taken by 9 big food companies even after a year since environmental organisations served them legal notice for failing to manage their plastic pollution stemming from their business models.
In India, the National Green Tribunal (South Zone) has directed a major milk company, Aavin, to form an action plan regarding the handling and recycling of milk packets as per the extended producers’ responsibility regulations.
Mixed news on Climate change crisis
Climate change is no longer a distant threat; it’s here and now. It is reported that human activities have pushed Earth’s vital life support systems to dangerous levels, exceeding safe planetary boundaries in six of nine critical processes, including climate change and biodiversity loss.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has issued a warning about the world heading towards a 2.4°C temperature increase by the end of the century. Despite the urgency of the situation, CO2 emissions from the energy sector reached record highs. The summer of 2023 witnesses extreme heat, with July and August breaking temperature records. These extreme weather events illustrate the escalating impact of climate change on global weather patterns.Researchers have found that climate change is causing early arrival of intense tropical cyclones.
Scientists have predicted that extreme heat could lead to the next catastrophic mass extinction event, wiping out nearly all mammalian life.This event is projected to occur in approximately 250 million years, when the world’s continents are expected to merge into a single supercontinent.
In response to climate change, a group of young people from Portugal are leading a landmark lawsuit against 32 countries, including EU member states, over government inaction on climate change, citing discrimination and health risks.
In the USA, California’s legal action against major oil companies for alleged deception regarding climate change adds to the global accountability of the fossil fuel industry. It showcases the importance of holding corporations responsible for their role in environmental issues.
Amid rising temperatures and climate challenges, Katsuura, Japan, gains popularity as a destination for individuals seeking cooler climates. This reflects the broader trend of people considering relocation to more temperate areas due to the effects of climate change.
Updates on Mining Minerals
The Tŝilhqot’in National Government (TNG), a North American tribal government, has released a policy for any future mining exploration and development within its territory. The policy recognises the jurisdiction of the TNG over resources found in its territory and aims to reduce negative impacts to local tribal communities and ensure meaningful participation in exploration.
In India, a reserve of cosmic minerals, including lithium, have also been found at Jharkhand recently. Meanwhile, the reserves found in Jammu & Kashmir are to be auctioned soon. It is also reported that the mining arm of NTPC is planning to explore uranium mining in India and overseas sourcing of lithium and other rare earth elements.
[This issue of EJM was compiled by Yashaswini Sundar & Nidhi Hanji]
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