Tree Plantation event this Earth Day 22nd April

Its been my immense pleasure to plan, steer and conduct this event at city level. To pool in people of interest to contribute their bit for making positive contributions for mother Earth beyond the normal philanthropy of feeding pigeons, ants and street dogs of which our Gujarati community is famous for was a feat in itself. Well begun is half done. No event is successful without the right kind of support from peers, friends, well wishers of whom the credits also goes.


A tree plantation drive was organized to commemorate Earth Day 22nd April, Saturday at Amruta Society Park at Rajkot, Gujarat, India. It was citizen driven initiative with support from RMC (Rajkot Municipal Corporation) by way of providing space and plants.  The effort was to bring in community building and environment consciousness and action for better and greener environment promoting positive social changes for and by Rajkot citizens under the aegis of Ecology club of Rajkot while making it an active club to host more and all such events for greening our city making it climate resilient in a way.

Event had digging the pits (shram dan activity), planting and watering the trees followed by discussions / networking and light snacks. Discussions also ranged from climate-friendly practices of waste minimization to changing behavioural and lifestyle choices and energy conservation to using renewable energy.

  • Event Highlights:
  • Total Volunteers: About 27 with various backgrounds: from business man / women to service men / women to doctor to interior designer to engineers, music professional to radio program manager to Home manager
  • Total trees planted: 21
  • Tree Name: Ficus Black (Scientific name: Ficus Benjamina) with height of trees roughly 3 feet.
  • Support from RMC:
    • Permission to plant trees by volunteers at Amruta society Garden
    • 21 Ficus Trees provided
    • Garden helper / Gardner who oversees this garden Ramesh bhai would take care of trees by water and trimming
  • While  the highly enthusiastic volunteers gathered on time at 6 am to plant trees as a eco-community initiative. Event started with briefing of importance of Earth day and a small round of introduction. Inquisitive morning walkers stepped up to understand of the activity and appreciated the effort by the volunteers. Some came forward to help in future such events. Digging pits according to the size of plant bag was done at ear marked spaces. Planting and watering activity was done and finished by 7.15 am.
  • Discussion Highlights:
  • Networking and open discussions followed which were:
    • Current environment and climate crises and on need to do planting
    • How could we make our city green
    • How to select spaces for planting trees and what to take care so that it doesn’t block other necessary urban services once it grows.
    • What sort of plants should be selected so as to attract flora and fauna
    • How can we move to making more sustainable choices of consumption as eco-conscious citizens
    • About next such drives and meeting at-least once in two months ( 6 such meets in a year)
    • There were volunteers who mentioned they had factory space or other land where we could do this joint activity of planting.
    • Health drink in paper glass and healthy sprouts salad served in leaf bowls with wooden sticks were commitment to better environment through sustainable consumption and production choices gave a reference of commitment to better sustainable choices. Volunteers agreed for car pool idea and bringing own utensils to avoid any such wastes incurred by such events.
    • Distribution of Pledge card cum bookmark made from hand made paper and eco-friendly ink and Gooseberry (Amla) seeds packet as a token of appreciation and participation, volunteers pledged to abide by the choices each individual chose to select from the pledge card to greener and sustainable lifestyle.
    • Volunteers pledged that they will come to take care of the trees thus planted once in a while.

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A wonderful experience – a citizen led – citizen participation movement @ Rajkot city: Cyclofun 29th Jan 2017: On way to Low carbon mobility !

In the first ever cycling event held by Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC), Rotary Mid town Rajkot Cycling Club (RCC) and others, January 29 2017 would be etched in memory for Rajkot citizens who observed and participated in good numbers. I sincerely thank all the organizers, volunteers, municipality, police, ambulance team and others who made this event a grand success. It has been a wonderful experience which I could equate to our country’s first cyclothon experience in Mumbai in 2010 which I was fortunate to participate! Kudos to the team.! I would like to share few of my thoughts and experiences through this write up. Some of them may come as critical feedback with the sole intention to make this event better and better such that we take cycling as a preferred mode of transport and also for other such events to be organised in future. The intention is not to demean anyone’s efforts for this event but to highlights goods and bads to make future event better if taken in right frame of mind! It may read long but I chose detailing over brevity!



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The event got flagged off at around 6.10 am in august presence of our Commissioner Mr Banchinidi Pani , city mayor – Dr Jaimin Upadhyay, Our beloved Mr Vijay bhai’s better half – Mrs Anjali Rupani, Dpty Mayor Mrs Darshita Shah and the likes. The beginning of the ride itself gave us pride as it was for the first time there was support of more than 615 cyclists who had volunteered to participate in a first ever cycling event to promote low mobility transportation and fitness.

By 6.15 am while we just begin our tour all the gods are being awaken and we hear the aarti (Prayers) as we cross many temples along our route and a serene feeling sinks in along with cool winter morning breeze..Over all the arrangement with police to control the traffic even early morning is good along the 132 ft ring road. The fag end of point 1 where we had to get labelled was placed in the darkness of the street end. Volunteers were hovering over to put the coloured labels on completion of route 1. Small temporary lighting arrangement there could have helped not making it a dark spot. It was a good 1 minute stop to stretch, to sip the beverage to re-hydrate and continue to the next leg.

The next leg took us from Nana Mava Chokdi to Speedwell Party plot which are the newer developed peri-urban areas of the city – a city where the agricultural fields’ skyline is being usurped by the high rises. Not sure if they now fall under the RMC boundary or not and whether the solid waste and water supply arrangements have reached that area or not. If not how do they treat the waste water and how do they take care of their daily water needs given the fact that Rajkot city is semi-arid, water scarce with rocky sub-strata. Whether have they thought of treating their waste water and re-using the same and whether they have constructed Rain water harvesting structures for their own water security – the high risers! As these thoughts were blooming in my head, dusk was giving way to the day light. Fresh morning air breezes accompanied by the birds chirping now as we jostle to the point 2 for our stamping which is a joint connecting us to the new ring road. The road newly constructed and the road less travelled literally. Again with the customary pause for stamping we rejuvenate ourselves with the beverages or water and stretch a minute or two for the next leg. As I finish my water, I gently ask the volunteer whether they would not leave the litter in the place when we all leave! He replied No! I hand over my Plastic bottle and leave for the next leg. We have now left behind the city traffic.

All the while in lesser commotion road, it makes me think the litter which our fellow participants would do of the plastic bottles beyond the stamping points while they take shorter breaks in between for re-hydration and stretching. Voice in my head was thinking – would someone go and collect the litter even beyond the stamping points?? I hope they do.. and if not I wish someone looks into it from RMC and for the next event the organisers do look into this point.

As sun is rising and giving nice orange hues we cross agricultural fields just few years away from being concretised as our city population grows. Wonder where our food will come from? Fresh air – pollution free.. yet at one point over a small culvert which must have been a small rivulet at one point in time has now turned sewage gives us stinky smell, white foams over the flowing sewage water does remind of the untreated water. Right next to it on both the sides are agricultural fields on rivulet cum sewage’s path. Untreated water on leaching the agricultural fields’ does leave questions on the quality of food we city dwellers would have on our plates! We have far got disconnected from the problem to relate the health problems by the chemical leaching of water streams, rivers , dams which in-turn leach our ground water resources and soil eventually used to grow our food we intake! There are easy not to heavy on pocket waste water treatment plant technologies like Phytorid (more information here) already available which housing colonies can take responsibility and install before releasing the treated water to water streams while there are equally easy technologies for industries too. More over at two different points on this stretch of road there were leakages at the water sumps. Wish that RMC looks into the same and resolves those leakages. Every drop of water wasted which is already travelling from Narmada dam or our water reservoirs is coming to us at a high cost apart from losing our precious natural resource. Swatch and Green Bharat will never happen until we take the onus for change, change in our habits and change in our behaviour will lead to change in our actions!

However it was a nice way to connect to the city’s peri-urban landscape. The point 3 stamping point seems far but the fun and enthusiasm for novel experience is still intact! Point 3 is at Shiv Shakti hotel on Rajkot-Jamnagar Highway. Police and the volunteers were doing immensely good job. When you see the traffic being stopped for the cyclist, and cyclist being given right of way was an amazing feeling. I have been cycling in city for over 25 years and never did I feel so elated to see this scene where we cyclists were given right of way. I wish our Municipality which is ever so active comes up with right of way to cyclists under its low carbon mobility transport plans along with dedicated cycling lanes such that more and more people opt for cycling as a mode of transport even every day to work, to school etc. We could set this trend for the entire nation and I am sure our municipality has strength and a leveraging position to implement this small change! It’s about behaviour change plus action. And I have no doubt in my mind that if 615 people who participated in 50 km for the 1st ever cyclothon in the city out of which 415 people had the stamina to complete the entire race within the stipulated 3 hours time frame along with over 715 children who had participated in 5 km round, no wonder then there are cycling enthusiasts who could take this challenge of cycling further to their neighbourhoods for small errands to start with to cycling to work, school for longer distances! Because it is not just about keeping fit – the cycling… what happens to health if there is no clean air to breathe! So it has to be fitness plus pollution free mode while we promote this mode of transportation. Let’s have a cycle day once a week, once a month and see if we can adopt this change faster!

Traffic at point 3 was there since it was a highway point, however the labelling procedure kept immediately at the turn from highway to the hotel was on a rough patch of land and while we were in speed taking a u-turn suddenly we have this rough patch of land and the commotion of volunteers wanting to stamp at the earliest directing participants and the participants also in hurry of wanting to get stamped. Sudden break over rough road made a possibility to skid. Which I did at that point! However if the point was kept a little inward farther from the critical turn point we would have already slowed down and would have figured the volunteer who was free to get us stamped. Also if there were lines arranged for queuing participant would have created ease of operations is what I felt at that point in time. This point could be taken up for future such arrangements!

The highway now had the sudden increase in elevation and the fourth leg suddenly started to feel long and tiring as we had to put in more effort to cross small distance. 8 km to city… 7 km to city … 6 km to city we are now counting each passing kilometre to our finish point.. Not sure if this stretch 4 was changed to stretch 2 instead, would it have been any better!

Finally the Madhapar chokdi sight gives relief that ‘Delhi dur nahi’ (i.e. Destination is not far) .  I love the attention that I as a cyclist got when we were given right of way while other traffic stopped for time being. However, in the hind sight, if all the vehicles were halted, had their engines on till the long line of cyclists passed through in the entire route, would also have led to immense carbon emissions. Do we plan to measure our emissions of the event?

By the time we are now in the last leg, it is already around 8.30 am and the morning traffic of vehicles in the city has started hitting us. Now in the city the traffic at certain points was not considerate of the tired cyclists in their last leg. More caution could have been taken at the BRTS route especially at all the junction points.

Its 2 hours and 55 minutes when I reach the end point! I am the finisher as elated as the other 415 co-participants! Sense of achievement prevails and there is no scope of pain and tiredness. We had passed our endurance tests and I am sure most of them would have gained confidence that other such events would be accomplishable with equal ease! Lucky draw winners were doubly lucky. However I am happy with my experience.

Kudos and Thanks once again to the organisers especially RMC and Rotary cycling club for giving us this chance to experience our city in a different light . I hope more people join in this mission of low carbon mobility alternative over just the fitness perspective and hope our active municipality create more provisions as mentioned which makes cycling to be adopted easily as a daily commute within city irrespective of such events being organised to inspire people to take action!.

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Traditional varieties of Rice, Climate change and food security!

An Article based on: Expert Talk by Dr Debal Deb and my thoughts interweaved: 

Akshat Mohatsav – a unique Rice heritage exhibition | Ahmedabad | 16-17 April 2016


Akshat Mohatsav – was a unique Rice heritage exhibition held at Ahmedabad on 16-17th April, 2016. This unique rice heritage exhibition showcased 1800 varieties of traditional rice varieties from 11 states ( Sikkim, Assam, Jharkhand, West Bengal, MadhyaPradesh, Chhattisgarh, IMG_20160417_153423185.jpgOdisha, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala) of India.

One may think, why was there a need to have an exhibition on rice?

Rice is the most important crop to millions of small farmers and farm labourers who grow it on millions of hectares throughout India and derive income from working on these farms. In order to tackle the increasing population, decreasing land under cultivation and climatic changes, it is imperative that rice production grow at least as rapidly as the population growth.

This unique rice exhibition by exhibiting 1800 varieties of rice and sale of 40 different varieties collected through various states of India sought to share and collectively celebrate and conserve our precious bio-cultural heritage with people from various walks of life. It was an effort to show our reverence to farmers and conservationists who are working to preserve our fast disappearing heritage.

Dr Debal Deb an eminent ecologist and Rice conservationist (a Fulbright scholar having post-doctoral ecology work at the University of California at Berkeley)  was the key note speaker at this occasion who spoke on the importance of our traditional varieties of crops to tackle climate change.

I was privileged to be a team member contributing my skills and ideas at this unique exhibition held in India. Here is an article based on the talk of Dr Deb at this occasion.


India 50 years ago had over 110,000 landraces (local varieties) of rice but today there are IMG_20160417_153341383.jpgjust 7,000 of these folk varieties left, with fewer of them being grown every year!! I was shocked and intrigued both at the same time learning this fact while hearing  Dr Debal Deb speak in his talk at Akshat Mohatsav . He mentions that rest of around 1, 00,000 varieties are no longer cultivated and the knowledge of how to grow them lost.

Dr Deb opines that industrial agriculture has led farmers to become entirely dependent on commercial seed suppliers for their crop and thus has led to mass extinction of our traditional / heritage varieties of crops. Traditionally seeds used to be a precious gift to relatives and friends as crop seeds belonged to the community, thus there was no scope for commercial appropriation. He further adds that it took over 12000 years since rice was domesticated to develop over 1,10,000 varieties of rice but it has taken mere 30 years of green revolution to destroy and reduce them to just about 7000 which has led to the loss of genetic diversity and rich biodiversity. It is an ecological and cultural disaster for which we are paying now. Most of these varieties are still found and preserved in the North eastern states due to still lesser penetration of ‘developmental’ agenda as compared to main land India which barely has 2000 varieties conserved now!

Over millennia’s human interaction with nature has helped develop an incredible range of cultivated diversity of crops. The rich Bio-cultural heritage which our ancestors have developed and cherished was a result when bio-diversity of our land was clubbed with each regions socio-cultural practice, which we are on the verge of losing . Dr Deb suggests that it is this complexity of ecological system which is the key to resiliency unlike monoculture practices suggested by modern agriculture. On questioning Dr Deb as what was meant by ‘tradition’ he mentions characteristics that define tradition as: one that is passed on through oral transmission and second as learning that was passed on through generations. So in terms of tradition of conserving our bio-cultural heritage, it was farmers and tribals who nurtured and protected these rich seed diversities. But with advent of industrial revolution and later the green revolution our course of path of human development has drastically changed which is one of the leading causes that has led to several challenges, alienations and a rapid erosion of such bio-cultural heritage and associated practices.

Local varieties as strategy to address agricultural woes engraved by climate change, semantic imperialism and agro-politics

Dr Deb mentions that these farmer scientists the “unnamed, unknown, and greatly talented scientists of the past” were as such ‘illiterate’ but were the creators of varieties of rice interweaving culture and agro-biodiversity. Through artificial and conscious selective breeding these farmer scientists developed most of the crops like which land to grow, intercropping which crops, what would be the osmotic stress tolerance (salinity / drought / flood) etc all through their empirical learning’s. Interestingly Dr Deb mentioned that Darwin put out a parallel theory of evolution by natural selection which suggests that it is natural selection that acts to preserve and accumulate minor advantageous genetic mutations!!

It was these unnamed unknown farmer scientists who developed rice varieties which could withstand a drought or flood or sea water. Yet these farmer scientists are not revered for this rich knowledge they own. He calls this as semantic imperialism, where traditional knowledge is sidelined and termed as ‘alternative’ by the modern ‘scientific’ knowledge when all the while traditional knowledge was main stream form of knowledge till the modern science impinged upon the traditional knowledge holders. Agro-politics has also played its part! Today we are confusing science and technology – what we are doing with machines is part of using technology and not developing any science. Even an ‘illiterate’ rural women would know what to apply and not apply if the cloth was stained with turmeric to remove its stains, which is also science! They didn’t go to schools to learn that science by learnt empirically.

Dr Deb is not at all impressed by GM science or hybrid rice growing and mentions that companies are spending billions of dollars on ‘gene mining’ (seeking specific genes ). Yet after 60 years they still do not have one which can tolerate drought, flood, and salinity or even grow on single event of rain fall with no drop of water later for irrigation, ones which can grow in 12 ft deep water, all of which are available in these local land races. Thus it is these land races / heritage varieties which not just anchor cultural and genetic biodiversity but also provide food security as well while outperforming modern cultivars in marginal environmental conditions. Thus they hold great importance in these times of climate change when we face extreme flooding, extreme droughts, temperature rise, salinity ingress etc.

Local varieties and micro-nutrients

These traditional varieties have been found to have exceptional nutraceutical [i](Nutritional + pharmaceutical) values. Did you know a rice variety named Garib sal – which is capable of absorbing silver from soil? Dr Deb’s scientific study of Garib sal led to incidental discovery of silver as high as 15.6ppm in each grain (15.6 mg/kg) of Garib sal while trying to figure out heavy metals like iron and zinc. Silver is stored in its embryo and not shed out thus indicating silver’s biological significance for the plant. Dr Deb and his team of 3 members since last 11 months have done various tests and it has proved that silver absorbing properties of this rice variety doesn’t change!

He mentions that no other plant has been studied so far which is known to assimilate silver from soil unlike Garib sal which was once grown in West Bengal and was recommended as diet to treat gastric infections. Now the modern science proves that silver in nano quantities kills bacteria’s and pathogenic microbes in human gut but such medicinal property was exploited and consumed by our ancestors already through their empirical knowledge! How did we lose it thinking that it was traditional and what was mentioned as superstition?? Many of our traditions had superstitions embedded but as rational thinkers we need to segregate what is superstition and what is not before discarding the knowledge all together Dr Deb suggests.

IMG_20160416_175236637_HDR.jpgCertain varieties like Kelas has iron 13.8 mg / kg and zinc 35.5 mg/kg, Noichi has 8.0, 46 mg/ kg, Paramai-sal has 15, 42.5 mg/kg, Kabiraj-sal has 9.5, 36.8mg/kg, Kalabhat 39.2, 26.8 mg/kg respectively are used to treat  women facing anemia  during pregnancy due to presence of high iron content. Kabiraj has also property of breaking starch into amino acids and protein. Thus it is used in treating patients having intolerance to animal protein. Badshah–sal has iron content as high as 138mg/kg. However Monsanto’s modern scientifically evolved MS13 variety of rice has just 7 mg/kg iron and 34.7 mg/kg of zinc after spending 2 billion dollars to develop it, while IET7029 has 1.9 and 31.9 mg/kg of iron and zinc and yet suggested as improved varieties for accelerating development and tacking malnutrition!! He further suggests that there are varieties which have anti-oxidant properties and omega 3 and are useful to treat cancer.

Can we not see the difference? As logical and rational citizens which one will we chose as better variety with higher micronutrients? Do we not see agro-politics here?

IMG_20160416_174747228_HDRAnd then how could we forget other farmer innovations of creating rice variety named Jugal which have two rice grains in one kernel and Sateen a three grained rice in one kernel!! Isn’t it a fantastic strategy for more crop per kernel, More crop per sq ft! How is it we thought of abandoning such ingenious varieties?? Wouldn’t these crops fit into climate change adaptation strategies?

Dr Deb also stressed that our traditional millets like pearl millet has iron content as high as 16.9 mg/ kg, Barnyard millet 15.2 mg/kg, little millet 9.3 mg/kg, Foxtail millet 2.8 mg/kg. These were the crops which provided micronutrients to the poor but now have been taken over by monoculture of wheat due to its higher linkage to GDP inspite of the food security it provides.

While traditional varieties are mainly rain-fed and developed over the local region and climatic condition with complex eco-system unlike monoculture crops would not need any additional pesticide and fertilizer inputs. For e.g. a hybrid variety of wheat would require 22000 kg joules to produce one kg of wheat considering the energy needed for pesticide, fertilizer, irrigated water etc where as rain fed crop of wheat would only need 1200 kg joule / kg of wheat. So though agriculture crop yield may seem more for hybrid, the cost and water effectiveness of traditional crops is higher than hybrid ones. More over the hybrid seeds would have to be purchased by farmers’ year on year for next year’s harvest from seed corporations ( where corporations gain enormously from farmers ) unlike traditional ones which farmers preserve in their seed bank for their next years harvest giving yields thus making farmers into monoculture and hybrid cropping incur additional costs every year unlike traditional crops.

He suggests that it is sad state that in our country there is no policy  to make it possible to grow, promote and market such traditional varieties. But as conscious citizens we can make choices of what to buy and support.

Dr Deb and his conservation efforts

Dr Deb has been working with over 14000 farmers in over 12 states of India. He is also a founder of India’s largest non-governmental folk rice gene bank that conserves 1120 traditional rice varieties named Virhi ( meaning ‘rice’ in Sanskrit). He started this in situ seed conservation in 1996 with extensive germplasm collection expeditions across 11 states of India. He also has a 2 acre research farm named ‘Basudha’ in Odisha which demonstrates ecological architecture, eco-forestry, and alternative energy use. To maintain the genetic purity of each of these growing heirloom varieties in the same land area of his farm and to prevent cross–pollination, year on year, necessitates an intricate sowing plan which was experimented by Dr Deb and his colleagues, such that no two neighbouring varieties flower at the same time. Such ingenious devise of temporal spacing of varieties is used for guarding against cross-pollination. Dr Deb published his methodology in the Current Science journal in July 2006, after field-testing it for six years and is recognized by FAO.

In his repository gene bank, he has over 152 varieties which are aromatic, 2 varieties which can grow in 12 feet deep water, 11 varieties that can grow in salinity affected areas from 6 states of India, 16 varieties that are drought tolerant, around 20 varieties that can grow in 4-5 feet water and 6 varieties which after first rainfall doesn’t need a drop of water. He is the sole owner and last repository of around 400 varieties of rice! Did we lose our tradition and culture? Can our agriculture minister not take a note of these traditional varieties which can be a boon to tackle climatic changes of extreme floods, droughts and salinity ingress??

What you can do – If you are a farmer to conserve this rich rice heritage?

Dr Debal Deb, each year after the year’s harvest distributes genetically pure seeds free of cost to any and all indigenous farmers in need from his seed bank – Virhi.  (Vidal, 2014) in his article mentions that Dr Deb grows these rice varieties and then distributes it in 1kg packets. “Farmers take the seeds on condition they bring some back. They must return 2kg as proof they have cultivated it. Most give 1kg to other farmers so the cycle continues. In three years in Orissa, 2,000 farmers have received the seeds and 350 varieties have been distributed.” He also provides training to farmers in ecological agriculture.

What you can do – If you are not a farmer to conserve this rich rice legacy?

Conserve India’s incredibly rich diversity of rice and bio-cultural heritage by opting many of the following:

  • Support farmers growing organic and traditional by procuring and switching to local traditional varieties
  • Show reverence to the farmers growing traditional rice varieties
  • Learn more of these varieties its nutritional and medicinal properties
  • Cherish traditional local rice recipes by learning them and preparing them
  • Participate actively in expert talks | workshops | panels on rice biodiversity and current issues
  • Spread message to the farmers you know, who could avail the deep knowledge that Dr Debal Deb has and obtain appropriate seeds which are climate sensitive to the region the farmer belongs.
  • Participate in farming activities

To sum up I feel, there needs to be both bottom up approach –  where every individual like you and me as responsible citizens  understand the importance of traditional crops and its vital linkages of addressing climate change issues and issues of food security and  where we could contribute to share this knowledge of rich rice heritage to our peers, family, learn more about our losing rice heritage legacy and its drivers leading to extinction and be the change agents to adopt buying these rice varieties in turn supporting incredibly hardworking farmers who have preserved this rich legacy so far and fighting against the market forces.As consumers we have power to influence market by opting what we choose to buy. This has to also be clubbed with the top bottom approach where government introduces policies to support traditional crops. Many states have come up with organic farming policy where they can also bring in policy to support growing such traditional crops, bring in market mechanism where such crops can compete in the market where only cash crops rule currently.

Hope still remains as there are numerous farmers and communities existing even today who are engaged in conserving these irreplaceable rice varieties even as they practice organic ecological farming. Our food, nutrition, health and even ecological and climate security depends on it. Thus it is important and of immense value to rediscover and share this biodiversity with its food and cultural dimensions to the community at large.

It was indeed a humbling experience and treat to hear Dr Deb talk of his experiences and scientific research on various crops apart from rice and also how these very traditional crops may not seem beneficial to bring in money and increase GDP to our agronomists and policy makers but is so crucial to address food security issues that climate change will bring. As an ecological economist that Dr Deb is our talks post the lecture did go on whether economical value to natural resource would help conserve the natural resources and why it is a mechanism to failure for preserving and how in Indian culture we had infinite value to natural resources inherently embedded in our beliefs and practices. Most of which I could understand but fail to grasp totally to reproduce it here.

Dr Deb can be reached on for further interaction.



[i] According to IRRI website rice provides 21% of global human per capita energy and 15% of per capita protein. Although rice protein ranks high in nutritional quality among cereals, protein content is modest. Rice also provides minerals, vitamins, and fiber, although all constituents except carbohydrates are reduced by milling. (IRRI, 2016)

Thus the importance of hand milled varieties as they retain the minerals, vitamins and fiber far more than the machine milled crops. Apart from giving employment to many poor people as a means of livelihood option of hand milling ( in spite of this livelihood option of being tagged by modernists / industrialists  / politicians as labour intensive while giving technological solutions to remove labour, it is by far the best way to retain micronutrients. So while buying traditional varieties one of the indicators apart from just checking nutrient value is to ask for hand milled varieties as well.)

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Why do birds matter?

On October 11, 2015 there was a wall painting event of birds at Randarda lake, Rajkot by various artists organised by Smart city Trust. Various locally spotted birds were painted on walls.

open bill stork

In an attempt to spread the awareness of birds, Ms Chinmai Hemani, (a Climate change professional) has tried to create a small pocket sized booklet titled “Why do birds matter?” under creative commons – Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC BY-NC-SA. It is open source thus if you are a bird enthusiast and know many more birds then mentioned here, please feel free to contact and help add to this resource and improvise.

The booklet is freely downloadable. One can freely remix, tweak, and build upon this work non-commercially, as long as you credit the author and license your new creations under the identical terms mentioned above.

Birds of Rajkot by Ms Chinmai Hemani_A4 size


Creative Commons License
Why do birds matter? by Ms. Chinmai Hemani is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Vulnerability assessment of Coastal rural communities: as case of Western India

Climate change projections for 2100 suggest a best estimate of global average surface temperature to rise by 4 ºC (IPCC, 2007).  With a  4°C rise in global mean temperature, inundation of coastal areas, increased intensity of tropical cyclones; unprecedented heat waves, exacerbated water scarcity; increasing risks for food production  and irreversible loss of biodiversity is not far fetched with far reaching impacts on the developing countries which have inherent weak adaptive capacity and improper governance mechanism in place.

A current vulnerability assessment study can then be a starting point for the communities to learn the impacts of climate change and adapt to it. This study also attempts to make an overall vulnerability assessment framework which integrates  physical, social and environment vulnerability assessment.

This case study findings suggests with respect to developing countries what are the major impediments that add to the vulnerability of the coastal rural communities?

This study is now available on Springer’s Handbook on Climate change Adaptation here


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