Rajkot has barely 4 % green cover of its geographical area as per tree census of 2011, about 10 trees per 100 persons i.e. 0.1 tree / person which is way below national average of 28 trees per person (Canada has as high as 8953 trees /person). While Gujarati’s are famous for its philanthropic activity of feeding animals, birds, ants, the habit of over feeding at various places and predominantly around base of trees is found to be detrimental for not only trees but also human health as it invites rodents. These rodents find safe haven and create burrows beneath trees leading to loosening of root binding capacity of soil and eventually builds the case of loss of mature trees as the trees loses its capacity to sustain even a small storm. Nasa recorded 2017 as the hottest year without El nino effect which can be attributed to global warming. Surely 2018 is going to surpass 2017 records. Increasing climatic changes is leading to more number and more intensity heat waves. Presence of trees improves the micro-climate, provides shade and act like a water sponge apart from supporting bio-diversity. Thus with less number of old and mature trees, tree deprived Rajkot is going to be severely affected by not only increasing order of climatic changes but also a health scare facing impending terror of rodent activity. Is faith based feeding activity at the base of mature trees good for environment then? This is an action research project based on empirical evidences where we try to find why and the how of this activity and whether and how it causes harm to such big trees infested with excess food and what can be the alternatives such that faith is not hampered and environment not disturbed. This is first of its kind study in this city which will hold significance in terms of understanding our habitat and habits and in-turn bringing right kind of positive changes to protect our existing green heritage.
More about this research here
Tree plantation is an easy strategy to cater to climate change mitigation as well as aid in climate change adaptation. In order to cover the vast tracts of barren and degraded lands with relative ease, rather than tree plantation, seed balls are planted or scattered in the vast tracts of land and left to nature to do its regeneration works. This activity is most preferred before arrival of monsoons. Benefit of seed balls scattering over scattering the bare seeds is that the chances of seeds being consumed by rodents or birds or other insects is avoided, also seed balls wont roll away easily or be blown away by winds or flown away by water easily and thirdly they will only germinate when rain has fallen and conditions are favourable for seeds to germinate. Thus if we look at resource efficiency and outcome it makes perfect sense to work on seed balls as chances of germination and making the barren land green are much higher with lesser effort. Continue reading
Tree plantation is an easy strategy to cater to climate change mitigation as well as aid in climate change adaptation.
A tree plantation drive was organized to commemorate Earth Day 22nd April, Sunday at Sh Vinoba Bhave Pri Govt School no. 93 at Rajkot, Gujarat, India. It was citizen driven initiative with support from government and private entity.
The idea to bring in citizen participation was three fold- one to enhance green cover at the school premises thus also help in not only carbon sequestration but also greater water retention apart from providing nutritional value to the school kids of Government school.
India is the third largest Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emitter in the world due to its high population. The per-capita GHG emission is only 1.12 tons / person / year as compared to that of US 19.78 tons / person / year. (theguardian, n.d.) However India has committed to reduce emissions intensity by 33-35% by 2030 in the Paris climate summit held in 2015. While Agriculture is the 2nd biggest contributor of GHG in India consisting of 18% of overall emissions employing 50% of workforce. Thus in order to bring down carbon emissions due to agriculture sector there needs to be a change in which we do agriculture.
India is also one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change and agriculture is one of the worst affected sectors due to climatic changes. India has about 60.5% of the geographical land area used for agriculture which is predominantly chemical farming. With advent of modern agriculture which is dependent on mono-cropping and Chemical based farming has many fold disadvantages. Not only are the chemical fertilizers and pesticides made from excessive fossil fuel use but also are detrimental to the beneficial micro-organisms present in soil as it kills them. So not only it is costing heavy on the microorganisms which work for free but it is also heavy on pocket to the farmers. Due to vagaries of nature and increasing climatic changes along with other reasons like unable to pay loans taken for crops / fertilizers / pesticides (Wikipedia , 2018) has led to this sector contributing to over 12000 suicides every year since 2013 (Mahapatra, 2017). Excessive application of chemical fertilizer and pesticide has caused severe health concerns like cancer in farmers as well as consumers.
So then what is the alternative and can we learn from it? Will it work with increasing climatic changes? Exploring this further through an interesting case study of visit to Mr Bhaskar Save’s farm at Dehri Village, Umergam.
*This article is a brief from the case study done for one of the NGO.*Indian census of 2011 indicates 70% of Indians still living in rural areas. Despite all sorts of economic development in the past 2-3 decades, there are still high rates of unemployment about 49 unemployed / 1000 people in urban India and 51 unemployed / 1000 people surveyed in rural India according to (Ministry of labour and employment – GOI, 2016). Often the marginal community suffers the most. What do you hope to find in coastal Indian villages interior to a city? For some it is despair and despair and yet for others it is Despair but hope – hope for better tomorrow.
However there are stories of courage, of people who have risen from nothing to something with their own will power. And this case captures well as to how women empowerment initiatives along with alternative livelihoods and food and nutrition security initiatives for vulnerable women can come as a climate adaptive strategy.
This is story about Khatija –a fisher women, a salt pan labourer who turned to become a community mobiliser and an organic farmer.
It describes her journey to confident living and her vision for not just herself but her fellow women residents, uplifting of community and of her village as well while intacting them against climatic changes and addressing many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
March 21, 2018
Tagged alternative livelihoods, climate change, food and nutrition security, organic farming, resilience, rural development, SDG13, SDG2, SDG5, SDG8, SDT1, Women empowerment