THE POLITICS OF SUSTAINABLITY

The years 1992 and 2015 are historic for the environment movement, wherein each of the years witnessed important treaties and conferences, redefining plethora of academic and policy initiatives of past, present and future. Be it the Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Climate Treaty, Agenda 21 or Rio Declaration on Environment and Development among others. These signal to a major shift in international commitments to both sustainability and development. Conversely, pinning down the technical, normative or political definitions of sustainability is a difficult prospect. Over the years, especially due to rising incidence of natural catastrophe, it has come to resonate more with […]

Earth Overshoot Day and Our Environment Real-Time

As per the Global Footprint Network (GFN) the world has already consumed this year’s annual budget of natural resources. Having reached its maximum limit on 1st August itself, the earth overshoot day serves as an annual report card, reminding us of our promises to reduce carbon footprint, control climate change and conserve our environment. Notably, humans already overshot nature’s annual budget in early 1970s itself and ever since this has been creeping up. Another significant fact is that every day, every minute past the overshoot day is equivalent of drawing down from the natural resource savings than living of interest. To understand […]

Energy Policy Making for Optimal Resource Management

The global oil demand is expected to remain healthy for the next few years, especially in the developing countries of Asia and Africa. Though currently suffering from a slowdown due to the US-China trade war and the rise in renewable technological innovation, one cannot simply write-off oil or for that matter any other conventional fuel like coal or gas, as it forms an integral part of the new energy mix of many nations (both developing and the developed) even today, which deploy tools of policy making for the purpose. However, the new energy mix, of the present age, brings the […]

Tibetan Plateau: Ecological Anchor of Asia

The importance of Tibet to the world’s geopolitical events is much understated. Often relegated to as the China issue, it holds enormous geopolitical and environmental significance, especially in context of Asia. As a geographical region, Tibet is a rich bed of minerals, water bodies and energy resources. It has often been referred to as the ‘Water Tower of Asia’ given that there are 10 river systems originating here, and is also considered the maker of Asian Monsoons. Chinese geologists have discovered more than 130 minerals like uranium, boron, lithium, iron etc. in Tibet. No wonder then China’s Great Leap Forward […]

The Times of ‘Anthropogenic’ Climate Change

In 2007, a team of climate experts presented a case for assuaging the global greenhouse gas emissions, in the Fourth Assessment Report of the International Panel for Climate Change. It elaborated on the impending threats: rising temperatures, change in rainfall patterns, melting of glaciers, rise of global mean sea level among others. 10 years later the reality is no different, albeit concerted efforts on part of global community have been made. Greenhouse gas emission, the primary anti-hero of the climate story, has heightened the global warming through natural or anthropogenic processes. The main sources being increased burning of fossil fuels, Deforestation […]

Oil Externalities in Times of Geopolitics of Environment

Oil- bearing areas have been subject to environmental degradation, culminating sometimes into ecological catastrophes. The advent of oil production has resulted in mass destruction of ecological resources- be it forests, aquatic systems, wildlife displacement, endangering or extinction of species and wetlands and swamps among others. Few prevalent oil related geopolitical externalities resulting in environmental damage are: Oil Spillage: The Sanchi Oil spill, possibly the largest oil spill in the last 30 years, has been stealthily causing environmental catastrophe in South China Sea. Both China, in whose 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone the accident occurred, and Japan, in who’s otherwise claimed exclusive […]

ILR AND THE HIDDEN PRICE

The world in name of globalization and development is fast destroying the very environment it inhabits. With uncontrolled emissions, melting glaciers, frequent floods and hurricanes- climate change and societal damage are a very real threat. And yet the governments world over, despite signing landmark treaties, are either backtracking or giving catastrophic environmental clearances, such as Brazil allowing for mining in the world’s largest carbon Sink- the Amazon, thereby stimulating irreversible damage to local culture and endangered species. However, joining the league are other countries like the USA and now our very own India (with the ILR scheme). India’s ILR project […]

Environment and Society

We live in a world full of paradox- social ironies and economic enigmas. As discussed in my article Geopolitics of Environmental Issues, the regions where man first settled down, like the Fertile Crescent or the Indus Valley for instance, and initiated agriculture are today also the regions with greatest number of hungry people and range of other humanitarian crisis. Environment throughout history has been fundamental in shaping the society and the cultural practices. And yet today it has become the most vindictive antihero of the society. The challenge then lies in figuring out the balance between the anthropogenic and ecological practices. […]

Environmental Lessons from Ancient Indian Literature….

At the 18th India-Russia Annual Bilateral Summit, when questioned about India’s stance on environment conservation and climate change, the honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a very emphatic answer resonating with the views of millions of Indians. He cited ancient Indian wisdom on the protection of environment and how the 5000 year old legacy still forms the core of India’s social fabric and sustainable policies. It is indeed intriguing to note that the ancient Indian literature serve as vast reservoirs of knowledge related to everything environment. Whether it is about maintaining ecological balance, weather cycles or simply protecting Earth- Vedic […]