I’ve come across two very interesting pieces on India recently that I want to share.
The first is a short set of photos taken by a British man originally born in Kolkata (Calcutta). His name is Gerry Judah, and he is an artist now working with the international NGO Christian Aid to show how people are dealing with climate change.
In particular Judah attempts to show the every day struggles of poor people. And especially the plight of subsistence farmers, who make up about 40% of the population, and will suffer the most from climate change.
Click on the link the UK Guardian article here for the pictures.
My favorite is photo number 7, of youth studying by solar lanterns powered by biomass, which in this case is cow dung. Off-grid electricity is the future for the 400 million Indians living without electrical power (worldwide, a billion and a half people don’t have electricity).
Switching gears, the other article I found both interesting and inspiring was in the New York Times, “From Arunachal Pradesh, a Tribe Offers Lessons in Ecology“. Brian Orland writes about the climate and development challenges facing this rice growing region. Will the local people “salvage the system of cooperative leadership and reciprocal labor-sharing that has delivered them such bountiful paddy harvests for the past 500 years? Or should they seize the opportunities of higher education, political party patronage and diversification into cash crops?” This is a question facing many communities in India and around the world.
Orland mentions the creation of an organization called Ngunu Ziro, or “Our Ziro.” To help adapt to climate changes, Ngunu Ziro supports women’s self-help groups for income generation and organizes eco-camps to teach Apa Tani children about their natural environment. Its current campaign, dubbed “Zero Waste,” encourages ecologically friendly waste management practices like segregating trash into its recyclable components.
The coming environmental and cultural changes will be challenging, to say the least. There is a lot we can learn from tribal, indigenous and native peoples, not to mention artists, if we listen.