Some reasons why you shouldn't burn up your Money this Diwali

Instead use it to help advance environmental and social justice across India

1 November, 2018

Our best wishes to you, your family and friends on this festive occasion.



But if you consider there are better uses for your money than to burn it this Diwali, do consider supporting work that advances environmental and social justice..


Some of our recent initiatives include:


Sathodi Falls

ESG drew attention to the inherent contradictions and dangers of evolving Karnataka's Forest and Wildlife Conservation Vision Document 2030 guided by Dutch consultancy KPMG, as the Karnatataka Forest Department has now proposed. Working with representatives from various other organisations, ESG was able to convince the department of the need to rethink this approach. We are now working to ensure that Karnataka's Vision Document for saving forests and forest rights, and for conserving biodiversity and protecting associated traditional knowledge, is the outcome of a Consitutionally mandated democratic proces, and the Vision is evolved in a transparent and accountable manner.  Read more this intiative here. Also read Huffington Post, The Hindu, Countercurrents and The New Indian Express.

CRZBNF ReviewAndhra Pradesh has launched an unprecedented farming revolution by proposing the state's 6 million (60 lakhs) farms convert to natural farming in 3-5 years by adopting the Subhash Palekar Spiritual Farming approach. United Nations Environment Programme has enlisted French BNP Paribas to co-finance the programme (approx. $ 2.3 billion = Rs. 17,000 crores). Support funding is coming in from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives, etc. Wil this model really help secure farmers interests and also advance food and livelihood security in India? Find out in ESG's recent report A Review of Andhra Pradesh's Climate Resilient Zero Budget Natural Farming Programme


Earlier this year, the Indian Government proposed a Draft National Forest Policy advancing privatisation and re-colonisation of India's forests by corporate interests.  ESG helped mobilise nation-wide response to this regressive policy, and received support from various quarters including former Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.  Consistent effort is necessary to ensure such regressive policies are resisted, so India's forests and biodiversity rich natural ecosystems like grasslands and wetland ecosystems, and associated rights, are secure. Read more here.


landfillFor over two decades now, ESG has helped advance rights of Pourakarmikas (Solid waste workers) by changing peoples' attitudes to waste and workers who deal with our waste. These efforts include advancing rights of villagers and marginalised communities who suffer consequences of the city dumping waste in their commons.  ESG's Public Interest Litigation efforts in the High Court of Karnataka has resulted in progressive directions, one outcome of which is the improved Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016. But there is a lot more to do to ensure waste management is progressive. Read more in Bangalore Toxic Legacy Intensifies.


IISC Beerappa's Angst screening

Questioning 'development' now is considered 'anti-national'. In the face of such reactive reasoning, ESG continues to advance concerns of over 300,000 villagers of Challakere, Chitradurga impacted adversely by the massive military-industrial-nuclear-energy complex.  State agencies, Private Foundations, and just about everybody have forgotten these communities exist.  We continue to work with them to help secure their rights. Beerappa's Angst explains why you must care.


Vinay Sreenivasa in Ward Committee Workshop

 Part of our effort in advancing social and environmental justice, is to constantly engage with diverse communties and assit them in responding to the complex challenges of our times.  Through the "How To" Workshop series, we build competence of diverse communities to understand complex concerns and to equip them with skills to develop solution responses.  Some of these workshops have addressed the need for engagement with Ward Committees, whilst others have addressed how to keep our neighbourhoods healthy and secure for all, especially children



We also continue to... 


Lakes and their canals have always been protected as commons and maintained by local communities to advance water and ecological security. In recent decades they have been neglected, and hundreds of lakes have been encroached and polluted, especially in cities like Bangalore. ESG has worked over decades in mobilising public opinion and State and Judicial action in conserving lakes for posterity, a process that has gained global attention and recognition from UN Water. These efforts have succeeded in putting a stop to privatisation of lakes and advancing lake governance by local Lake Protection Committees. There is plenty more to do to protect the remaining 38000 lakes in Karnataka (10,000 lakes disappeared in the past three decades) to help build water and ecological security for millions, and shelter us from the worst excesses of climate change. More details here.



When we raised concerns that India's first genetically modified food, B.t. Brinjal, advanced by Mahyco/Monsanto, in collaboration with various public universities, a programme supported by USAID, is a product of biopiracy, few took us seriously. We persisted in our efforts though, and secured the support of the Indian Parliament, Ministry of Environment and Forests, National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) and Karnataka Biodiversity Board (KBB) in initiating unprecedented criminal proceedings against Monsanto. Alongside, efforts are underway to tackle weaknesses in Biodiversity Act that allow backdoor entry for corporate plunder of India's bioresources. More details here.


And there are many more reasons why you would want to contribute on ESG's website.



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