Agriculture · Climate Change · Kerala

Paddy farming in times of climate change – field notes

Guest Article by Dr. Sreeja KG and Dr. Madhusoodhanan CG

January 6, 2021– An unexpected turn of the weather in the afternoon. Rain clouds gathered from the east and a sudden downpour that lasted through the evening. Heady smells of slaked earth and a welcome respite to the day’s heat. The joy of the surprise shower overshadowed by the worry of harvested paddy in gunny sacks stacked on the field bunds. The paddy which had dried to the satisfaction of the procurement agency’s rigorous moisture tests, is now again wet. Drying it will be an added, unforeseen expense.

Continue reading “Paddy farming in times of climate change – field notes”
Climate Change · Floods

Krishna-Bhima basin floods in Oct 2020 breaks 56-year-old record

Krishna basin is again facing unprecedented floods, for the second straight year. Unprecedented is a bit of overused word these days, but consider the facts: At no less than ten locations, the Highest Flood Levels (HFL) ever recorded at those locations in the Krishna basin were surpassed (nine locations) or equaled (one location). Some of the HFLs surpassed this year were amazing 56, 51 and 44-year-old records! And imagine most of this happening in second half of Oct 2020, when South West monsoon is traditionally over by end of Sept! There is no doubt the floods were unprecedented.

Continue reading “Krishna-Bhima basin floods in Oct 2020 breaks 56-year-old record”
Climate Change · Ministry of Environment and Forests

Earth Day 2020: Can we sustain the Collateral Benefits of Covid Lockdown?

Clearer rivers[i], cleaner air, more birds and wildlife around us, reduced emissions of global warming gases, rock bottom demand of fossil fuels, quieter surroundings, view of Himalayan mountains from Jalandhar and other places, more flamingoes in Mumbai, reduced road accidents, to name a few. Can we call them collateral Benefits of Covid-19 induced lockdown? It’s true that with the kind of unprecedented sickness, misery and impacts that Covid-19 has brought, with all the attendant Hardships to the poor, the death and the sickness of thousands, it’s difficult to talk about any benefits of this episode. But on this 50th anniversary of Earth Day 2020 on April 22, a lot of people are talking about healing of the earth. (The above photo is a screenshot from official Earth Day 2020 website.)

And there is little doubt that this indirect fall out of man made Covid-19 crisis, this healing of the earth was long overdue. It has in fact brought people closer to the nature. Naturally, question arises, how can we sustain these collateral benefits of this crisis? It will of course demand a lot of doing by each of the earth resident to make it possible to sustain these benefits. Continue reading “Earth Day 2020: Can we sustain the Collateral Benefits of Covid Lockdown?”

Climate Change · Dams · Environment · Fish · Fish Sanctuaries · Fish, Fisheries, Fisherfolk · Free flowing rivers

Photoblog: Mangroves of the Aghanashini: Linking the River, Land and the Sea

This photoblog by Abhay Kanvinde takes us to mangroves of Aghanashini River Estuary in Kumta Taluk of Uttar Kannada, Karnataka. This is a special place as Aghanashini is a free flowing river with good forest cover in its entire catchment. This means that the mangroves get unhindered supply of freshwater as well as nutrients from the riverine system. This has resulted in the highest area under mangroves in Honnavar Forest Division at 169.4 hectares. Forest Department has also planted about 6 sq. kms of mangroves here, which are thriving. Continue reading “Photoblog: Mangroves of the Aghanashini: Linking the River, Land and the Sea”

Agriculture · Climate Change · Economy · Water

Water-Environment Sectors disappointment in Budget 2020

The Water & Environment sector, including the Agriculture, Environment & Forests, Urban Development, Ganga and & Other Rivers, Water Resources Ministry, Rural Employment Program and Rural Drinking Water Mission, seems to have seen disappointment from the allocations in Union Budget 2020-21 presented by the Union Finance Minister Smt Nirmala Seetharaman to the Parliament on Feb 1, 2020, most independent observers have concluded. The Budget has proposed some welcome measures in solar power and rural infrastructure sector. But on the whole, considering the situation in Water Sector & Climate Change impacts already upon us, and considering the various statements from the government, these sectors have not received the priority they deserve. Continue reading “Water-Environment Sectors disappointment in Budget 2020”

Climate Change · Disasters

GermanWatch Report: Can India not assess its Climate Risk & Vulnerability?

The Climate Risk Index Briefing Paper “GLOBAL CLIMATE RISK INDEX 2020: Who Suffers Most from Extreme Weather Events? Weather-Related Loss Events in 2018 and 1999 to 2018” released by the Environmental Think tank German Watch[i] on Dec 4, 2019[ii] made a media splash in India[iii] since the report ranked India as fifth country  (it was 14th in 2018 report) most at risk in the context of climate change.

Indeed, it is worth taking note that maximum number of deaths (2081) and Economic losses (USD 37808 million[iv], equivalent to four times country’s annual health sector budget) due to climate change happened in 2018 in India. Both these numbers were highest among the top ten Climate Risk countries of the world in 2018. This is one of the many reports which are coming out on the occasion of 25th Conference of Parties happening in Madrid (Spain) in early December 2019. Continue reading “GermanWatch Report: Can India not assess its Climate Risk & Vulnerability?”

Book Review · Climate Change

Candid, helpful book on India’s Climate Crisis

Book Review: The Climate Solution: India’s Climate-Change Crisis and What We Can Do abut It. By Mridula Ramesh. Hachette India. 2019. Pp 344 + viii.

Rarely you would see a book terming India’s Climate Challenge as CRISIS. “The Climate Solution” by Mridula Ramesh does that then explains why it is being termed as crisis, what is the science behind it. The book then goes on to provide wide range of steps to help tackle the various aspects of the crisis. All in an eminently readable form. This is certainly a better book on this important subject than whatever I have read so far. Continue reading “Candid, helpful book on India’s Climate Crisis”

Climate Change · Dams · Floods · Krishna River · Monsoon

Sangli and Narsoba Wadi: Painted Red with Record Flood levels in 2019 monsoon

Sangli, on the banks of river Krishna in Western Maharashtra faced a historic flood in Aug 2019. Nearly One Lakh people were displaced and over 30 lost their lives in this district alone. While we covered the impact of floods on the agricultural and rural fabric of Sangli in the earlier photoblogs, Sangli city with a population of more than 22 Lakhs, too suffered huge losses.

Sangli-Miraj-Kupwad Municipal Corporation is on the banks of Krishna-Warna confluence in Western Maharashtra. Both rivers reached historic High Flood Levels in the 2019 floods. Warna, in Samdoli Village, Sangli District recorded an HFL of 546.9 Meters on 09 Aug 2019, breaking all previous records. Irwin Bridge, a historic bridge built in 1929 in Sangli city, recorded a river stage that the bridge had never experienced. Sangli and the nearby region are is not new to floods and has witnessed devastating floods in 1853, 1856, 1914, 2005, 2006 and latest 2019.

Same is the story downstream. Especially in the pilgrimage center of Narsoba Wadi near Kurundwad town of Kolhapur District. Situated at the confluence of Krishna and Panchaganga, floods are not new to Narsoba Wadi. In fact, there are elaborate flood rituals, in which the deity is moved to upper precincts after each flood event. But here too, 2019 floods broke all previous records, including the 1914 HFL.

Photos, videos and brief interviews by Abhay Kanvinde (taken in September 2019), show us the extent that Krishna waters had reached and all that they had swallowed in the first two weeks of August 2019.

Continue reading “Sangli and Narsoba Wadi: Painted Red with Record Flood levels in 2019 monsoon”

Climate Change · Dam floods · Dam Induced Flood Disaster · Dams · Floods

Impacts on cropland: 2019 Maharashtra Floods

Photo-Blog 3

Flood-hit districts of Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara are leading agri-producers in Maharashtra. They are also the historic sugarcane growing regions of the state. Assured water availability and rich soils have made these regions prosperous cultivators of sugarcane, grapes, bananas, groundnuts and other oilseeds like soybeans and also vegetables. Continue reading “Impacts on cropland: 2019 Maharashtra Floods”

Art, Literature, Culture · Bangladesh · Climate Change · Environment · Fish, Fisheries, Fisherfolk

Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay’s Ichhamati: River of Epiphanies

“The banks of my pleasant Ichhamati are dotted with tiny villages, wild flowers, green trees and bird nests. In the past five hundred years, so many fishermen have cast their nets in the river, so many houses have been built, so many babies came in the arms of their mothers to take a dip in the river and then in the old age found their last bed near the cool waters of the river. I can visualise the countless who have approached this peaceful river bank through centuries. I shall write a story of about all this. This story shall be called Ichhamati.”

~ Diaries of Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, Circa 1940s Continue reading “Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay’s Ichhamati: River of Epiphanies”