Neither a cow nor a buffalo: the curious case of Mithun aka Gayal aka Bos frontalis semi-domestication in NE India

Often misunderstood as a domesticated type of Indian Gaur because of the similar appearance Mithun/Gayal is a unique bovine species endemic to Northeast India, Bangladesh, China, and Myanmar. It is an important cultural resource of the ethnic tribes of Northeast India, especially Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. It is the only semi-domesticated bovine species often reared in free-range conditions. The Mithun population of India are distributed unevenly across Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur, with the largest population in Arunachal followed by Nagaland. This massive and magnificent bovine produces only a single calf per year. They are often associated with playing multidimensional roles in tribal lives. It is a symbol of prestige for the ethnic communities as well as a traditional medium of exchange in the barter system.

The Climate Leadership Program 2022

The Climate Leadership Program 2022, co-hosted by Sustera, ATREE- CERC and others, collectively prioritised the top 15 solutions for a climate-resilient Kerala through month-long online discussions and an offline event at Moozhikkulam Shala, Kochi. The top 15 solutions were finalised after expert consultations.

#climatechange #climateresilience #Climatesolutions

On a journey to find where the wild things grow

Wild edibles have been part of indigenous community diets for centuries. Now chefs, scholars and farmer collectives are trying to document the medicinal and nutritional value of these wild foods. This becomes particularly relevant at a time when the younger generation of Adivasis too seems to be moving away from traditional foraging practices, lured by the packaged and processed food diet common in urban areas. ATREE Eastern Himalaya has documented 192 species of wild edibles that were used as food, consumed as medicines, and had multiple other uses (religious, cultural, etc.). “Our survey shows that the youth is exposed to ready-to-eat foods and their taste has been homogenised. They are turning away from the local wisdom of eating such seasonal wild edibles,” says Sarala Khaling.

Is the Environmental Performance Index really faulty?

Is the Environmental Performance Index really faulty? While the methodology has issues, experts say this is an opportunity for us to study where India stands. The Indian Government as well as environment experts have pointed to the faulty methodology of the index that skews the results in favour of the Global North.

Listen to this podcast with Dr. Sharad Lele as they discuss the issues in the methodology, and what the state of India’s environment is actually like.

#EPI #EnvironmentalPerformanceIndex #biodiversity #airquality #environment #India #podcast

Interview: “Feeding of any animal, including stray dogs, in public places should be stopped”

Dr Vanak says that being allowed to roam free on the streets is harmful to the dogs, human beings and other wildlife. The solution is to get as many dogs adopted as possible, and to create long-term shelters for the rest, according to Dr Vanak. He also suggests humane euthanasia for dogs that are sick or unsuitable for adoption. “These measures are in line with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, as well as WHO guidelines on rabies prevention”.

By feeding dogs on streets, many dog lovers are shirking their responsibility of taking care of these dogs fully – i.e. ensuring that these dogs have the five freedoms of animal welfare–freedom from hunger and thirst – only partially taken care of by feeding; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain and injury; freedom to express normal behaviour; freedom from fear and distress.

ETEnergyWorld: Experts discuss air pollution, innovation, India’s climate targets at environmental innovations conference

Air pollution, low carbon growth, innovations, and India’s climate commitments were some of the key themes discussed by a stellar panel consisting of various industry stakeholders on Friday at ETEnergyWorld’s virtual conference on ‘Advancing Environmental Innovations in India’ hosted by the The Energy Policy Institute (EPIC).

India’s ponds and lakes are witnessing mass fish death

Urban dwellers might not immediately or directly experience the effects of mass fish deaths or polluted lakes, ponds and other water bodies, it is crucial to recognise one’s role in the issue and take responsibility. “Without our rivers, lakes, ponds and other water bodies, India’s geography, language and culture would be very different. People are intertwined with these water bodies in material and spiritual ways. Water bodies are a crucial part of the culture of any civilisation,” points out Priya Ranganathan.

Announcing Rohini's new book: Samaaj, Sarkaar, Bazaar – A Citizen-First Approach

This August will mark the publication of Samaaj, Sarkaar, Bazaar: A Citizen-First Approach by Rohini Nilekani, a leading philanthropist, journalist and writer. The book showcases Nilekani’s learnings from her civic engagement and philanthropy over three decades. She advocates that the quest for a good society begins with positioning Samaaj as the foundational sector in order to keep the state and markets accountable to the wider public interest.

The Thar needs restoration; and greening is not the solution

Today the Thar desert is greener than it ever was. Historically, considered as vast expanse of barren dead land with no vegetation, The Thar has been a prime focus of many land improvement schemes including large scale plantations drives. Deserts are not vast unproductive wastelands, but are some of the most resilient ecosystems. Deserts are not human-free natural ecosystems but instead are complex socio-ecological landscapes. Water needs to be handled carefully in the desert. The Thar desert is not expanding, but what is seen as expansion is actually the degradation of fringing habitats of the unique Aravalli ecosystem.

Congress says new forest rules dilute tribal rights, Centre says aimed at streamlining

"The Forest Conservation Act, and the Forest Advisory Committee, which would decide on the cases of forest diversion, would earlier only look at issues of forest health, protection of wildlife species, major harm to biodiversity, the land required for compensatory afforestation in lieu of the forest diversion etc. It was only when the Forest Rights Act, 2006 was enacted that the government mandated that the rights of forest dwelling communities need to be recognised, and that they needed to be consulted before the project was sanctioned."- Sharad Lele.