Put people at the centre stage of development


Prof Madhav Gadgil delivers the 2012 TN Khoshoo Memorial Lecture on ‘Western Ghats: Nature, People and Development’

Bangalore, 8 August: “We are sinking in a bottomless pit of illusory non sustainable economic growth brought about at the cost of environmental degradation, social strife and loss of independence of policy making in the national interest,” warned Prof Madhav Gadgil, renowned environmentalist and former head of CES, Bangalore. He was delivering the 9th TN Khoshoo Meorial Lecture here today.

He spoke about how environmental misgovernance is destroying the Western Ghats and how selfish artifacts are taking over the world, entailing huge resource demands, with the environmental costs being passed on to the poor. Hope, he pointed out, lay in the democratisation and revival of community based environmental governance. “People have treasured and guarded our natural heritage and biodiversity and they need to be placed at the centre of development,” he added.

Prof Gadgil also recalled his association with the Dr. TN Khoshoo and how his support helped in the establishment and growth of the Centre for Ecological Sciences. “I am privileged to have the opportunity to pay tribute to his memory.”

Earlier, the TN Khoshoo Memorial Award for Conservation, Environment and Development 2012 was given to Dr. Vidya Athreya for her research on the dynamics of human-leopard encounters, the ecology and biology of the species, and the political and socio cultural aspects of this encounter. “Wild animals know no borders. In India, they cannot afford to because people and their livestock are everywhere. In this case, this is a secretive animal inhabiting an agrarian landscape,” says the Research Associate with Pune’s Kaati Trust, and Centre for Wildlife Studies & Asian Nature Conservation Foundation, Bangalore.

Prof Kamal Bawa, founder president of ATREE spoke of the vision of Dr. TN Khoshoo. “He spoke of sustainability as a moral and ethical responsibility, and he brought Gandhian thought to some of our pressing environmental problems. He was also visionary in that he was already about some of our more pressing issues 25 years ago.”

Biodiversity Asia 2012, the 2nd Asia Region Conference of the Society for Conservation Biology, organized by ATREE, IISc and co-organisers, also hosted the 2012 TN Khoshoo Memorial Award and Lecture this year. The TN Khoshoo Memorial Award and Lecture has been instituted to honour the memory of environmentalist, the late Dr. Triloki Nath Khoshoo, who was the first Secretary of the Department of Environment in 1982, and draughtsman of India’s environmental policy. The TN Khoshoo Memorial Award and Lecture is supported by the Khoshoo family, ATREE, and the Institute of Rural Research and Development (an initiative of the SM Sehgal Foundation).

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Dr TN Khoshoo, TN Khoshoo Memorial Award and Lecture, past winners on http://atree.org/khoshoo

Dr. Triloki Nath Khoshoo (27 April 1927 – 10 June 2002)

Dr TN Khoshoo was co-founder of the Department of Botany at Punjab University, Lahore, in pre partition India, from where he moved to Khalsa College, Amritsar, in 1947. After serving as Chairman of the Botany Department at Jammu and Kashmir University, he joined the National Botanical Gardens, Lucknow, in 1964. By 1978, this institution had developed to become the National Botanical Research Institute under his leadership.

Dr Khoshoo became the author of India’s draft environmental policy, in his role as Secretary of the newly formed Department of Environment, Government of India, in 1982. Later, he joined the Tata Energy Research Institute as a Distinguished Fellow.

Dr Khoshoo authored more than 250 research papers on plant genetics and evolution, biomass, energy, forestry, conservation, and the utilisation and management of natural resources. He wrote seven books and edited eleven others. His book ‘Mahatma Gandhi: An Apostle of Applied Human Ecology’, published in 1996, was widely applauded for its interpretation of the practical relevance of Gandhian views. In 1992 DrKhoshoo was decorated with one of India's highest civilian awards, the Padma Bhushan. He was awarded the Sasakawa Environmental Prize by the United Nations Environment Programme in 1996.

About ATREE www.atree.org
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) is a research organisation in the areas of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. It was ranked 19th among the top environmental think tanks in the world, as per the 2011 Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program survey carried out by the University of Pennsylvania, USA.

ATREE was established in 1996 by three academics who felt the need of an institution that used science to address the environmental, social and economic consequences of the decline of India’s natural resources.ATREE’s mission is to promote socially just environmental conservation and sustainable development by generating rigorous interdisciplinary knowledge that engages actively with academia, policy makers, practitioners, activists, students and wider public audiences.

ATREE is recognised as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India.