Category Archives: Environment

Sea Turtle with Straw up its Nostril – “NO” TO PLASTIC STRAWS

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BISHNOI – The environment and wildlife defender activist community of India (since centuries)

Source : https://bishnoisamachar.in and Wikipedia

Bishnoi (also known as Vishnoi and Prahladapanthi) is a Hindu religious sect found in the Western Thar Desert and northern states of India. They follow a set of 29 principles/commandments given by Guru Jambheshwar (1451-1536). Jambheshwar founded the sect at Samrathal Dhora in 1485 and his teachings, comprising 120 shabads, are known as Shabadwani. He preached for the next 51 years, travelling across India.

The Bishnoi community of Rajasthan state of India has been in limelight ever since the case against Bollywood actor Salman Khan for poaching the blackbuck (also known as “black deer” by locals) started. Bishnois are known for their devout religious commitment to protect environment and wildlife, many times even laying their lives for the cause.

Here’s some more information about the incredible community:

Bishnoi sect was founded by Guru Jambheshwar (1451-1536), also known as Jambhaji. Some writers have used the term Vishnoi, meaning followers of  Lord Vishnu but sect members refer to themselves as Bishnoi. Jambheshwar himself did not refer to Bishnoi but does mention Vishnu. Adherents are also known as Prahladapanthi because of their devotion to Prahlada, another Hindu deity.

Jambheshwar announced a set of 29 tenets. These were contained in a document called Shabadwani, written in the Nagri script, which consists of 120 shabads. Of his 29 tenets, ten are directed towards personal hygiene and maintaining good basic health, seven for healthy social behaviour, and four tenets to the worship of God. Eight tenets have been prescribed to preserve bio-diversity – although most adherents are unaware of that, or such things as global warming, as a concept – and encourage good animal husbandry. These include a ban on killing animals and felling green trees, and providing protection to all life forms. The community is also directed to see that the firewood they use is devoid of small insects. Wearing blue clothes is prohibited because the dye for colouring them is obtained by cutting a large quantity of shrubs.

The Bishnoi have various temples, of which they consider the most holy to be that in the village of Mukam in Nokha tehsil, Bikaner district, Rajasthan. It is there that a shrine to Jambheshwar exists.

The Bishnoi narrate the story of Amrita Devi, a member of the sect who inspired as many as 362 other Bishnois to go to their deaths in protest of the cutting down of Khejri trees in September 1730. The maharaja of Jodhpur, Abhay Singh, requiring wood for the construction of a new palace, sent soldiers to cut trees in the village of Khejarli, which was called Jehnad at that time. Noticing their actions, Devi hugged a tree in an attempt to stop them. Her family then adopted the same strategy, as did other local people when the news spread. She told the soldiers that she considered their actions to be an insult to her faith and that she was prepared to die to save the trees. The soldiers did indeed kill her and others until Abhay Singh was informed of what was going on and intervened to stop the massacre.

Some of the 363 Bishnois who were killed protecting the trees were buried in Khejarli, where a simple grave with four pillars was erected. Every year, in September, the Bishnois assemble there to commemorate the sacrifice made by their people to preserve their faith and religion.

The 29 tenets of Bishnois state:

  1. Observe 30 days’ state of ritual impurity after child’s birth and keep mother and child away from household activities.
  2. Observe 5 days’ segregation while a woman is in her menses.
  3. Take bath daily in the morning before Sunrising.
  4. Obey the ideal rules of life: Modesty, Patience or satisfactions, cleanliness.
  5. Pray two times everyday (morning and evening).
  6. Eulogise God, Vishnu, in evening hours (Aarti)
  7. Perform Yajna (Havan) with the feelings of welfare devotion and love.
  8. Use filtered water, milk and cleaned firewood.
  9. Speak pure words in all sincerity.
  10. Practice forgiveness from heart.
  11. Be merciful by heart.
  12. Do not steal or keep any intention to do it.
  13. Do not condemn or criticize.
  14. Do not lie.
  15. Do not indulge in dispute/debate.
  16. Fast on Amavasya.
  17. Worship and recite Lord Vishnu in adoration
  18. Have merciful on all living beings and love them.
  19. Do not cut green trees, save the environment.
  20. Crush lust, anger, greed and attachment.
  21. Cook your food by yourself.
  22. Provide shelters for abandoned animals to avoid them from being slaughtered in abattoirs.
  23. Do not sterilise bull.
  24. Do not use or trade opium.
  25. Do not smoke or use tobacco or its products.
  26. Do not take bhang or hemp.
  27. Do not drink alcohol/liquor.
  28. Do not eat meat, always remain pure vegetarian.
  29. Don’t use violet blue colour extracted from the indigo plant.

“उणतीस धर्म की आंकड़ी, हृदय धरियो जोय। जाम्भोजी जी कृपा करी नाम विश्नोई होय ।”

“If you daily follow these 29 rules of Bishnois in your daily life then I assure you that you will live a joyful and happy life.”

बिश्नोई के 29 नियम साधारण भाव के साथ :-

1.  प्रतिदिन प्रात:काल स्नान करना।
2.  30 दिन जनन – सूतक मानना।
3.  5 दिन रजस्वता स्री को गृह कार्यों से मुक्त रखना।
4.  शील का पालन करना।
5. संतोष का धारण करना।
6.  बाहरी एवं आन्तरिक शुद्धता एवं पवित्रता को बनाये रखना।
7. तीन समय संध्या उपासना करना।
8. संध्या के समय आरती करना एवं ईश्वर के गुणों के बारे में चिंतन करना।
9. निष्ठा एवं प्रेमपूर्वक हवन करना।
10. पानी, ईंधन व दूध को छान-बीन कर प्रयोग में लेना।
11. वाणी का संयम करना।
12. दया एवं क्षमाको धारण करना।
13. चोरी, 14. निंदा, 15. झूठ तथा 16. वाद – विवाद का त्याग करना।
17. अमावश्या के दिनव्रत करना।
18. विष्णु का भजन करना।
19.  जीवों के प्रति दया का भाव रखना।
20. हरा वृक्ष नहीं कटवाना।
21. काम, क्रोध, मोह एवं लोभ का नाश करना।
22. रसोई अपने हाध से बनाना।
23. परोपकारी पशुओं की रक्षा करना।
24. अमल नहीं खाना
25. तम्बाकू नहीं खाना
26. भांग नहीं खाना
27. मद्य तथा नहीं खाना
28. नील का त्याग करना।
29. बैल को बधिया नहीं करवाना।

29 नियम श्लोक रूप में :-

तीस दिन सूतक, पांच ऋतुवन्ती न्यारो।
 सेरो करो स्नान, शील सन्तोष शुचि प्यारो॥
 द्विकाल सन्ध्या करो, सांझ आरती गुण गावो॥
 होम हित चित्त प्रीत सूं होय, बास बैकुण्ठे पावो॥
 पाणी बाणी ईन्धणी दूध, इतना लीजै छाण।
 क्षमा दया हृदय धरो, गुरू बतायो जाण॥
 चोरी निन्दा झूठ बरजियो, वाद न करणों कोय।
 अमावस्या व्रत राखणों, भजन विष्णु बतायो जोय॥
 जीव दया पालणी, रूंख लीला नहिं घावै।
 अजर जरै जीवत मरै, वे वास बैकुण्ठा पावै॥
 करै रसोई हाथ सूं, आन सूं पला न लावै।
 अमर रखावै थाट, बैल बधिया न करवौ॥
 अमल तमाखू भांग मांस, मद्य सूं दूर ही भागै।
 लील न लावै अंग, देखते दूर ही त्यागे॥
“उन्नतीस धर्म की आखड़ी, हिरदै धरियो जोय।
जाम्भे जी किरपा करी, नाम बिष्नोई होय॥”
Guru Jambheshwar

Here’s looking at you, India

Source : Arunabha Ghosh ; http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/paris-climate-agreement-heres-looking-at-you-india-4686501/

As US withdraws from the Paris pact, it’s time the world recognised the real climate leaders

Who is a climate leader? The Paris Agreement on climate change happened, in part, because of the bold political will of several world leaders, and in part for the United States, taking a legal form which would not require Congressional approval. Now that President Donald Trump has finally taken a decision for the US to exit the Agreement, it is time for the world to recognise the real climate leaders. India is one of them. But it needs to speak up.

In anticipation of the US withdrawal, at the G7 summit in Sicily, the six other members (and the European Union) reaffirmed their commitment to the Agreement. This week, China and the EU will announce that they are forging an alliance to deliver a “decisive response” against climate change and “lead the energy transition” to a low-carbon economy.

In November 2014, a similar statement issued by China and the US had also created the impression that they were the true climate leaders. Reality is less black and white. With a target of 2 degree Celsius, between 2011 and 2030, China, the EU and the US would together corner at least 38 per cent of the world’s total permissible emissions up to 2100. If the world targeted only 1.5 degree Celsius, then, by 2030, these three regions would consume 95 per cent of the entire world’s nearly century-long carbon budget.

With the US withdrawal, that carbon space would shrink even more and faster. Latest evidence shows the EU’s emissions increased in 2015. Renewables supply 30 per cent of Germany’s electricity (a huge share) but coal and lignite account for 40 per cent. China proposed in January that coal consumption would rise to 4.1 billion tonnes in 2020, even as it stakes its claim to being a global renewable energy leader. None of this is unvarnished climate leadership.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated India’s commitment to the Paris Agreement this week. Yet, there is still limited recognition of what India is already doing on the ground. It is an irony that China (the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter) becomes the climate leader, by default. Climate leadership is not a crown to be worn by only one country. Countries will be judged by actions, not words, just as Trump said. India must emphasise (loudly) the five pillars of its climate leadership in action.

One, policy. In 2010 India’s National Solar Mission commenced with a target of installing 22,000 megawatts (MW). At the time, India’s total installed capacity was 17.8 MW. The world’s leading solar countries were Germany, Spain, Japan, US and Italy. India was at 10th place. In 2014, India asked itself a simple question: How big can we get on renewables? And by early 2015, India announced that by 2022, it would install 1,00,000 MW of solar, 60,000 MW of wind, 10,000 MW of small hydropower and 5,000 MW of biomass-based electricity capacity.

There are sceptics, at home and abroad, who question whether the targets are too ambitious or whether India is capable of meeting them so soon. They might be right. After all, India is trying to do in less than a decade what took Germany more than two decades to achieve. But the targets have set a direction of travel, creating an attractive market, giving confidence to investors, even nudging policy planners to design an electricity system which could accommodate renewable energy, even if thermal power were squeezed out.

Two, programmes. In addition to policies, India has demonstrated its willingness and ability to scale programmes nationwide and rapidly, which serve to drive a shift towards cleaner fuels while also increasing energy access.

According to government data, 238 million LED lightbulbs have been distributed through an innovative programme of advanced market commitments, driving prices down from above INR 300 in 2014 to under INR 50 now. Another example: The Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme for LPG has become the world’s largest cash transfer programme, drawing in 176.3 million households, triggering both subsidy reform and access to cleaner cooking fuels.

Three, prices. Whereas many European countries pushed renewable energy through consumer subsidies, India adopted a reverse auction-based competitive bidding process for solar. That has meant that the lowest tariffs have dropped from INR 10.95 (USD 0.17) in December 2010 to INR 2.44 (USD 0.038) in May 2017. Competitive bidding in wind, introduced in February 2017, resulted in bids falling to INR 3.46. Can renewable energy prices fall any further? CEEW analysis shows that the cost of finance, rather than the cost of technology, accounts for the largest share of the tariffs — a challenge even greater in several developing countries. If India can find ways to reduce investor risks, and lower the cost of finance, it would hold lessons for others on how a combination of transparent bidding and publicly funded risk guarantees could drive a clean energy transition.

Four, productivity. Climate change is already impacting India, with increasing water stress and billions of dollars of lost agricultural output during this century. Could India increase agricultural production, while reducing water and energy intensity? Converting 15 per cent of India’s irrigation pumpsets to solar would create 20,000 MW of solar capacity. If various factors (cropping patterns, bank credit, etc.) align, CEEW’s analysis finds that 39 per cent of India’s districts would have a moderate to high potential of deploying solar pumps. Again, this has lessons for many other developing countries.

Five, partnerships. In November 2015, India and France launched the International Solar Alliance (ISA). The ISA plans to aggregate demand to drive prices down, scale up technologies currently available, and pool resources to invest in solar R&D. Thirty one countries have signed its Framework Agreement already. Among other initiatives, the ISA is seeking common risk mitigation instruments, to hedge risks across its membership and beyond in order to leverage limited public funds and crowd in large flows of private investment. We must acknowledge two realities. First, the rest of the world will have to continue to act on climate change, regardless of what the US does. Secondly, the mantle of climate leadership cannot be held by just one country.

For its level of income and per capita emissions, India is doing disproportionately more than many of the larger polluters. It must speak confidently about its actions and its leadership for other countries.

The writer (Arunabha Ghosh) is CEO, Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) and co-author of ‘Climate Change: A Risk Assessment’ (2015) and ‘Energising India’ (2016)  

Why cows for Hindus are holy? -by Karolina Goswami

Green Highways Policy

The Union government is all to unveil its Green Highways policy soon.

Details of the policy:

  • Under the policy, bushes and trees will be grown along all the highways in a phased manner.
  • The plan is to grow three layers of trees and bushes. The first will be of bushes so that if a vehicle goes off the road, it does not collide with something life-threatening. The second will be of medium-sized trees and the last will be of tall fruit trees. Only species indigenous to the area would be planted.

Purpose of this policy:

The purpose of this policy is to promote the greening of highway corridors with the participation of the local community, including local contractors and the local Forest Department. The latent objective was to generate employment.

Investment:

The investment in the project would be Rs. 1,000 crore this year. It is 1% of the Rs. 1,00,000-crore investment in national highway projects in the year.

Benefits of this policy:

  • The community will gain in terms of huge employment opportunities and entrepreneurship development
  • Huge environmental benefits are also associated with this policy.
  • The local community will get the rights to the non-timber produce from the trees.

Participation:

A wide cross-section of agencies would participate in the project. Those eligible include government or private companies, NGOs registered as societies, trusts or private limited non-profit companies, and producer organisations.

Targets:

The government has also laid down strict targets for the companies growing and maintaining trees. The minimum survival rate is 90%. Only after reaching this level will a company get the required money from the Ministry in the next year.