Published 11 February 2009
Environment , Friends , India , Politics & Policy , Service , Travel & Adventure
Tags: bird watching, birds, corruption, development, Environment, environmental protection, ornithology, Ousteri, Ousteri Lake, Pondicherry, Puducherry, Ramsa site
When the Government of Pondicherry takes decisive action in favor of environmental protection, one thing is for certain: there is more to the story than meets the eye.
Here is the astounding-but-true story of the designation of Ousteri Lake, Pondicherry’s largest water body, as an “Important Bird Sanctuary,” thereby providing a significant legal tool to stop the industrial development which is ravaging its watershed.
Continue reading ‘Accidental Environmentalism’
Published 26 January 2009
Environment , India , Service
Tags: Awards, coastal erosion, Environment, Govind SIngh Gujar, Ousteri, planning, Pondicherry, PondyCAN, Probir Banerjee, Puducherry, Republic Day, Shuddham
This morning, in a Republic Day ceremony with only a smattering of the brainless pomp that usually characterizes Indian public events, Lieutenant Governor Govind Singh Gurjar honored our dear friend and colleague Probir Banerjee for his extraordinary devotion to voluntary service to the people of Pondicherry.
It is shameful that I am only now, upon the prompting of this recognition, writing about Probir. He is not only one of the extraordinary people who cause me to call Pondicherry “home” for half of each year, he is very much the ringleader of that inspiring clique.
Continue reading ‘The True Face of Heroism in India’
Published 1 October 2008
Environment , India , Politics & Policy , Service
Tags: Balamohan, beach, beaches, coast, corruption, democracy, development, Environment, erosion, government, Govind Singh Gurjar, Khairwal, Pondicherry, port, protest, Puducherry, rule of law, Thiru. V. Vaithilingam, Valsaraj
Yesterday was a good day for democracy in Pondicherry. The people took to the streets to protest a government which, time-and-again, deftly protects the private interests of its corrupt officials, disregards the public good, and holds itself to be above the law.
The issue concerns the ongoing battle over the illegal concession given to a private developer by former Chief Secretary Khairwal and Minister Valsaraj to build a huge port complex in the heart of this tiny heritage town, and the vast environmental, economic, and social devastation this development will cause.
Continue reading ‘The People Fight Back’
Published 21 August 2007
Blogs & Blogging , Environment , India , Politics & Policy , Service
Tags: Desicritics, disposal, ecology, Environment, environmentalism, filth, garbage, India, Indian bureaucracy, Indian Railways, Institute of Civil Engineers, Lalu Prasad Yadav, litter, poison, pullution, ragpicking, railroad, recycling, rubbish, sanitation, solid waste, toilet, toxic, toxins, train, train tracks, trains, trash
Much of what I write on this bog is frivolous — but some of it is quite serious. And sometimes — just sometimes — things reach the proper audience.
I received encouraging news today from Aaman Lamba, publisher of the wonderful forum Desicritics, that my essay on the huge garbage problem on Indian Railways was been posted on the online discussion forum of Indian Railways Institute of Civil Engineers. (I had cross-posted the piece on Desicritics, which was where it was picked up.) Who knows if this will generate any real attention, much less action. Typical of Indian engineers, there has been much buzz about triviality and process (in this case, how to resize my photos), and no substantive commentary as of yet. But the fact that someone noticed and posted the essay is a good start.
Continue reading ‘Indian Railways Institute of Civil Engineers Takes Notice of “Trash on the Tracks”’
Published 18 March 2007
Environment , India
Tags: biodegradable, Cafe Coffee Day, coffee, conservation, corporate policy, disposable, Environment, environmentalism, garbage, India, plastic, plastic cup, plastic lid, recycling, resource management, rubbish, single-use, solid waste, straw, trash, vegan
One of our guilty pleasures in India is the delicious vegan shake made by Café Coffee Day – even when we are not traveling with John, who eats based on principles of compassion which rule out dairy products. Iced espresso mixed with sweetened soy cream yields an irresistibly thick, frosty, dessert-drink.
Continue reading ‘A Lot of Environmental Thoughtlessness Can Happen over Coffee’