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Climate Emergency

Author: Suno India

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In India, every year, the summers are getting longer, the winters harsher and the downpours intense. Floods in Assam, droughts in Tamil Nadu and growing problem of water scarcity in many states are no longer an abnormality but the new reality!There is an urgency to solve the problems caused by human induced climate change and to understand and find solutions before it is late. This is Climate Emergency and we will bring to fore and discuss the growing impact of climate change. We will also highlight and celebrate climate champions- individuals and communities who are undoing the damage done so far
26 Episodes
In a recent paper published in the Journal of Hydrology, scientists looked at climate change and their impact on river runoffs in the Dokriani Glacier in the Central Himalaya. To understand the impact of climate change on these glaciers, it was crucial to collect and analyse regional climate data from the field. It was found, over forty years of data analysis, that the glacier was in steady state before 2000. The temperature changes impact the glaciers, and as a result, the snowmelt and ice melt disappears earlier. This, in turn, impacts the runoff of the river. Experts also talk about debris cover in this paper. The lower part of the glacier has rocks that come down to the glacier when there is an avalanche. Scientists worldwide say that perhaps this debris cover could prevent the glacier from impacts of climate change. In the last 5-6 decades, glaciers have been losing their mass but the impact of climate change on melting runoff into rivers depends on the local climate. This study quantifies the snow and glacier melt at local conditions and looks at how the river runoff would be impacted in the downstream regions. This would help in planning the water resources and flood risk reduction in the rivers. As farmers heavily depend on these rivers for sowing, and this happens on a very timely basis, this data would help in water management in future.  In this episode, independent environmental journalist Sharada Balasubramanian talks to Smriti Srivastava, a research scholar from the Indian Institute of Technology, Indore, and Mohammad Farooq Azam, a glaciologist and professor from IIT Indore. Being an editorially independent platform, we rely on you to help us bring in untold stories that have the potential for social change. Do consider supporting us! See for privacy information.
In a recent paper published in the Journal of Glaciology, scientists have reported their findings from the longest ever field data from the entire Himalayan range for the first time. Chhota Sigri, a key benchmark glacier or an indicator glacier for the Lahaul-Spiti region in Himachal Pradesh, was studied to understand the effect of climate change. The data looked at various components of the glacier like mass balance, ice velocity, high altitude meteorology, glacier runoff, and their interactions with climate change. The glacier is losing its ice mass like other glaciers in the world. However, it’s not as bad as previous studies have pointed out. Also, based on The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that the Himalayan glaciers would be gone soon, it was found that the glaciers would not really disappear as predicted or talked about. The study revealed that glacier health depends on fluctuations in air temperature but summer-monsoon snowfall plays a key role in maintaining the mass of the glacier. If such summer snowfalls continue to arrive, the glaciers would sustain. Their patterns were analysed over different time periods to understand what could be the possible factors that could drive the glaciers to disappear. Over the past two decades, there was a significant slowdown inflow of the lower half of the glacier, and this was directly related to glacier mass loss or thickness reduction. However, at the higher altitudes, ice flow didn’t change much, indicating less impact of warming at higher altitudes. The glacier river runoff is tightly controlled by the air temperature, which translates to the fact that a warmer world would likely be associated with higher runoff in the Himalayan rivers.  In this episode, independent environmental journalist Sharada Balasubramanian talks to Arindan Mandal, a PhD student at JNU’s School of Environmental Sciences, and Mohammad Farooq Azam, a glaciologist, and professor at IIT, Indore. Being an editorially independent platform, we rely on you to help us bring in untold stories that have the potential for social change. Do consider supporting us! See for privacy information.
During the COVID lockdown, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate change gave many virtual environmental clearances with little or no consultation with the public. Three such environmental clearances in Mollem, Goa have given rise to Save Mollem Campaign by youth and environmental activists in Goa. They have been advocating to get the clearances cancelled and save the pristine Mollem from “development". Recently, some of the young protestors have also been arrested for their non-violent protests to stop these projects. To discuss these issues Rakesh Kamal, host of Climate Emergency talks to two young activists Gilbert Soyus and Leandra Do Carmo Souza to understand the Save Mollem campaign. See for privacy information.
Fans, one of the most used electrical appliances in India, has the potential to reduce energy demand and carbon emissions. Fans consume about 20% of the electricity in Indian households. And this number is growing rapidly, said a study from a Pune-based NGO Prayas. Versa Drives, a Coimbatore-based company made Superfans, became one of the earliest companies to produce super-efficient fans. This fan runs on just 35 watts as compared to normal fans which consume almost 75-90 watts. As the fan industry is growing, and the energy efficiency norms have changed, there is hope that energy-efficient fans could capture the mainstream fan market, and reduce the demand for energy in India. In this episode independent journalist Shardha speaks with Sundar Muruganandham, Maheshwari Krishnasamy and R Mahendran of Versa Drives and Toine van Megen, Co-Founder of Auroville Consulting to know all about these Energy efficient fans. See for privacy information.
In August this year, the Madras High Court delivered a rare, but decisive victory to the people of Thoothukudi in their fight against an industrial giant in their quarter-century battle. Thoothukudi is an industrial seaside town of 700,000 facing the Bay of Bengal in South India. The court not only denied Vedanta, the multi-billion-dollar global mining and metals conglomerate permission to resume its shuttered copper smelter, it also held the company responsible for widespread environmental degradation and severe health consequences suffered by the people of Thoothukudi as a result of sulphur dioxide poisoning.  This episode on the Climate Emergency podcast reported by journalist Kunal Shankar captures why this court order is significant to India’s environmental jurisprudence and how opposition to Vedanta has influenced the social and political dynamics of Tamil Nadu. See for privacy information.
In August this year, the Madras High Court delivered a rare, but decisive victory to the people of Thoothukudi in their fight against an industrial giant in their quarter century battle. Thoothukudi is an industrial seaside town of 700,000 facing the Bay of Bengal in South India. The court not only denied Vedanta, the multi-billion-dollar global mining and metals conglomerate permission to resume its shuttered copper smelter, it also held the company responsible for widespread environmental degradation and severe health consequences suffered by the people of Thoothukudi as a result of Sulphur dioxide poisoning. This episode on the Climate Emergency podcast reported by journalist Kunal Shankar captures the genesis of Vedanta’s entry into Thoothukudi and the beginnings of what has come to be a highly effective grassroots environmental campaign. See for privacy information.
Forest owlets are one of the most endangered and cryptic bird species in India. These birds are found only in India and nowhere else. Though the bird was first spotted in the 1880s, for almost a little over a century, the bird was not discussed by anyone. Forest owlets looked similar to spotted owlets (a more commonly seen species), and hence were often mistaken for them. After 113 years, the species was rediscovered by Pamela Rassmussen from the Smithsonian Institute. After her team spotted these birds in India, more researchers started working on forest owlets. Two research papers, one relating to the genetic research on these owlet species, and two, relating the bird’s diversification to ancient climatic change were significant in understanding the species in a better way. For the first time, genetic research was done for the owlet species in India, which led to new information that was unknown earlier. In this episode, Sharada Balasubramanian talks to various researchers about the Conundrums of the forest owlet. See for privacy information.
At a time when the voices of youth are growing louder in the climate change campaigns because it concerns their future. Delhi police has slapped UAPA (Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act) on a youth led climate change advocacy organsiation called Fridays for Future(FFF).  Fridays For Future is a global people's movement for climate justice. They are a volunteer based youth led movement with over 10000 volunteers and more than 60 branches across the country. The crime they have allegedly committed according to the Delhi police and some media reports is to spam the email of Prakash Javadekar, minister of environment forest and climate change with request to not to make amends to the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) as they believe it will impact the environment negatively. The website of FFF was pulled down from 10th July till 24th July which meant they lost a lot of time for their campaign as well. To discuss this we have with us Vaishnavi, an 18 year old volunteer from Bangalore, who completed her 12th and wants to become a lawyer. Also in this episode, we have Apar Gupta, Executive director of Internet freedom foundation who has offered pro bono legal support. Please note the link to the representation mentioned by Apar Gupta here. See for privacy information.
Students in Madhya Pradesh are documenting excess fluoride in groundwater through a citizen science project that uses smartphones and portable fluoride detection kits. The students go around villages in Alirajpur district, testing water samples from handpumps, geotagging them, and marking them as safe or unsafe. Madhya Pradesh is one of the 19 Indian states severely affected by high fluoride content in drinking water. Long-term ingestion of large amounts of fluoride can lead to dental and skeletal fluorosis. Through the project run by Columbia University researchers and local partners, the young volunteers, majorly girls, are finding a solution to the fluoride crisis by identifying the extent of the problem in their homelands. Visit Mongabay India for news and inspiration from nature’s frontline in India. The story was supported by the Solutions Journalism Network ‘LEDE’ fellowship. Download Transcript. See for privacy information.
In 2011, Cyclone Thane had a serious impact on the livelihood of farmers in Cuddalore, the eastern coast of Tamilnadu. The farmers in this region could only grow casuarina, cashew, due to the soil conditions here. After the cyclone, many farmers looked for an alternative crop. Vettiver, a perennial grass variety, turned out to be the only feasible alternative. This hard grass could survive drought, rain and tolerate salinity. Many farmers shifted to vettiver cultivation hereafter 2011. Though the state was traditionally growing this crop for bund strengthening, the practice reduced over time. A few traditional farmers still practised it. What further gave an impetus to vettiver farming in Tamilnadu was the announcement of Aroma Mission in 2016 by the Indian government. Cuddalore was declared as the hub for vettiver cultivation by the Prime Minister. Over the last five years, the acreage of vettiver plants increased in Cuddalore due to climate change, and the announcement of aroma mission. The crop made environmental and business sense, as the profits seemed good. However, the graph changed this year, with fluctuating prices. The plant is climate-resilient, good for the environment, and makes good business sense. To make vettiver a robust climate-resilient crop that also gives sustainable income to farmers, government support is needed. Farmers believe that if the government supports in marketing, setting a minimum price, gives concessions on solar pumps, and encourage exports, it would be greatly beneficial for them to sustain. See for privacy information.
In this episode, Sharada Balasubramanian set off to Vanagiri, a small fishing village, in the Nagapattinam district of Tamilnadu.  Every year, Olive Ridley turtles come here for nesting, all the way from Orissa. Local people say that in recent years, the turtle population has been declining. Also, the arrival of these turtles are now varying. In the last decade, shift to modern fishing practices, like use of destructive nets, are one among many reasons why this vulnerable species is at risk. Propellers in the boats often injure the turtles, and also leads to fatalities. In Vanagiri, a fisherman, Kutti Andi has been working on the conservation of turtles from 2009. He was roped in by the forest department to do this. Every year, Kutti Andi collects turtle eggs and keeps them safe until they hatch. After the turtle eggs hatch, he releases the little ones into the sea. Earlier, eggs were destroyed by fishermen, or even consumed by the local people. Now, with increased awareness and knowledge, local people having been coming together to collect these eggs. They safeguard the eggs until hatching. Training programmes were done by MSSRF along with the fisheries department, forest department, panchayat, and local people. The fishermen were told that for the fishes to breed, oceans need to clean, and if oceans need to be clean, turtles should be protected, as these turtles cleaned the oceans. Knowing the impacts of plastic on these turtles and on marine life, fishermen have also taken concrete steps. They have stopped taking plastic water packets to the sea. Conscious and concerted efforts through integration and collaboration from the forest department, fisheries department, NGO, panchayat, along with fishermen communities has bettered conservation of turtles in Vanagiri. See for privacy information.
Poompuhar, a quaint, ancient, port town is in the Nagapattinam district of Tamilnadu. The land has a history of a tsunami and sea-level rise, as many historians and scientists point out. The 2004 tsunami impacted the lives and livelihood of fishermen here. MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) set up ‘Fish for all Centre’ in Poompuhar, and worked with local communities on rebuilding their lives after the tsunami, and offering training programmes to better their livelihood for a sustainable income. As overfishing, and exploitation of marine resources is becoming rampant, small scale fishermen cannot depend on one source of income for a sustainable livelihood. Integrated Fish Farming was introduced by MSSRF and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to create community fishing ponds. Unutilised farm ponds were brought back to life and converted into fish ponds. Overall, 152 farm ponds were rejuvenated to convert them into fish ponds in the Nagapattinam district. Along with this fish pond, farmers also diversified their livelihood through horticulture, floriculture, apiculture and other components. By integrating these components in their farmland, fish farmers had increased incomes and could reduce their livelihood risks in times of changing climate. See for privacy information.
The videos of Kangaroos and koala bears being rescued in bushfires in Australia have made it headlines all over the world. This year the bushfires were as big as that of the whole of South Korea killing more than a billion animals in the forests and damaging millions of dollars of property. For some years, various parts of Australia have been in drought conditions which led to the spread of fires. Ahead of the bushfires, the scientists have already anticipated intense fire breakout in the country due to the hotter and drier climate conditions. They also cautioned the catastrophic and irreversible climate breakdown beyond a rise of 2C. The Paris agreement was estimated to put the world on track for 3C of heating in order to control the greenhouse gas emissions.  To know more about the bushfires in Australia, we reached out to Kaushik Sridhar, who is based out of Melbourne, and has been working in Climate change and sustainability space for more than a decade. See for privacy information.
Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) methods are said to be more resilient to climatic changes and have more nutritious yields. It enables farmers to shift out of chemical-input based agriculture to low-cost, non-chemical farming, and instead of one crop, grow many types of crops in one harvesting period. In the recent budget session, the finance minister announced that the government will promote ZBNF. In this episode of Climate Emergency, our reporter Vaishali speaks with Ramprasad Sana, from Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, to understand what it takes to practice climate resilient farming, in the context of arid and semi-arid regions of Andhra Pradesh. See for privacy information.
Women forest dwellers struggle to defend their rights to the forests in the wake of the Supreme Court judgement in the forest rights case as their rights are compromised by the threat of eviction of millions of Adivasis and forest dwellers. MAKAAM - Mahila Kisan Adhikaar Manch - a nation-wide advocacy platform was created in 2014 with a mission to visibilise women farmers – especially marginalized women, with a development vision to create and secure rights over productive livelihood resources. In this episode, we reached out to Dr Soma KP, a researcher, a policy analyst and one of the leading members of MAKAAM to know more about the organisation and the struggles of women forest dwellers. This episode also features the voices of other members of Makaam, Rajhim Khewas from Chhattisgarh and Shubhada Deshmukh from Maharashtra. See for privacy information.
Every country agrees that we need to fight Climate change but no one agrees who has to pay for it. Historically most developed countries grew unsustainably mainly by mining for oil and coal for their development. In the process releasing a great amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which causes climate change. Scientists have predicted that increasing CO2 increases temperatures and if the temperature of earth goes beyond 1.5 degrees it will lead to irreversible damage.  A UN report called "Emissions Gap report" that came in this week says that we have to cut global emissions by 7.6 percent every year for the next decade to prevent irreversible damage to climate change.  A long-standing discussion in global climate change negotiations is a demand for equitable distribution of carbon space. What it means is that we assume that only a certain amount of CO2 is released into the atmosphere to limit temperature rise by 1.5 degrees and as that space in the atmosphere is a common property and every individual has a right to it, it has to be shared equally. There are many theories that carbon space should be divided equally among countries based on population, based on their historical use, based on development etc. To discuss this concept and more we talk to Arjuna Srinidhi, a research analyst specialising in Climate Change policy, Natural Resource Management and Sustainable Development. He works with the Watershed Organisation Trust - WOTR - an NGO based in Pune and has over 10 years of experience across India and Southeast Asia working at the interface of science, policy and practice of development issues. Arjuna follows international Climate Change negotiations closely and writes extensively on the subject of Adaptation through various forums and publications. He is also the author of the book RISING TO THE CALL - Good practices of Climate Change adaptation in India and a TEDx speaker. See for privacy information.
On World Pneumonia Day, we bring this special episode which looks at the impact of air pollution on our health but most importantly those of our children. I interviewed Dr Anupam Sachdeva, Chairman, Department of Pediatric and chairman of Academics at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi. He is also the President of Indian academy of paediatrics. See for privacy information.
Every winter Delhi turns into a gas chamber with air pollution causing severe health effects making the city go standstill. But why is Delhi failing and what needs to be done to make it a better place for children to breathe and parents to live. To discuss this and more we talk to Pallavi Pant, who was originally from Delhi but now lives in Boston has over 10 years of experience in air quality measurement and management. See for privacy information.
With over 500 islands, the Andaman and Nicobar islands, with its turquoise beaches and tropical forests has been facing extreme weather events in the recent past. From tsunami to cyclonic storms, these islands have seen it all. Such extreme weather events impact the livelihood of farmers living here, as agriculture is one of the key economic activities for the locals. With no borewell, canals, dams, or huge rivers and streams, the farmers face a humungous challenge every day. Central Island Agriculture Research Institute's scientists engaged with farmers to protect the land and water, and also ensure farmers gained sustainable income through smart climate-resilient farming. See for privacy information.
On 15th August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, announced that India will ban single-use plastic from October 2nd of this year. But on 2nd October the government decided to phase out single-use plastic by 2022 instead. To discuss this issue and more Suno India reached out to Aparna Susarla, Director, Swach Cooperative. See for privacy information.
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