Ashish Kothari is a well-known biodiversity expert and the founder member of Kalpavriksh, a 30-year-old environmental research and action group.He has been a member of people’s movements against destructive development projects including the Narmada dams. He coordinated the Technical and Policy Core Group to formulate India’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.
He is also a member of the Panel of Advisors of Bhoomi College.
On 1 April 2013, I put out a news item announcing that the Government of India had set a Sustainable Consumption Line, and all those consuming above that line would have action taken against them. Several readers wrote to me asking for more details, some even wanted to write to the Government congratulating it for the bold step. Eventually, of course, people figured out it was a spoof.
Say ‘protected areas’ and the first thing that will likely cross the minds of readers is Yellowstone, or Kruger, or Kanha, or Great Barrier Reef, or whatever other iconic government designated site you may be familiar with in your region. Chances are, you won’t think of Coron Island, or Khonoma, or Mandingalbay Yidinji. What, you might say, are these?
Amongst the recent top biodiversity stories are the release of the national estimate of tigers, and revelations of the possible causes of the mass deaths of gharials in central India. Both stories point not only to the failure of our wildlife conservation strategies, but to the dangers of a path to ‘development’ that fragments and poisons nature. Both are indicators of the increasing collapse of ecological systems that will ultimately backfire on humans themselves - unless we do something drastically different, and dramatically fast.