July 2015



The theme for 2015 is how the well-being of humanity, the environment and economies ultimately depends on the responsible management of the planet's natural resources.

Women's Feature Service brings you some features from its achieve on the issue.

The subject matter is a particularly dominant as there's room for everyone to take a moment to ask how they live and how it impacts climate change and its effect on planet. The theme asks everyone to review our habits: how we live.

Pakistan :
Mighty Indus On Its Deathbed
 By Massoud Ansari

The Indus was a cornucopia of riches for the fishermen who lived along its banks in the Sindh Province of Pakistan. The mighty river has, however, dried up causing an acute water shortage. Not only are those who lived on the banks of this river and depended on it for a livelihood without any source of income, they are also plagued by diseases caused by the unusable water that is being supplied to them.

* According to the Sindh Irrigation Department, seawater intrusion has resulted in a tidal infringement of over 12,20360 acres of land in the Indus Delta - 33 per cent of the total land in the two districts of Badin and Thatta in southern Sindh.

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Poverty on Lake of Plenty
By Manipadma Jena

The plight of the fishing communities whose livelihood depends on Orissa's bountiful Chilka Lake is evidence enough of the darker side of globalisation. And women, who have traditionally played a pivotal role in the dynamics of the family economy as well as that of the community, have been increasingly marginalised as a result of economic liberalisation, booming shrimp exports and over-exploitation of Chilka Lake's waters.

* "Where one-acre of paddy cultivation employed eight women, a 100-acre shrimp pond needs only two men to guard it."

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How Safe Is My Baby?
By V Radhika

When the stork comes calling, it is celebration time not just for the parents but also for the booming baby product industry. It means another customer of diapers, baby formula, baby food, lotions, toys, and so on. But how many of these products are really safe? In these times of tainted formula and toxic toys, Toronto-based documentary filmmaker and new mother Min Sook Lee set out to look for safe, sane and affordable ways to raise her daughter, Song Ji. The result: 'My Toxic Baby', a powerful documentary that looks at a child's exposure to chemicals and the appalling absence of regulations governing the baby products flooding the market.

* 'Baby industrial complex is an offshoot of capitalism and parenting fears sort of twinned together right so you'll buy, buy, buy your way out of your insecurity or guilt.'

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Climate Change Leaves Fisherman at Sea
By Papri Sri Raman

For the thousands living along and off the long coastline of India, climate change is a harsh reality. Speaking at a public hearing on climate change in Puducherry - organised by Oxfam India along with other NGOs - fisherwomen, salt pan workers and coastal farmers explained how rising seas have consumed coconut groves; how altered wind patterns threaten fisherman at sea; and how global warming robs families of livelihood, security and education.

* 'March and April were good seasons 30 years ago, there was a good shrimp season. Every fisherman then caught at least 10 kg of fish. Now this has fallen to just 1 kg.'

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Life By This Lakeside Is Far From Idyllic
By Shwetha E. George

Kerala's water-bodies are the greatest contributors to the food security of the state. The nutrient value of sardines, mackerel, tuna and other pelagic fish is a blessing to the 10 per cent coastal population here. But for the hard working people of Mattapally, a small village by the banks of the massive Vembanad Lake in Kottayam district separated from the Arabian Sea by a narrow barrier island, global warming, along with land reclamation, is destroying the black clams they harvest for a living.

* 'Even when my husband takes six hours to fish, all he can bring home is hardly one basket which will yield less than a kilo of meat.'

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In Desert Country, Climate Change Clouds The Future
By Renu Rakesh

For thousands of men and women in the rain-fed regions of the country adjoining the Thar desert, climate change is a deathly reality. Shrinking grazing lands, plummeting ground water levels, the increased use of harmful fertilisers, and shriveled crops are compelling humble farmers in northwestern India, ever so dependent on the vagaries of the monsoon, to migrate, seek manual labour, and even buy the food that they once harvested with ease.

* 'There is a festival called Jood-Shital, or Satuaani, which earlier marked the onset of summers. Mango trees started fruiting by this time. Now there is no guarantee that summer will begin around Satuaani.'

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Women Answer the Climate Call
By Taru Bahl

Gaindi Bullamma from Andhra Pradesh's tribal area strode confidently onto the stage to share her experience at a public meeting in New Delhi. Hers is a story of courage, for she and others in her community are successfully fighting not human adversaries but nature at its most fearful. Climate change is a reality today but it is not uniform in its impact and the experience of men and women is dissimilar, simply because women's lives in the rural hinterland are still intertwined with water, earth and jungle produce. Until now women have been battling this with their own adaptation responses. But the time has come to build on this more strategically. So, hundreds of women from the Dalit, Muslim and Adivasi communities descended on the Capital, recently, to participate in a unique Climate Change Tribunal.

* 'The bonding amongst women who have never stepped out of their villages was palpable. Ideas, skin tones and dialects merged to resonate with one voice that seemed to ask for alternatives that could enable them to survive with dignity.'

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