Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Involve women in countering climate change

Climate Change is one of the most pressing issues which we humans have to face today.

Extreme weather and natural disasters are more common now and the results real enough for you and me to feel. Devastating floods in Asia and Africa, a deadly European heat wave, the wreckage of hurricanes in the Americas are all the obvious signs.

Inspite of media coverage and raising of public awareness many governments are adopting a wait and watch attitude. Unquestionably climate change will affect everyone in the world. But strangely it is women who are, inspite of being the most vulnerable, are the best equipped to help curb the effects. Governments have to look at mitigation measures to slow down global warming and adaptation of measures to decrease the consequences.

In every society, men and women have distinct responsibilities, knowledge and needs which are essential to addressing the effects of climate change. Women’s historic disadvantages, their restricted access to resources and information and their limited power in decision making, make them the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

As the majority of the world’s poor, women are disproportionately affected by swift environmental changes. Even in the rich USA, hurricane Katrina, hit poor African-American women the most. As climates change, access to basic needs and natural resources becomes a challenge. Natural disasters often reinforce traditional gender roles.

Rural women in developing countries are still largely responsible for securing food, water and energy for cooking and heating. Drought, deforestation and erratic rainfall cause women to work even harder to secure these resources. Women therefore have less time to earn an income, get an education or provide care to their families. Girls regularly have to drop out of school to help mothers gather wood for fuel and collect water.

In nearly all societies, women still have unequal access to information and capital and less power to make decisions. During natural disasters often many more women die than men because they aren’t warned, can’t swim, or can’t leave the house alone. Women usually have fewer assets than men to recover from natural disasters, and they often don’t own land that can be sold to secure income in an emergency. Women also make up the majority of the worlds agricultural labourers and rely heavily on fertile land and regular rainfall.

Climate Change fuels conflict and a shortage of natural resources will lead to conflict which magnifies gender inequalities. While men are more likely to be killed or injured in fighting, women suffer greatly from the indirect consequences of conflict.

However women can be key agents of adaptation to climate change. Their responsibilities in households, communities and as stewards of natural resources position them well to develop strategies for adapting to environmental realities. Women tend to share information related to community well being, choose less polluting energy sources and adapt more easily to environmental changes when their family’s survival is at stake.

Global climate change negotiations including the UNFCCC and the Kyoto protocol have never considered this aspect at all. They should, its about time the world realised the enormous role women play in the web of life and give her due when it is so desperately needed now.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Birding in Bangalore!

This picture was taken by birder Deepa Mohan and loaded on the email forum bngbirds where hundreds of birders log in and cite their exciting birding outings. Apparently bird watching has become the second most enjoyable hobby in the world of hobbies and seems to be growing.

I love birds and have begun to notice them through the eyes of this site. I have also begun to write about the more common ones to sensitize readers about the birds that live alongside us in our cities and their outskirts.

Today there is an excited post from Naveen Swamy who spotted 26 pelicans flying in formation towards the Hebbal lake. Swamy and friends were playing frisbee on the Police Grounds on MG Road. "it surely made our day :)" he said.

Take a look at the pics. You can see the birders are of all ages and truly enjoy their Sunday morning outings on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Sunday of every month.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pictures tell stories of their own!

An environment journalist - Joydeep Mukherjee based in Kolkatta has won UNDP prizes for the attached pictures. I think its amazing how pictures can tell a story. No matter how much we journalists write, without that all important picture our story makes no sense!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mad about Scaly Breasted Munias!

Its been fun, working THREE stories on Scaly Breasted Munias for the Hindu, Travel Karnataka and for Furs Fins and Feathers. Each has its own policy and so each story is so very different.

I got so many GREAT pics from birders across the country. Considering the bird is little at 11cm the pics are amazing. Just check them out, I loved them and look forward to seeing how Mini uses it in the Hindu and then of course the spread in Travel Karnataka and Furs Fins and Feathers!

Check out the pic and keep an keep an out for the bird. Its nesting time!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Is this going to become common place in Bangalore as well? It might just be, 'cause we are building up and drying out all the lakes and where water used to collect in the earlier days. When it rains heavily there is no where for this water to run off into and that can be fatal.

This picture is obviously from one of the coastal areas where the water does not go down, with inexorable sea level rise. I wonder how many will keep smiling for the camera especially when diseases like cholera and malaria besides the debilitating Chikangunya and Dengu hit.

I think our administrators have to be stopped when they start drying out tanks and encroaching on wetlands. Otherwise, this is the soon to be common scenario in all cities, not just the coast.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Furniture brands from the 18th century!

During a recent visit to the Fernhill Palace belonging to the Mysore Maharaja in Ooty, what caught my eye was the fabulous collection of branded furniture which the Palace showcases.Every piece was a collectors delight and obviously the Maharajas not only had deep pockets, but impeccable taste.

Take a look at them, they have withstood the test of time for over a century. How many pieces of furniture that we buy today can be used for more than a couple of years at best before something gives way and needs to be attended to ?

In Bangalore there was once an aution house which was popular in Richmond Town where excellent pieces of furniture dating from the days of the Raj were sold. They were sold by families leaving for the west or just that big homes were making way for smaller homes and this furniture needed the old gracious, rambling bungalows of the past.

I have a few pieces like a Mahogany Chest-of-drawers and a beautiful old Linen cupboard with a bevelled edged looking glass on one door. Few treasures we have left to enjoy in this age of formica and block board.