ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Today's Environmentalism

Time for Constructive Cooperative Action

Environmental activism in India comprises two streams. The first focuses on protected areas and relies on the bureaucracy that often misuses its powers against communities that live in close contact with nature. The second focuses on protecting nature to safeguard people's livelihoods and health. The environmental agenda should focus on the reassertion of people's rights over natural resources, and this should be coupled with an action-oriented promotion of nature-friendly cooperative enterprises in sectors like quarrying, and mineral and sand mining.

Indian environmentalism, faced by aggressive developmentalism, is in retreat even as people, baked by the heat wave of the summer of 2016, confronted with serious water scarcities, are becoming ever more acutely aware of the environmental crisis. We still have fresh memories of the Alakananda floods of June 2013, and the Chennai floods of December 2015, both caused by development gone haywire. At the same time, we see growing social violence all around us, violence linked to struggles over natural resources. For instance, a staunch anti-quarry activist, Anoop Vellolippil, died in stone pelting by goondas in Kozhikode district of Kerala, while in a peaceful demonstration,1 and the endemic Naxalism that is fuelled by injustices against tribal peoples in the forests of mineral-rich central India (Saxena et al 2010).

Pro- and Anti-people

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