Letter to Editor

Please … do not be more toxic

I came across an article published in the blog of the US AID ASSIST, and tried to post a comment but could not.  Hence I am sharing my comment here, in response to the article “Proudly Toxic” by Edward Broughton.
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Letter to Editor

Not only toilets

Dear Editor,

While I agree that “access to sanitation and water are fundamental human rights”  the assertion that  “a lack of these services is putting hundreds of millions of children, girls and women at risk each and every day.” where the risks refer not to health and hygiene but rather risk to personal safety and freedom from violence, takes attention away from basic equality and humanity.   Continue reading

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Letter to Editor

The Clamor we have always with us

New York Times

Growing Clamor About Inequities of Climate Crisis

By STEVEN LEE MYERS and NICHOLAS KULISH
Published: November 16, 2013 575 Comments

Dear Editor,

In 2002 I had the opportunity to observe the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties aka “COP 8” in Delhi. I remember how dry the proceedings were and how shocked I was that rather than taking decisive measures towards changing energy policy, they talked about “emissions trading” as if this was some kind of a stock market. At the time, I was shocked. But I was young and believed that the delegates at such meetings would be at least as courageous and dedicated as the most hardworking campaigners in the movements for environmental and social justice.

I gradually came to recognize that the passion of activists and grassroots organizations working outside the system would not be found inside such conventions.

So it is like oxygen to hear Philippine delegate Yeb Sano bridge the two worlds, demanding accountability for the impacts of climate change.

Isn’t this the point? But even the media was surprised to see the convention become newsworthy: “a routine international climate change conference here turned into an emotional forum.”

Now even UNEP director Achim Steiner admits the pointlessness of these conferences:

“We are at these climate conferences essentially moving chess figures across the board without ever being able to bring these negotiations to a conclusion.”

The only question left to ask is “but who,we?” Because conclusion is coming, often without notice, for millions of climate refugees every year. Forgotten pawns on this imaginary chess board.

Aravinda Pillalamarri

See also

“We can stop this madness. Right here in Warsaw.”  Yeb Sano speech at 2013 UN Climate Convention broadcast on Democracy Now!
Eco-warriors: A Different Conference of Parties that Actually Addresses Climate Change  (Rajasthan, 2013)
and “If not now, when?” from 2012:

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Letter to Editor

Making of an activist … Nity

Return to frontpage
ANUSHA PARTHASARATHY, The Nity Gritty
Nityanand Jayaraman. Photo: S.R. Raghunathan
The Hindu, Nityanand Jayaraman. Photo: S.R. Raghunathan

Dear Editor,

Thank you for this truly inspiring article about a dedicated, hardworking, and clear-thinking activist, Nityanand Jayaraman. As I read, I found my heart filled with hope that your article would encourage many young people to try different paths and find truly meaningful work. I appreciated reading the story of his early explorations leading him to his current endeavors. Indeed, what he and his team are doing is one of the most important tasks that our country needs today: ““We allow communities to speak for themselves — and began the Community Environment Monitoring Programme. We don’t teach them anything but make sure their local knowledge is translated into a language that public servants understand.”

May public servants learn from his example and spend time listening to local communities, who have the knowledge and experience to inform sensible policies for protecting our environment and all the life and livelihoods that depend on it.

Aravinda Pillalamarri

Here is an excellent talk that Nity gave at Srivenkateswara College, Chennai:

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Letter to Editor

Varanasi widows join seers and scholars in seminar, dine together

Varanasi widows join seers and scholars in seminar, dine together
ALLAHABAD, May 27, 2013
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/varanasi-widows-join-seers-and-scholars-in-seminar-dine-together/article4756702.ece#comments

Comment:

It is very sad that this is a headline, or that such efforts are needed at all.

No woman, indeed no person, should have to live with this kind of injustice, isolation and poverty. The exclusion these women feel stems from the discrimination against women that prevails in educated, middle and upper class society as well. Though women whose husbands have died may live with their families, enjoy comfortable lives and be invited to social functions, some remnant of discrimination remains. I have shared such an experience here:
A String of Jasmine
http://publications.aidindia.org/content/view/890/62/

The initiative to offer education and vocational opportunities to those in need is welcome. At the same time we need a massive effort to educate the seers, scholars, family and society as a whole to recognize the dignity and equality of all women, regardless of marital status.

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Letter to Editor

What’s behind that glass of milk?

What’s behind that glass of milk?

6th May 2013

ANUSHA NARAIN, What’s behind that glass of milk?
http://www.thehindu.com/features/magazine/whats-behind-that-glass-of-milk/article4675921.ece
The Hindu, May 4, 2013

Comment:
Nutritionally, we only need to look at what the cows eat, or at least are supposed to eat – greens! We can get our calcium, iron and other nutrients directly from leafy greens rather than making the cows chew them for us. This will be better for our health and the cows can be free. As the author points out, it will be economically and ecologically better for the country as well and help ensure that everyone gets better food. Especially nursing mothers, who need to eat well and stay strong so that they can give children the milk they really need – mother’s milk, and thereby introduce their kids to a wide variety of foods rather than using milk from another animal.

Even those who aren’t vegan can benefit from reducing dairy (especially unfermented dairy) in the diet.

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Letter to Editor

Partnership or Sell-out?

Partnership or Sell-out?
21st February 2013

 Interview with JP Mishra, Chief of State Health Resource Center ,

The Hindu, February 22, 2013

Letter to Editor: 
Chief of State Health Resource Center has no answer to questions of monitoring quality, timeliness, or access to care for remote areas, and yet he has already accepted bids for private diagnostic centers to “set up shop” on government premises.  If they set up shop in a location where government services don’t exist, then this would result in additional services available for the public.  Strangely, that does not seem to be a condition of this “invitation.”  Apparently we have to wait and see “whether they are interested in setting shops in Bastar, Sarguja etc.”  And if they are interested in setting “shops” as he chooses to call these private health services, in locations where government diagnostic labs exist, apparently the public service has to relocate, and its staff must be redeployed elsewhere.  Why?

Who has decided that “You cannot run a parallel lab if you have given it to a private player.”  Why must the private player be given a monopoly?  To whom will they be accountable?

Why does the private player get the first choice of where to operate and the public health staff left to be “redeployed” to locations the private players leave unserved?

How can this be called a “partnership?”

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