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Extreme action from green campaigns

From B Corp certification for environment-friendly businesses to baby carrot vending machines exhorting school children to ‘eat ‘em like junk food’, hundreds of innovative campaigns across the world are getting the message of social and environmental well-being across, says Darryl D’Monte

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The wrongs and rights of 'watsan'

By Darryl D'Monte

Why has it taken so many years for the UN to pass a resolution on water and sanitation as a human right? Why did countries like the US, UK and Canada oppose such a resolution, leaving it to Bolivia, which has experienced the negative impact of privatisation of water, to propose the resolution and the poorest nations to support it?

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The real costs of oil

By Darryl D'Monte

The recent Mumbai oil spill ought to serve as a wake-up call to the authorities on the reckless manner in which the country is building and maintaining its ports. In Mumbai, the outdated MbPT was to have made way for the modern JNPT on the mainland, but MbPT is hanging on to its 1800 acres of prime real estate, exposing the city to the threat of more oil spills and hazardous chemicals

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A new measure of poverty

By Darryl D'Monte

On the 20th anniversary of the Human Development Report, Oxford University and UNDP are bringing out a Multidimensional Poverty Index that will replace and refine the Human Poverty Index. The new measure, which uses 10 different indices, threw up a startling fact: just eight Indian states have more poor people than the 26 poorest African countries combined!

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Putting a price-tag to nature

By Darryl D'Monte

Can you put a price-tag to nature and biodiversity? Unfortunately, we may have to, as all decision-makers today base their choices on economic considerations. Which is why there have been attempts to put a value on, for instance, natural forests, fuelwood, animal species and so on

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The environmental fallout of conflict

By Darryl D'Monte

Since the time the US army dropped the terrible defoliant, Agent Orange, on the Vietnam countryside, war and conflict have had a devastating impact on people and the environment

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Brave green world

By Darryl D'Monte

Things are not all doom and gloom on the global environmental front. In France, 1,000 homes are being renovated every day to make them more energy-efficient. And California has a comprehensive plan to reduce emissions by 29% below 1990 levels, by 2020

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The power to choose

By Darryl D'Monte

During the Copenhagen summit, a seminar on renewable energies was held on the island of Samsoe, entirely powered by windmills and waste-to-energy plants. But Samsoe has a population of just 4,000. What will it take to switch a substantial part of India and China to renewable energies?

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Cities should be for people, not cars: Enrique Penalosa

By Darryl D'Monte

Denver, San Francisco and Seoul are demolishing their freeways and highways and attempting to return their cities to their people, not their cars, says Enrique Penalosa, former mayor of Bogota and founder of the BRTS in his city, advising India to learn from the mistakes of these cities

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India's climate volte face: Tragedy or farce?

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has suggested to the PM that India opt out of the Kyoto Protocol, jettison the G77 developing countries, and voluntarily accept cuts in emission without any guarantee of funding or technology from industrial nations in return. This goes against every principle which India has articulated on behalf of all developing countries, says Darryl D’Monte

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Watching our wasteline

By Darryl D'Monte

Every year the UK alone chucks 484 million unopened tubs of yoghurt, 1.6 billion untouched apples, bananas worth £370 million and 2.6 billion slices of bread. In his recent book Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal, Tristram Stuart documents the extent of waste in the food industry worldwide

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Negotiating on climate change

The Indian position on climate change ought to be unequivocal -- we should not agree to any cap or cuts on emission until G8 countries agree drastically to cut their own emissions, says Darryl D’Monte, adding that the Global Responsibility Capacity Index might serve as a more progressive climate tax

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How cities are changing the world

By Darryl D'Monte

Cities do play key roles in contributing to and combating climate change. But is Jeb Brugman, author of ‘Welcome to the Urban Revolution’ going too far when he extols slums like Dharavi for the environmental economies of scale, density and association when 200,000 residents live and work in the same location?

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Greener borders

By Darryl D'Monte

The world is only just beginning to focus on environmental threats posed by legal and illegal trade, with hazardous substances crossing borders and putting human health and the environment at serious risk

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How now, Brown Cloud?

By Darryl D'Monte

In 1991, India dismissed the Asian Brown Cloud theory as “unfounded”. Environmentalists termed it a ploy to distract attention from the contribution of rich countries to climate change. Today, most people accept that there is indeed a pall of “black carbon” hanging over Asia, the result mainly of millions of wood stoves burning in South Asia and China. What do we do about it?

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Media in the time of crises

By Darryl D'Monte

Did the media – and indeed all the economic gurus – miss the telltale signs of the impending financial meltdown? The Asia Media Forum in Bangkok recently analysed media in the time of crisis

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Crouching and creeping disasters

By Darryl D'Monte

At a recent workshop in Delhi, participants discussed how there are two kinds of disasters: one, sudden and unpredictable like the 2005 floods in Mumbai and the earthquake in Pakistan; the other, the slow-onset phenomenon of which the most alarming and widespread is climate change. In both, perhaps the single biggest lack is information

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Time to get tough on emissions

By Darryl D'Monte

At the Delhi Summit on Sustainable Development in February, US Senator John Kerry remarked that India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change lacked fixed targets and timetables. Is it time for developing countries to move beyond old uncompromising positions?

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Living in an Urban Age

By Darryl D'Monte

Sao Paulo is arguably the most violent city in the world, with 120 murders per 100,000 population in the poorer areas of the city. At the second Urban Age conference in Sao Paulo, participants discussed the problems of crowded urban areas and looked for ways to make these spaces less violent and more inclusive

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Emphasise quality of life, not growth

The present financial crisis may signal a shift from globalisation to a deglobalised economy. This would mean production for local markets, equity in income and asset distribution, more democratic arrangements, progressive taxation, and a move from fossil fuels to renewables, says Darryl D’Monte

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