Browsing articles in " Lifestyle "

Food Security Bill – Yet Another Bluff?

National Food Security Bill 2012 to be tabled in Indian Parliament would be a big global Inspiration according to researchers from Institute of Development Studies, UK.

“India stands at the threshold of potentially the largest step towards food justice the world has ever seen, as the National Food Security Bill works its way through parliament,” Lawrence Haddad, director of the Britain-based IDS, said.  The bill aims to give legal right to cheaper food grain to 63.5 per cent of the population. Around 180 million households — 65 million below poverty line (BPL) and 115 million above poverty line (APL) category families — get subsidized rations under the public distribution system through the fair price shops.

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The Uncomfortable Truth

The time has come for you to see
That love is something else you practise it to be
The line is long
For you and me
That leads us to the very debt of our hearts
We’re still on the surface deceiving ourselves…

The Uncomfortable Truth  by NNEKA

This is a reworked old post. I hope that it did not lose it’s ‘punch’ in 15 months while it gathered 2657 page views in Think About It Water . I am inspired by Somnath’s comment in my last post ‘ Eradicate Excess Wealth alongside Poverty ‘ where he suspected my content as hard core communism, almost Pol Potish.

Any suggestion about examining limits of personal wealth is decidedly unlikable. Pol Pot is a fair measure of such distaste. Possibly communism as well. Read more >>

Eradicate Excess Wealth alongside Poverty

The world leaders will discuss sustainable development, the bedrock of 1992 Rio vision this June in Rio+20. A greater political convergence is urged by the UN for the matter because the ‘needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ has not gained much traction since the 1992 conference – largely because countries continued to equate development with economic growth, and sustainable development languished as a fringe environmental concern. Twenty years after Rio 1992, “sustainable development remains a generally agreed concept, rather than a day-to-day, on-the-ground, practical reality,” says a report by the UN High-level Panel on Global Sustainability.

May be Millennium Development Goals were set up prematurely, too? Read more >>

Why a Doughnut Now?

Kate Raworth Photo : IISD http://www.iisd.ca/

Kate Raworth is a Senior Researcher of Oxfam Great Britain. In a recent discussion paper she has proposed a metaphorical doughnut as a safe and just space for humanity to thrive (Full discussion paper can be downloaded here ). ‘Can we live within the doughnut?’ Kate asks, presenting a visual framework – shaped like a doughnut – which brings the concept of planetary boundaries together with the complementary concept of social boundaries, creating a safe and just space between the two, in which humanity can thrive.

​Kate argues primarily from the perspective of social equity and the foreword of her discussion paper says, ‘ Humanity’s challenge in the 21st century is to eradicate poverty and achieve a prosperity for all within the means of the planet’s limited natural resources. In the run-up to Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, this Discussion Paper is an exploration of what such a model of prosperity might look like.’ It also says, ‘ Moving into this safe and just space demands far greater equity – within and between countries – in the use of natural resources, and far greater efficiency in transforming those resources to meet human needs.’ Read more >>

Limits To Growth And Beyond – Part II

Affluence is a relative term in societal contexts because in each society standards there are rich and poor. But there are few in the world, as many from North as from South, who are rich by any standard. Similarly, despite raised standard of living, there are under-privileged people in both the developed and developing nations, people who lack jobs, health security, education, food and home. And there are a large number of people under famine, malnutrition, water and sanitation stress and vulnerable to diseases and death. When world economy collapses and industrial output plummets down the curve, it is the most vulnerable section of humanity that receives the mortal blow first. But for now, the Limits to Growth are felt by the affluent societies of the developed world more than the developing world.

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Darjeeling – The Fallen Queen

Though some British East India Company officials stayed in the village of Darjeeling in 1828 and considered the place suitable for a sanatorium for British soldiers, the remote hilly village might not have turned into a hill city of international repute had the Sikkim Chogyal not imprisoned the British East India Company Director Arthur Campbell and explorer botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker in 1849. This ensured a rescue operation by the British and a renewed interest for this ‘home-like’ territory and by 1866 it came to exist in its present shape and form as a hill station. Read more >>

Wayside Story

The News

Men have always been the ones who are supposedly genetically and psychologically geared for a no-strings-attached sex life. And there’s a reason why ‘getting lucky’ is usually something a guy boasts about in the locker room. But things are changing and today’s Indian woman is slowly moving away from the ‘touch me not’ syndrome, where even if she did indulge in a physical relationship, she had to assuage the ‘guilt’ by assuring herself that the man in her life was there for keeps. “Now, sex is not taboo anymore. Everyone’s indulging in it. In this scenario, young girls, too, are talking about sex and initiating casual encounters quite unabashedly,” notes Mumbai social psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty. Read more >>

The Final Choice

Last evening, in a friendly discussion with a scientist friend of mine, my idea of combating Climate Change by conscious human choice to change life-styles (with a drastic reduction of consumption) along with a conserver economy (with resource re-distribution to reduce stark differences in life style standards between the poor and rich nations – tackling poverty, malnutrition, lack of education amongst others) and effective environmental governance (managing deforestation, habitat loss, species extinction amongst others) came under serious scrutiny and criticism. While this is hardly a subject that can be discussed over a cup of coffee, the main objections that my learned friend put forward were these:

a) Human choice, in the context of life in general, is hardly conscious. A conscious choice demands a perfect informative perspective, which is a near impossibility. Therefore, humans can not consciously reduce consumption by sacrificing life styles they have gotten used to.

b) A conserver economy, by definition the one that produces just enough to be consumed by population with practically zero waste and with an emphasis on spending within means, is a freakonomy, particularly looking at a world obsessed with growth.

c) Effective Environmental Governance is an ‘ideal’ concept, not necessarily valid in a world which is far off from a consensus about the scale of the damage and it’s accountability between nations.

The questions are by no means trivial. I feel compelled to answer them. Read more >>

Why Occupy Wall Street When Your Life Is Not Yours Really?

About three years ago, when I was writing on Climate Change in THINK ABOUT IT platform run by European Journalism Center, I tried to address the waste problem of our consumer society by proposing ‘ want not, waste not’ . An interesting discourse followed, I could sense few skeptic grins and few eye-brows up in curves – but there were few who also saw my rationale. Sometimes you know the truth but you prefer not to confront it, because that’s not fashionable or politically correct. I love to be guileless. Read more >>

Consumption Ethics – A Utopia?

As questions are coming up increasingly regarding the constraints of Growth in a world of finite resources, there should now be some ethical limits of personal consumption. The consumer economy feeds on popular demand, sometimes the demand seems to be ‘manufactured’ (bottled water industry) and incredible choice of consumption that encourages one to consume without almost no sense of reasonability. In the past, I had a brief stint with TED Conversations and I pitched this idea to see what reaction it could possibly bring. There were not many reactions, everyone who chose not to challenge the idea preferred to circumvent the crux of the issue – a voluntary resignation from the consumer race. Perhaps the most honest sounding comment came from Simona Stoicesescu (yes I am not misspelling the last name) where she asked: ‘Why cannot everybody be wealthy? It is not limited stock. We are creating value. Wealth can be used to create jobs for people, meaning, chances for discoveries, solutions for bigger problems, wealth is good.’ While I disagreed with Simona, I would complement her with honest engagement with the question, though the connotations of wealth she was using was very different from what I was putting on debate. Another TEDster, Anshul Pandey discarded my idea (of a consumption ethic) as ‘Utopian’. Read more >>

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All opinions are solely those of the author. Reader's discretion necessary for using any of the contents of this website. (c) Pabitra Mukhopadhyay 2011
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