a magazine on ecological agriculture
a one stop treasure of practical field experiences

New books – Rural-urban linkages

Community Seed Banks: Origins, Evolution and Prospects

Ronnie Vernooy, Pitambar Shrestha, Bhuwon Sthapit (Eds), 2015, Routledge, Series: Issues in Agricultural Biodiversity, 270 pages, Paperback: $53.95, 978-0-415-70806-7

Community seed banks first appeared towards the end of the 1980s, established with the support of international and national non-governmental organizations. This book is the first to provide a global review of their development and includes a wide range of case studies.

Countries that pioneered various types of community seed banks include Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Zimbabwe. Surprisingly, despite 25 years of history and the rapid growth in number, organizational diversity and geographical coverage of community seed banks, recognition of their roles and contributions has remained scanty. The book reviews their history, evolution, experiences, successes and failures (and reasons why), challenges and prospects. It fills a significant gap in the literature on agricultural biodiversity and conservation, and their contribution to food sovereignty and security.

Green Signals: Ecology, Growth, and Democracy in India

Jairam Ramesh, February 2015, Oxford University Press India, 616 pages, Rs 850.00, ISBN: 9780199457526

The debate on whether to privilege economic growth over ecological security is passé. Environmental considerations must be at the heart of economic growth, especially for a country of 1.25 billion people destined to add another 400 million by the middle of the century. Green Signals chronicles the ‘1991 moment’ in India’s environmental decisionmaking, telling the story of how, for the first time, the doors of the environment ministry were opened to voices, hitherto unheard, into the policy-making process. It details efforts to change the way environment is viewed both by proponents of environmental security and those who prize economic growth at all costs. Told from the perspective of a pivotal decision maker, the book addresses the challenges involved in trying to ensure economic growth with ecological security. It takes us through India’s coming of age in the global environmental and climate change community to take on a leadership role that is progressive, proactive, and steeped in national interest.

Using speaking orders on high-profile projects, notes and letters to the Prime Minister, ministerial colleagues, chief ministers and others, Jairam Ramesh gives an insight into the debates, struggles, challenges, and obstacles to bringing environmental considerations into the mainstream of political and economic decision-making. This collection reveals the story of the author’s attempt at the highest levels of governance to introduce effective decision-making, a transparent and accountable administration, and to make environmental concerns an essential component of a nation’s quest to accelerate economic growth and end the scourge of poverty and deprivation.

Global Sustainable Development Report 2015: Climate Change and Sustainable Development: Assessing Progress of Regions and Countries

The Energy and Resources Institute, February 2015, Oxford University Press India, 376 Pages ISBN: 9780199459179

While scientific assessments of climate risks have made tremendous advances in the recent years, there is hardly any progress in mitigating the emissions of GHGs and adapting to the impacts of climate change, as agreed in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992.

As part of TERI’s newly launched annual research on global sustainable development, this study:

– makes an incisive analysis of the issues associated with climate change;

– identifies relevant indicators and sub-indicators on climate risks, mitigation, and adaptation;

– compiles available datasets on the indicators; and

– ranks the sovereign countries of the world on climate risks, historical and current responsibilities for climate change, and climate adaptive capacities.