THE CROAK is a weekly environmental newsletter put out by the eCoexist team. It is the voice of the environment on its last legs, the final croak that can either be a plea for attention or a call of triumph as the frogs jump out of the well of ignorance and denial.

Environmental Law for the health of our natural resources

In a crisis, generally panic takes over. As global economies begin to spiral downwards, governments are struggling to balance economic needs with long term environmental goals. However, to truly protect the future of the coming generations, a crisis has to be seen as an opportunity to reinforce our commitment to protecting our natural resources. One of the ways this can be done is through strengthening legislation. 

During the months of the lockdown, we saw beautiful examples of how Nature was rejuvenated by a slowing down of human activity, all around the world. However, the anxiety around human health made a lot of people take knee jerk panic decisions. While waiting for clarity and solutions to emerge, governments also had to reassure the public that they would somehow manage to kickstart the economy again.

In the confusion that reigned, environmental regulation in India has been under a process of revision by the government, to make way for development projects.  How will these changes affect the long term health of our natural resources and therefore of our communities? 

Understanding Laws and Policies

As citizens of India, it is necessary for us to understand the law and policies the government puts into place to govern our society. However, this seems like a daunting task for most of us and even if we may want to delve deeper into an issue, we feel intimidated by the legal vocabulary and the complex histories behind any one issue.

But by turning away, we are forsaking our basic right as a citizen to engage in the way we are governed. This is why it is important for us to stay informed and find ways to participate in the law making processes of the country. This becomes especially crucial when the future of our natural resources is concerned because it deeply affects the lives of our future generations. 

So how does one do this ? How can we keep abreast of the changes being made by the government, beyond what the media informs us? How can we speak up and make our voices heard? 

Why do we need environmental laws?

Laws to protect our natural resources and other living beings have only recently been formalised in the history of human society. 

The recognition that the natural environment is fragile and in need of special legal protections, the translation of that recognition into legal structures, the development of those structures into a larger body of "environmental law," and the strong influence of environmental law on natural resource laws, did not occur until about the 1960s. At that time, numerous influences - including a growing awareness of the unity and fragility of the biosphere; increased public concern over the impact of industrial activity on natural resources and human health; the increasing strength of the regulatory state; and more broadly the advent and success of environmentalism as a political movement - coalesced to produce a huge new body of law in a relatively short period of time. While the modern history of environmental law is one of continuing controversy, by the end of the twentieth century environmental law had been established as a component of the legal landscape . ( Source : Wikipedia)

Environmental law covers a vast range of issues from Air and water quality,  Waste management, Forests, Mineral resources, Wildlife and plants - it looks , not only at how humans use natural resources, but of late, has also brought into attention the rights of other species to live freely, independently of humans. 

To protect Nature, we need to measure our impact on our natural environment. Assessing the impact of any human activity on Nature is a complex and multifaceted exercise. The Environmental Impact Assessment regulations ensure that the long term cost we pay for developmental activities is not higher than its benefits. 

Changes to EIA / Environment regulation
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Kanchi Kohli

Kanchi Kohli works on environment, forest and biodiversity governance in India. Her work explores the links between law, industrialization and environment justice. Her research interests also include the implementation of biodiversity regulations in India.

She has authored various publications, research papers and popular articles. She co-edited the book Business Interests and the Environmental Crisis (SAGE-India). Since 2004, she co-coordinates an Information Dissemination Service on forest and wildlife cases in the Supreme Court of India.  She co-edited The Case for the Commons, a six part e-publication on the administrative follow up of the 2011 Supreme Court of India judgment on the protection of the commons.

Kanchi regularly teaches at universities and law schools in India on subjects related to biodiversity, environment and community development.

In this REVIVE session, Kanchi will focus on the history, experience and challenges of environment regulation in India, locating it within  the questions that confront both citizens and governments during an economic crisis.

Join the REVIVE series every Sunday

During the recent COVID 19 lockdown, eCoexist began a series of web talks called REVIVE - as a way to reconnect with self, with community and with Nature. These talks started as chats between friends to see how we were going to work towards a new normal and to find a way to envision a different future. Slowly, our audience grew to include more people and the discussions to cover various aspects of Sustainability and Self. 

Every Sunday, we welcome you to connect with us through the REVIVE talks, that is bringing together a fantastic community of sensitive and brilliant people, with whom we can co create a new future. 

The talks are free for registration and have ample time and space for a deep and authentic conversation with the speaker. Some of our guests are otherwise difficult to reach as they live and work in remote locations and so these are precious opportunities to hear from them in person. 

Visit the REVIVE webpage
Register for REVIVE : 20 Sept

You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
When: Sunday, 20 Sept, 2020 4.00 pm India
Topic: Revive w Ecoexist - ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION in an economic crisis

Register in advance for this webinar:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Register Here
The REVIVE Support network : Contributing to a new paradigm

On 19 July, we launched a new initiative, the REVIVE support network to collect funds for authentic work done by various NGOS on issues of sustainability. We invite our esteemed speakers to recommend a deserving group that needs financial support. Participants of the talk are invited to send small ( or large!) amounts to the eCoexist foundation over the next few days. This contribution is gathered and then sent as a collective sum to the organisation identified by the speaker. 

On 19 July we raised RS 27,000 which was sent to the Grama Vikas group in Mulbagal, Karnataka on the guidance of our speaker S Vishwanath who knows their work closely. During the Ganesh campaign we raised Rs 80,000 to support the Assam Haathi Project led by Nandita Hazarika who spoke to us on REVIVE. Our network has also sent funds to farmers in Andhra Pradesh to give them working capital to overcome COVID losses. 

We will continue this effort for all the upcoming speakers. Participants can pay as little as Rs 100 to contribute. 

The registration for the REVIVE talks is FREE and the organisers and speakers both offer their time and energy in creating these talks voluntarily. You are also welcome to send in a voluntary contribution to REVIVE to enable us to expand the reach of  this series. 

The REVIVE support network allows for all of us to enable authentic work on the ground to help our country and its people through this crisis and to protect our natural resources. We welcome you to join our efforts. 

( Pl mention the cause for which you would like to contribute on your transfer)

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The Croak is a weekly environmental newsletter put out by the eCoexist team. It is the voice of the environment on its last legs, the final croak that can either be a plea for attention or a call of triumph as the frogs jump out of the well of ignorance and denial. Satirical, urgent and wise the newsletter brings to your attention, topics of global environmental relevance as well as emerging encouraging alternatives. Put together by a team of passionate Nature lovers, The Croak hopes to look at the environmental crisis in its face. It is a tool to reconnect readers to Nature, through questioning and self reflection. To understand the outer environment as a reflection of our own inner state, individually and as a species. And to take responsibility for enabling change.
If you would like to contribute articles on ecology consciousness and sustainability please get in touch with us.

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