A Network For Promoting A Sustainable Development Of Kerala
The population of the world is incressing and it will soon become about 8 billion in 25 years. Whicle the population in developed countries like Sweden is expected to show certain stability or even a small reduction. The population of the developing countries like those of the south Asia including India will almost be doubled by that time. We may also find that the population is being unbanised at an alarming rate and soon in a limited number of years more than 30 cities of the world will have a population above 10 million inhabitants and most of these cities will be in the so called developing countries with insufficient water supply , waste management , pollution control , social security , employment opportunites , foods security , sanitation and public health.
In spite of the enormous improvements in the methods of agriculture , animal husbandry and fisheries , a major portin of the worlds population living mainly in the developing contries of Asia , Africa and latin America suffer from so called hidden hunger due to food shortage and malnutrition. Nearly 800 million people suffer from protien and energy malnutrition , 47% of the women of the world mostly in developing countries have iron deficiency anaemia about 900 million have iodine deficiency disorders and 40 million children are affected by Vitamin-A deficiency every year leading to more or less permanent blindness.
More than ever before it will be a matter of great concern for the goverments of the world to know how to organise safe and secure food supply at a reasonable price to all the people. To achieve complete housedhold food security with all what it means we may have to resor to both extensive and intensive measure , bringing more area under cultivation as well as increase the efficiency of food production. However previous experience shows that this cannot be done without causing serious enviornmental problems. In Europe < 85% of the arable land < 90% in Asia and < 55% in North America , Africa and Austrialia. One must also remember that intensive agriculture by all means is like an industry not only in causing depletion of energy , water and other natural resources but also causing pollution of enviornment with pesticides , acidic rain , nitrogen leaching and green house effect to mention a few.
By many standards Karala is a blessing from heaven to its people. Kerala literally is also the land of coconut , a tree ( a kalpavriksham which means a tree that gives everything for a living ) every part of which is utilized for one or other purpose from foods , feed , fuel and manure in a sustainable way from time immermorial. The very wealth of Kerala and also the primary means of living to its people is essentially the pllants which are cultivated in the agricultural fields and those plants which are cultivated or growing wild in the forests. So many people , almost 1000/km2 , live here in kerala in a limited area and yet in spite of this people have successfully created so many natural reservers for preservation of the biodiversity of plants and animals.
It is also a place where not only rationality and superstition , order and chaos , faith and stheism seem to co - exist but also politics of the lefe and the right and all the major religions of the world. It is also a place where rice and spice , Rubber and tapioca , coffee and tea , banana and pineapple , mangoes and jackfruit are grown not far away from each other. IT is also a place where medical doctors and nurses are educated and sent send to foreign countries for doing bypass surgery in modern multistoried hospitals while people from foreign countries come in large number to meditate and get the treatment of their life at the traditional ayurvedic resorts coming up all over the beautiful hills and all along the seashores. It is also the place where a mountain is not very far from the sea and the paddy fields are not very far from the blue lagoons.
An International Seminar on Sustainable Utilisation of Tropical Plant Bio Mass was conductied as 15th and 16th of Dec 2008 as the first of the series of seminars dealing with the aspects of sustainable development of Kerala. At the conculding session the participants resolved unanimously to form a network. In many ways Karala is one of the most appropriate places for developing a network on sustainable development and that also by conducting a seminar on sustainable utilization of plant biomass.
The pupose of the network is to discus in a humble but rational way how this blessing from heaven the "so called gods own country "can be managed well for the benefit of the future generations.
For more information go to www.sustainable-kerala.net