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VASUNDHARA - Democratising Natural Resources Governance

Environment and Development:

The environment provides favorable conditions for the existence, survival, and development of living organisms, and natural resources are the means for satisfying human and social requirements in a given space and time. These resources sustain life on the planet by providing us with food, fuel, medicine, and clothes.  In the past, these resources were uncomtaminated and hospitable for living organisms.  But the situation today is just the reverse; rapid industrialisation and exploitation of natural resources have left with us polluted rivers and air, natural calamities, contaminated soil, depleted wildlife, and exhausted natural resources.

The present scenario reflects an alarming situation of grave environmental crisis and ecological imbalance.  Though there is a greater awareness of environmental issues today, attention is largely drawn to global issues rather than to local concerns of environmental degradation.  Giving consideration and attention to these local issues can help in creating a clean and safe environment for the poor communities in rural areas.

Achieving a healthy & pollution free environment for evolutionary progress.

At this crucial time, when urgent steps are needed to ameliorate the environment, we see the need to undertake monitoring of environmental quality and to provide knowledge-based inputs to civil society actors for enhanced local action on environmental issues.  Additionally, we also seek to play an active role in providing responses to environmental threats and problems arising from unsustainable development practices.

Responding to the urgent need of addressing environmental threats and problems arising from unsustainable developmental practices, the Environmental Conservation team is engaged in environmental quality monitoring and environmental impact assessment studies.  We have established an onsite laboratory for conducting water and soil quality monitoring.  In addition, we initiated a first of its kind database on mines and industries in Orissa, which will be useful to researchers and anyone interested in environmental conservation in the state.  We are also engaged in research into local, low-cost solutions to the problem of arsenic removal from drinking water; this is a major breakthrough, with far-reaching implications for rural people’s self-reliance in the treatment of toxic drinking water.

Democracy, Equity, Social Justice and Ethical Development

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