15th CSE media fellowships on Lives transformed: Tales of climate change impact
While we all agree that climate change is for real, there is actually limited reliable information available on how and where its impacts are being felt the most.
Extreme weather events such as cloud burst, cyclones, floods etc are being reported as more intense and frequent world over, and the number of casualties and losses are ever on the rise. Though mitigation and adaptation is on the world's agenda, the local have to fend for themselves.
Centre for Science and Environment(CSE) invited application from journalists across India to write about the struggles in rural and urban India to combat and adapt to the changing climate. Some of the areas of research were
1. Case studies on livelihoods impacts in the area of agriculture, fisheries, animal husbandary etc 2. Impact on livelihood and lifestyle on urban population 3. How are people perceiving climate change impacts.
9 Fellows were shortlisted amongst 23 complete applicants. The jury members were
Nitya Jacob, programme director
Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general,
Souparno Banerjee, programme director
bureau chief, The Pioneer,
Location: Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand
Focus: Gangetic plains of UP including Gorakhpur and villages around Almorah in Uttarakhand
Story ideas: 1. Resilience shown by people of hills to fight water scarcity: case study: Bajeena village of Almorah district. Till nineties the village had over a dozen natural springs. With climatic changes, majority of these springs have dried up or water supply has depleted. The villagers joined hands and set up micro-reservoirs just above the natural springs, to increase the water retention capacity of soil.
2. How Impact of Climate change on Agriculture has made man to think differently: The impact of climate change on agriculture was direct.
a). In last three years many regions of Almorah and Pauri have reported production of mango – which needs a warm weather for fruition. The areas earlier had reported good crop of apple.
b).With the winters becoming short, the hills reported a poor yield of wheat between 2000-2003. The farmers found a way out. Instead of white wheat they are now growing red wheat, which takes less time and warm weather to ripe.
In plains the flood are irregular. Earlier, the receding flood water used to leave behind alluvial soil that used to give farmers a good crop without any additional expenditure of fertilisers. Besides shorter winters means less fog and farmers believe it was affecting the growth of wheat. This has forced them to opt for hybrid seeds.
3. Perception Of People About Climate Change: The common man do not need scientific studies to tell the impact of climate change on life. Through their personnel experiences they can narrate variations in weather. They can vouch as how the summers have become harsh and winters short.
The oldies blame it to Kalyug. They say people are suffering because of the sins of the people. In plains, people vouch that rivers that were full with water 12-months a year have now been reduced to nullah. They say the Sai and Aami rivers in Gorakhpur and Gomati in Lucknow are now flowing half of its capacity. They also narrate incidents of rains in catchment of areas of Gomati, whose volumes have also come down.
Jury suggestions: 1. The jury would like to see the linkages with science. They would like the reports to include quotes from scientists, past data etc and write the first stories, on how these changes can be linked with climate change. 2. The jury especially appreciated the story idea on mangoes in hilly tracts of Almorah and Pauri. 3. The jury would like to know how people are adapting to the changes.
freelancer, Kashmir Times
Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir
Location: Jammu and Kashmir
Focus: Snow avalanches, high-speed winds and cloudbursts in Kashmir and Ladakh region
1. Reaction of people as to how they would like to respond to such events or how they can best prepare themselves to minimize damage during such events in future. This story would also include opinion of disaster management experts and scientists.
2. A news story about the government’s preparedness and how it can best deal with such events and how it can people adapt to the changing weather scenarios.
3. How are farmers adapting to droughts and other extreme weather events?
How is the armed conflict in Kashmir adding to the challenges posed by extreme weather events?
Jury suggestions: The jury would like to see the linkages for the increase extreme whether events with science.
Kolkata, West Bengal
Location: Arunachal Pradesh
Focus: 1. Climate change impacts on the apples in Mechuka town of West Siang district. 2. Change in the distribution, pattern and intensity of snowfall/rainfall in the Himalayan state. 3. The threat on the loss of biodiversity in Arunachal due to climate change.
writer and media coordinator,
Press Information Bureau,
Focus: North East India and case studies from Tripura
1. Drying rivulets: The impact of climate change in Tripura is badly manifested in the incidence of silent process of drying up of over hundreds of rivulets causing hilly hamlets face acute water scarcity.
2. Underground water level depletion: In case of plain land areas, underground water level is gradually depleting.
3. The life and state of affairs of the impact of ground water level depletion in particular areas.
4. On account of ground water level depletion, which areas are badly affected in the State? Refer study reports.
5. Shift in their occupation, lifestyle etc if any; Innovative approach/ strategy taken by common people in order to combat the menace; instances of practices coined from different areas.
6.Government policy and action: i) slow action towards implementation of policy of ‘not to dig or limited dig’ in some particular areas; Strength of spreading such communication. And, its effects on humans further. ii) Govt. action towards recharging of groundwater level (Examples are there); If so, how is this being worked out.
7. Isolated case towards initiative of recharging of ground water level. 2/3 instances and outcome thereby.
Jury suggestions: 1. The jury would like to see linkages with science. 2. The effects of changing whether patterns on agriculture and what the farmers are doing to overcome the change. 3. The effects on wildlife because of the change, for example has their mating season changed etc
Focus: Society and the politics of climate and environment – case studies from Bundelkhand Will document impacts of climate change on agriculture and animal husbandry in Bundelkhand, and how these are related to the natural calamities devastating the region
Jury suggestions: 1. The jury would like the reports to have the linkages with science. 2. The jury recommends that he does a travelogue where he records the changes in the whether/climate in the entire region of Bundelkhand 3. The jury would also like to check if he can do a story on what people are experiencing and how are they adapting
Praveen Prabhakar Chief sub editor-edit page, Hindustan, New Delhi
Focus:Northern and central Uttarakhand (especially Uttarkashi and Chamoli districts)
1. Acomparative study of the northern and the central Uttarakhand to find how vulnerable and sensitive the hills are
2.Highlight the historical, geographical and scientific changes.
Jury suggestions: 1. The jury would like to see the linkages with science. They would like you to talk to scientists, people, look at past data etc and write the first stories, on how these changes can be linked with climate change.
2.The jury recommends that you need not do comparisons of the 2 regions of Uttarakhand, instead do a travelogue where you record the changes in the whether/climate and the
3. The jury would also like to check if you can do a story on what people are experiencing and how are they adapting
Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) is a New Delhi-based public interest research and advocacy organisation and is the recipient of the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize. It was recently ranked 17th among a global listing of top environmental think tanks in the Global Go To Think Tank Index, compiled each year by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program of the University of Pennsylvania in the US..