Global problem, local solutions: on
biodiversity (The Hindu)
Mains Paper 3: Environment
Prelims level: Dongria Kondh tribe
Mains level: Highlighting the global assessment of biodiversity
- The Dongria Kondh tribe of Niyamgiri Hills are among the best
conservationists in the world.
- Known for the spirited defence of their forested habitat against
short-sighted industrialisation, they have through millennia evolved a
lifestyle that is in perfect harmony with nature.
- Across India, there are scores of indigenous people who have managed to
lead meaningful lives without wanton destruction of natural ecosystems.
- These tribes, along with marginalised communities living on the fringes
of forests and millions of smallholder farmers, are the best hope that India
has to preserve biodiversity and ensure food security.
- At a time when nature faces the threat of another mass extinction of
species, their importance cannot be emphasised enough because they offer us
solutions to avert an imminent meltdown.
Global assessment of biodiversity
- The first global assessment of biodiversity by a UN-backed panel, which
released its report in May, held humans squarely responsible for the looming
mass extinction of species.
- Without radical efforts towards conservation, the rate of species
extinction will only gather momentum.
- The red flag comes close on the heels of a February report by the UN
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
- A loss in biodiversity simply means that plants and animals are more
vulnerable to pests and diseases, and it puts food security and nutrition at
risk, the FAO said.
At a higher risk
- Although biodiversity loss is a global problem, it can be countered only
with local solutions. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach.
- A solution that has succeeded in a temperate, wealthy nation may not be
suitable for a country like India.
- Our tropical homeland is rich in biodiversity, but the imperatives of
relentless economic growth, urbanisation, deforestation and overpopulation
place it at risk more than many other places.
Active participation needed
- Nothing can be achieved without the active participation of communities
that live close to nature farmers and forest dwellers.
- It is now obvious that intensive agriculture, exploitative forestry and
overfishing are the main threats to biodiversity in India and the world.
- UN agencies are unanimous that the best way to correct the present
course is to heed the accumulated wisdom of indigenous peoples, fishers and
- The situation with our forests is even more dire. Instead of evicting
forest dwellers from their homes, we should be encouraging them to conserve
and nurture their habitats.
- Pressure from industrialisation does not care too much about
conservation and biodiversity. The same holds true for the overexploitation
of our rivers and seas.
- For solutions one has to just look at the growing movement of
zero-budget natural farming in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, or the
community-driven forest conservation initiatives in Odisha and the
Northeast, to realise that there is hope for the natural ecosystem, if only
we act on the advice of local communities.
No silver bullet
- There is no silver bullet to solve the problem of crop and biodiversity
loss at the national level.
- The natural farming movement in Andhra Pradesh may not be suitable for,
- Fortunately, India’s farmers and tribes are nothing if not innovative
and they do have local solutions.
- Loss of biodiversity and the threat of species extinction along with the
alarming changes wrought by global warming are the primary concerns of our
- Our best bet for survival depends on how well we address these issues.
- We can do that only if we put people at the centre of our actions.
- If we continue to ride roughshod over the people who are essential to
revitalising nature, we do so only at our peril.
Q.1) With reference to the Five Eyes, consider the following statements:
1. It is an anglophone intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada,
New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
2. It began in 1946 when the United States and the United Kingdom agreed to an
open exchange of intelligence on the communications of foreign nations.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
Q.1) Forest dwellers and farmers are the best hope to preserve biodiversity and
ensure food security. Explain.