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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Towards A New Ecosystems Approach

The world is going through a difficult phase. The economic downturn is slowly coming to an end, and 
countries are fighting hard to reach a new economic stability that will hurt their population as little as 
possible. In the process the effects of global climate change, though recognized, have been put on a lesser 
priority than regaining economic strength. That’s why the richer nations could not agree on terms at 
Copenhagen in December 2009. 

But whether nations agree on terms or not, Earth continues to get warmer - and the challenges are growing, 
the glaciers are melting away, pollution is galloping faster, over-usage of the world’s great rivers is 
increasing.  Soon we may see the fears of the next wars being fought over water availability globally 
coming true.And that’s not all. In 2009 an estimated 1.02 billion people were classified as under nourished, approximately 12% more than the previous year (2008). This means that nearly one in six people on 
earth suffers from undernourishment or the so called chronic hunger. According to a recent survey conducted by the United Nations an estimated 13.6 million people in India have become poor or remained in poverty during the same year 2009. The root cause of all these problems is somehow linked to resource utilization.
Finally the realization is dawning that Society’s well-being, a sustainable economy and healthy ecosystems work together. Development and better standard of living are not necessarily dependent only on growth-based economic systems, and there is increasing scientific evidence that natural resources can be limiting factors for development. We must all watch together and monitor and manage ecosystems. Create sustainable approaches and practices to harvest our scarce resources.

Now, our path should be towards an “Ecosystem Approach”. 
To adopt this, there can be two guiding principles: 
 1.  Try to act in the areas of creating possibilities for raising local employment to reduce poverty and inequality
 2.To encourage and emphasise green technologies and agricultural farms  by valuing ‘ecoservices’ in a proper manner.

In this context some good principles for development will strengthen the above guiding principles:
 1.   Scale: The scale of economic activities is important and the cost of these have to be carefully monitored during the year. 
 2.   Development versus growth. Work at changing the view! While development is what people want, 
somehow we should try to bring it closer to them. 
 3.   Market prices tell ecological truth. The cost and status of whatever food we grow should be 
enhanced by the quality of the inputs we bring to the picture. 
 4.   Account for nature services: Polluters must pay, and we should make sure we are not one of them.
 5.   The first precautionary principle. Do no harm our own ecosystem.
 6.   Give common folk a chance. Let them manage their own ecosystems, and our inputs through programs  will aim at enhancing their efforts in this direction.
7.    Value women. Empower them, respect them and support them – and our own workings must underline this.

We should kickstart on making some some new beginnings by now. Strive to enhance and improve our environmental footprint – and begin this process with a more careful eye on the resources (energy, water and materials) we use. The traditional priorities in such a situation are to Reduce, Reuse & Recycle. But in ecosystem approach we Re-imagine, Redesign, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

This should be our hope and our direction !!! Lets hope and work on it. Amen !!

Dilkash Akhtar Wakeel

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