Politics of Nature for Kumta Taluka
Today’s great changes, whether ecological, democratic or digital, require a profound transformation of our society and lead to different power relationships. More and more of us are convinced that citizen engagement is the cornerstone of global change.
But what are we talking about when we talk about citizen engagement? How does militancy change today?
Green issues, including climate change, found their way to all major party manifestos, and they all promise to protect the environment, check river pollution and invest in renewable energy systems for a low carbon economy.
Because we consider that environmental issues are crucial and should be addressed in our elections, just a few months before them, Khushi Parisara throws a challenge to the local politicians, to look beyond conventional mainstream politics, to defeat the near unanimous view that political parties are not the solution but are the problem.
To wake up to the ground realities and add the needful elements of sustainable development and environmentalism to their agenda.
Through their campaigns one has usually the sense of betrayal, and political parties are panned as brutal villains silencing the crying need for environmental politics, and for a planned way of action to change the course of our “development” relentlessly ruining nature – and people.
The environmental concerns revolve also around necessities, the needs of the rural population, as the majority of people depend on the environment for their survival: land, water, forests, ocean,. The core environmental issue is to increase the efficiency of these natural resources in a sustainable manner and to ensure that the benefits of the increased productivity go local, building a local circular economy
Moreover, since responses to climate change will force us to change our lifestyles – with significant impacts on the way we move, feed, dress, do what we do, the jobs we have, Khushi Parisara is convinced that many of the decisions will have to be taken at the local level and that local authorities and communities are called upon to play a leading role in the quest for sustainability.
At a time when political parties and independent citizens’ are preparing their lists of candidates and the electoral programs that will be put to scrutiny in the forthcoming elections, Khushi Parisara has established a set of challenges with tangible proposals to promote sustainability, warning loud on the high costs of inaction and inviting a focus on the costs and the benefits of action
In this context, six areas of action are identified where the elected representatives should have a decisive role to play to reverse the sluggish improvement in this area.
1. Promote energy efficiency and local production of renewable energy
It is proposed that there be a strong commitment to integrate demanding criteria of energy efficiency and promotion of local production of renewable energy, through fiscal incentive and technical support. In this way it will be possible to have buildings that are less energy consumers and with better thermal comfort in summer, with positive impacts on the general well-being and the finances of the families.
In public buildings, the stake must include the choice of equipment, through the application of ecological criteria, in addition to giving priority to the installation of self-generated units in the buildings of the offices (photovoltaic and wind power), both measures with a reflection on the reduction of costs in the medium / long term.
Attention should also be given to improving the efficiency of public lighting with the progressive replacement of existing lighting devices with more efficient ones.
2. Encourage sustainable mobility
There should be a clear commitment to the creation of 2 wheelers lanes throughout the main towns, conditioning 4 wheelers circulation in dense areas. Urban pedestrian areas should be implemented, with restrictions on the circulation of vehicles.
Work together with different transport operators to find ways of facilitating the transport of bicycles on public transport will be crucial to promote the use of soft modes of mobility.
3. A strong involvement from the whole community for waste management
Khushi Parisara urges candidates to consider streamlining responsible consumption based on the principles of circular economy. The key action is the adoption of “zero waste” strategies, based on the definition of demanding targets for reduction of waste production and promotion of the circular economy.
Comprehensive and inclusive plan (articulated with gujri) for waste collection and proper disposal, with creation of eco-points for recyclables.
The installation of community composers and the provision of collective catering areas for schools, homes and other services, for biocomposite equipment;
Awareness and support for small and large waste producers (commerce, hotels, markets, schools, etc. with a view to drastically reducing the amount of SW produced, with the subsequent application of collection fees for what is not segregated (PAYT system – Pay-As-You-Throw), Polluters-Pay-Principle, Extended Producer Responsibility.
4. Promote the efficiency and sustainable use of water
The quality of tap water in the District is nearly 99% of good quality, then Municipal services should develop campaigns to promote the consumption of tap water, to the detriment of bottled water, and to disseminate best practice in preventing water wastage and rainwater reuse.
With regard to wastewater treatment, financial efforts should be searched to improve citizens’ accessibility to drainage networks and treatment, with particular attention to investments in decentralized sanitation to improve the quality of surface water. Also here inter-municipal solutions can help to serve more isolated populations in the borders of GP & TMCs, with optimization of financial resources.
5. Territory management integrating natural processes into decisions
Here it is crucial to design and implement strategies for adapting to climate change, to consider the designation of protected areas at the regional or local level, and also to program the ecological rehabilitation of degraded areas such as mangroves, waterbodies and wetlands.
6. Promote biodiversity within town and Gram and Taluka Panchayats, through:
Abandonment of the use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers replacing them with composted wet waste for keeping the soil alive;
Promoting citizens’ initiatives – such as the creation of ponds, the harvest and use of rainwater, etc.
Note to highlight:
Usually politicians do not take into consideration the “primordial stakeholders” like the future generations and the natural world because their vote is not considered important in terms of purchasing power. It is great time for them to do it and comply with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) adopted by India and the India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC).