INDIA’S CONTEMPORARY history is a mass of scars and flesh wounds from the growth versus environment war. And as long as nature is seen as a primitive opponent to be wrestled and heckled into submission, the wounds will only multiply. This month, India has constituted an expert committee to arrive at a green GDP, one that is adjusted for environmental costs. Is it a feint or a white flag? Actually, it’s neither. It’s a pause to search collective memory and ask if the war is necessary at all.
Around the world, nations are examining ways in which to invest in and plan a green economy, an economy that tries to improve social equity without increasing either environmental risks or scarcities. Green accounting forces us to stop and value what we are gobbling. In this special issue of TEHELKA, we outline some ways in which India can seek employment and prosperity through the green economy. It also introduces some early starters in urban green businesses. And because urban India largely practises only lifestyle environmentalism, this issue lists some ways in which the green rupee can be spent — from clothes and food to homes and weddings. Buy green as often as you can. It isn’t as token a gesture as you’d imagine. The urban, industrialised world created the environmental crisis through a tendency towards instant gratification so put out the light, then put out the light.
What this issue isn’t is an occasion for us to be selfcongratulatory. Our historic environmental battles are being conducted by the livelihood environmentalists of Niyamgiri, Jaitapur, Polavaram, Singrauli, Raigad and Kalinganagar — a braver, hardier, greener variety of Indian.
Nisha Susan is an Assistant Editor with Tehelka.