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A Fisherman’s Son Who Cannot Swim

Mayur, a young Koli fisherman’s son, never learned to swim because the beaches of Mumbai are too polluted. Few Koli youth want to follow their parent’s footsteps to be fishermen in Mumbai. The consumer demand for fish though is ever on the rise. Mayur teaches me to dig for clams and offers his perspective on Koli culture among shifting tides.

Storytelling in a Slum’s Silicon Valley

“We have a different kind of Silicon Valley here,” Nawneet Ranjan explains. Founder of the Dharavi Diary: Slum and Rural Innovation Project, Ranjan tells how his students use storytelling, technology, and the power of their diversity to raise awareness and develop solutions for issues facing the Dharavi slum community in Mumbai, India.

Rice Bran Oil and Economic Diplomacy in South Asia

For most households across South Asia, rice is life. It is the stable source of carbohydrates for the more than 1.7 billion citizens of the region who consume it morning, noon and night; and a vital source of income for the 50 million or so farmers who cultivate it across India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. However,…

Biodiversity on Indian Cotton Farms: Field Notes from Andrew Flachs

by Erika Zambello In 21st century agricultural practices, monoculture dominates. “Most commercial agriculture around the world comes in the form of monocultures, where whole fields are devoted to a single plant,” Andrew Flachs writes in a new article at Voices for Biodiversity, “Monocultures are stark landscapes, built around the logic of factories rather than the…

Wild Snow Leopard Prey Recovers Thanks to Reserve

Post submitted by Matt Fiechter, Snow Leopard Trust 18 years ago, we established our first grazing-free village reserve for wild snow leopard prey in partnership with the community of Kibber, India. Today, the area’s population of bharal, a wild sheep that’s among the snow leopard’s preferred prey species, is about four times higher than it was…

What Are Indians Eating on Thanksgiving?

So, what is eaten in India while Americans chow down on turkey?

All Plants Are Medicine; We Just Need To (re)Learn How

“All plants are medicine,” Dr. Raghubir Singh Rawat, the herbal gardener at Navdanya, exclaims proudly with a hint of mystery to his voice. Dr. Rawat bends down to examine a seemingly mundane but prolific weed, “this is used for eye health,” he says before popping the small white diamond-shape flower in his mouth. He stretches above his…

Saving Rice in Pictures

Not pictured: the dozens of hands cutting, sorting and hauling rice. The sweat-soaked saris and brows. The awe of witnessing the preservation of biodiversity.      

How Borders Can Cross the Line on Caring for the Environment

Set up for political and cultural reasons, human borders can have a major effect on many more things, especially the environment.

Marigolds: an (agri)cultural staple

The first seeds I ever saved were marigold seeds. At the time, I was a garden educator at a small neighborhood environmental nonprofit in Camden, New Jersey. The Center for Environmental Transformation(CFET) is situated in the South Waterfront neighborhood, an old urban community enclosed by industrial facilities which not only restrict access to the nearby waterfront, but…

Our Seed Stories – a Participatory Educational Media Project this School Year

Join me this school year on my journey to India to learn about seed saving, community food systems, and how to cultivate a future for biodiversity!

Life in an Indian Village Through the Eyes of a Child

Evidently, even if you’re from a rural village in the Eastern Himalaya, candy is still the treat of choice for a little girl.

California Increases Climate Ambitions with Landmark Legislation

Two laws signed by Gov. Jerry Brown will ratchet up California’s fight against climate change by launching efforts to reduce emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. SB-32 calls for increased renewable energy use, more electric cars, improved energy efficiency, and emissions cuts from key industries. AB-197 provides aid to low-income or minority communities…

Shipwreck Hunter Discovers 500-Year-Old Treasures

After 500 years lost at sea, Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama’s Esmeralda shipwreck has been discovered, and National Geographic grantee David Mearns is recovering the infamous ship’s remarkable treasures.

Driving Safely on Unsafe Roads in Telangana, India

Like most people in rural India, I get around by bus, three-wheeled auto-rickshaw, and motorcycle. And now, after years of tempting fate by riding three to a bike, wearing sandals, without helmets, on bumpy roads like any other villager, I can add motorcycle accident to my list of South Asian adventures. If my mother is…