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.
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. In their prognosis, UN agencies are unanimous that the best way to correct the present course is to heed the accumulated wisdom of indigenous peoples, fishers and farmers.
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.
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