India: Regenerative Strategies for Climate Justice


© Gaia Education
03 December 2015

In Odisha (India), 70% of the population is dependent on agriculture. Although endowed with rich natural resources, 66.2% of the population of this eastern Indian state lives below the poverty line, earning just 28,400 Rupees per capita a year, the fourth lowest income of the 17 major Indian states according to the Economic Report Survey 2014-2015.  In partnership with the NGO THREAD and the women’s federation Orissa Nari Samaj, and funded by the Scottish Government, Gaia Education has been supporting tribal communities from the Koraput District to strengthen their agro-ecological production, while attempting to address the deeper structural changes needed to tackle the root causes of poverty and climate change.   Tragically it is those who have contributed the least to green house gas emissions who are suffering the worst effects of climate change. We are constantly developing new climate resilient agriculture approaches which are very close to the traditional ways of food growing.   The project aims to break the cycle of food insecurity, strengthen social linkages and improve the status of women. Through permaculture and sustainable farming practices the project is improving the health of the soils, diversifying the crops, enhancing the villagers’ livelihoods and well-being. Monsoon is the real Minister of Agriculture of India as it controls the course of farming. This year, a late and insufficient monsoon of 15 days instead of usual two and half months of rain created difficulties for the kitchen gardens of the villagers. The women still managed to plant their saplings but the harvest was small. New water-use efficiency techniques have been introduced through our training programmes more techniques will be taught to keep up the moisture in the soil when there is no rain.  The constant change in the environment of our partners in the Global South creates an imperative for constant learning. However, learning is an organic, internal process and ultimately our role can only be to support the emergence of locally adapted learning response.  Gaia Education is one voice amongst thousands calling and acting for climate justice. As world leaders consider their next steps, we join in solidarity with the women of Odisha who, in the face of looming crisis, are tackling climate change in their own dignified manner.