Sunday, November 1, 2009

Today about two-thirds of population of the world live at low levels of technology, often in conditions of physical deprivation and even starvation, o

Today about two-thirds of population of the world live at low levels of technology, often in conditions of physical deprivation and even starvation, owing to a combination of factors. These include overpopulation, environmental deterioration, a history of colonialism that has destroyed old political and cultural units and thrown unrelated peoples together in newly emerging nations, and external or internal economic exploitation by powerful elites.
Stable traditional societies almost everywhere have been severely disrupted and their newly emerging social patterns are still undergoing great flux.
The 'beesh' (poison) was introduced in the mid-sixties as a component of High Yielding Varieties (HYV) technology. The farmers were given fertilizer free of cost. They were also given all sorts of incentives, such as credit and free training, to use pesticides and fertilizer form the agricultural department. With the fertilizer they were given paddy seeds developed in the laboratory known as HYV variety. In addition they were given pump machines to extract ground water for irrigation. Monoculture of HYV seeds narrowed the genetic base of agricultural practice. From at least fifteen thousands varieties of rice Bangladeshi farmers ended up into 8 to 12 varieties of rice. The extraction of ground water has resulted in a major crisis .Overall experience is disastrous.IMPORTED AGROCHEMICALS
An example was the widespread adoption of the 'miracle' grains of "Green Revolution".
Farmer Jahnara Begum
From an environmental and human health perspective, monoculture cropping encourages increasing pesticide use. Pests quickly develop resistance while their predators are killed off and farmers turn to increasingly higher doses and/ or stronger, more toxic pesticides, as pest resurgence occurs. Farmers are also often forced to increase the use of fertilisers to counter the loss of soil fertility resulting from a limited source of nutrients provided by one type of crop. HYVs (Gene modified High Yield Varities) also demand far more water and nutrients adding to the depletion of soil fertility and water resources. In addition pesticides and fertilisers build up as toxic residues in food and contaminate our soil, water and air, not to mention the health and living environment of farmers, agricultural workers and farming communities.
Farmer Jahanara Begum, speaking at a public meeting in a rice field in Chakaria, Bangladesh, said, "We have so many varieties of rice seeds, but instead we are going for the varieties from IRRI and the seed companies. These seeds need a chemical package. So we are doing deals with scientists and transnational companies. When we use local varieties we get a yield of 40 kg of rice. When we use pesticides and the companies seeds we get 20 kg more but we also destroy our soil, water and biodiversity." She added, "How many poisons are you using? We have lost our birds, our fish, the wildlife. We have lost all this for 20 kg more and we spend more money on our family's health. Bangladesh has such fertile land. We can grow so much. Still we have so much biodiversity." Furthermore, "For the last eight years I have used no pesticides. My costs have gone down and my yields have gone up. In nature there is a balance between predators and prey. Pesticides destroy this natural balance."
Women are the main users of water. They are the providers and collectors of water Arsenic poisoning has become a social malady in Bangladesh. Because of the socio-economic condition rural women are not given better food even during their pregnancy and become vulnerable to arsenic poisoning. Symptoms of arsenic poisoning are mistaken for more lethal disease leprosy or skin diseases, that leads to quarantining due to mistaken identity, in other words, social isolation. Parents cannot get their affected daughters married, wives are also sent back to their parents together with their children. Divorce is also very common. In a number of cases women also commit suicide.
We have shown, using econometric analysis, that the poorest suffer the most from arsenicosis in Bangladesh (WHO, 2000). . The burden of arsenicosis falls mainly on those living in low-income households (Tani, 1999). Most arsenic patient of Bangladesh is still drinking arsenic contaminated water and can hardly afford any medical treatment. There are many such 'poorest of the poor' families which badly need safe drinking water but have no money to participate in the process of installing a DPHE-supplied tubewell. One must pay Tk. 4,500 before arsenic free the Government well sets tube or affiliated NGOs. So the poor does not have any option.
First World beliefs that indefinite growth in material material consumption is possible, and today's grossly unequal distribution of global wealth is somehow ''justified'; the wealthy, it is said, have 'earned' it, although no one ever makes clear just how that earning took place. Almost all western aid to developing countries has been defevtive in chossing technologies, which does not reflect the local cultural values of each people. In fact, some of the ancient truths that have stood the the test of countless generations are now being 'discovered' by modern science. They are an intrinsic part of our humanness, built into the human psyche through millions of years of evolution.
Search for our heritage to recapture the sense of social, cultural and ecological harmony.
Societies need to 'coevolve' with local environments and culture, choosing appropriate technologies and creating social institutions that permit the environment to sustain society indefinitely.
Each culture must retrieve within its vison of loving relations with soil, air and water of Earth. Necessary for all cultures to be aware of the existence of etnocentrism and to school themselves to accept a world with diversity of value systems.
To support traditional simplism, humanism and secular thoughts that developed over centuries.
To promote traditional social bonds through permanenet groups of shared community
To save traditional medicine from time immemorial (Ayurveda, herbs)
To support shared community where human aspect of living.
To reintroduce lost traditional heritage that raises posit.ion of woman in society.
To support woman not to leave village in quest of job in the city.
To make available arsenic and disease free water.
Culture is learned as a child, and as children we each learned from those around us a particular set of rules, belifs, priortes and expectations that moulded our world into a meaningful whole. Bichar, Boul, Jari, Murshida, Baromashi etc are traditional dying culture of Bangladesh. You'll be astonished to hear how simple melodious language describes the diversity of human values. Bouls say, "God (Christian, Muslim, Hindu or others) is within us, if you love human being or the nature within you live, you also love God. You don't have to travel far.""Why look for your loved in the forestLook at your own souland there you'll find him"It is our worldview, our abstract conception of reality. We want to save it for generations. Villagers celebrates the concert the whole night.
"The fishes find the deep sea,The birds the branches of the tree.The Mother knows her love for her sonBy the sharp pain in her heart alone.Many and diverse colour that all milk shows,Through all the world, a Mother's nameA Mother's song is found the same".
Most of the projects run by the NGOs are for the elite of the society. Attractive seminars, workshops highlights the elites which have fallen under the intellectual spell of the "North" - metastatic spreading left over from clonial times.
Our films, books, lectures and endless symposia are useful to a degree, but ultimately they miss the boat. They come from the city, and rarely filter down to the villages in crisis. What we need to see happening is a reversal - an ecological sensibility that starts at the village level. Our cities are under the intellectual spell of "the North" continuously destroying love of the earth based on pragmatic beliefs and strategies that had passed down from generation to generation. We are gradually losing basic elements of sustainable development
NGOs in Bangladesh supported by donors and project blue prints from them demand money from the partcipants for taking part in a project.This means "acive participation". We have seen that in several villages that the poor can not take part any of these projects. Besides they have to travel a long distance which costs money and disrupt from all household activities.
The tax payers of developed countries should be more aware of the projects in the developing countries and politically represent lobby for the sustainable development for the poorest group of the population - not after destroying environment introducing new technologies appropriate for environmental sustainability but allow developing countries to regain traditional spiritual, social and cultural heritage.
We have supported the clay potters of Village Madhabpur, Faridpur to produce water filter. We have opened sewing and embroidered courses in three villages, where women can not affort. Ms. Aleya Begum, lives with the villagers. Poor women don't have to travel far away.The villagers can bring their babies, feed milch etc. You can not imagine, how pleasent and cordial atmosphere prevails here.
Village Betbaria, Faridpur
Village Bhatpara, Faridpur
Village Kuzurdia,Faridpur Faridpur
Each unit democratically selected their committee.


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