Glimpses of ‘An alternative framework for environmental governance’ Or Few Aspects of Self-Help Green Society (SHGS)
Crisis in agriculture and environment is reciprocal to each other.
- Environmental problem is a global, national and local phenomenon, which is to be addressed in all the three phases – globally, nationally and locally. In matters of environmental governance, work at the local level bears much importance. It not only can make the activity a manageable one, but also can give the achievement a concrete shape and, at the same time, can spread it naturally, if that might bear any truth and effectiveness.
- As we are not good enough at making immediate sacrifices for an abstract benefit in the future, the ‘environmental and agricultural management’ must also be a part of a wholesome and integrated economic activity, which would generate short-term gains for all at the time of fulfilling mid and long term goals.
- Though the movement is to be called ‘greenery for all’, the people could name the project ‘Autonomous Greenery, Fishery and Animal Husbandry by the People’ (AGFAP).
- Greenery is nothing but another sort of agriculture of mid and long term duration. Talks are getting thick on ways of organic and diversified farming. Diversification of agriculture must be given space in every term of duration – short, mid and long. Organic agriculture needs diversification of agriculture and diversification (of agriculture) needs an extra security for its upkeep.
- Diversification of agriculture spells a lot of things. Inclusion of diversification in short, mid and long-term agriculture economizes water-use to a great extent in one hand, and facilitates water harvesting by partially reorienting paddy fields, on the other. Following this reorientation long stretch of paddy field would be dotted with pits and higher lands to unravel the huge possibility of fishery and cash crops. Side by side, an efficient management of flood and drought would usher in the “Second Green Revolution.”
- The main objective of the movement is to extend the sharecropping system currently existing in ample cases of short-term agriculture to mid- and long-term ones.
- The main layer of security can well be ensured when the programme of diversified farming benefits everyone in the social hierarchy. This is the reason as to why the idea of AJFAP comes in, where all will gain and ‘Greenery for All’ may be a good point to start on.
- The greenery in India started decreasing with the rhythm of centralization of state power and weakening of social relationship. Therefore, it is obvious that there is no alternative to utilizing the power of social relationship in the making and protection of greenery and other natural produce.
- The existing social forestry scheme has some good effect on the reserved and restricted forests, giving rise to 10% of more greenery in most cases. However it failed to create anything beyond its jurisdiction. Particularly, percentage of greenery has decreased by almost 20% in 70% of land outside declared forest zones. And again, it failed to include 99.5% of people living in the villages in the programme for making the country green. Eventually it has become evident that the existing social forestry, which has so far been able to include only .5 % of people, has sadly failed to become a social one.
- Inclusion of all persons living in a village is not so easy a matter. Particularly the task of managing almost 70% of land of this huge country and involving huge mass who were left out of the pale of social forestry, since they belong to different social or political classes. In the rally of unending types of ‘us and them’, the latest addition is partisan politics itself.
- Keeping the problem of management of so huge land and people in view, entrepreneurship should be made in the micro level, comprising, say, 1000 people. Involvement of all the people of a locality can generate the resource of relationship in between every individual and each type of us and them prevailing in the society.
- To ensure the involvement of every individual and so many types of us and them, promotion of a third factor is felt necessary. For this, a platform or a club is to be made taking all the persons of a locality as its members.
- All – namely, the landowner, the landless labourers and the club – should achieve something from this project or movement. The club can get 30-40 % of share, where production is made under its direct supervision. The share of the landowners and the landless labourers can be 40 & 20-30 % respectively. The club can also earn a sizeable share by providing security and other assistance, in matters of processing and marketization, to the existing family farming, which the club should never try to get under its own management.
- Direct activity of a club should be restricted to 10-15 % of land and water body – mainly unused or underused.
- Since this platform will play a vital role in relation-making and in experimenting its possibility; its mode of formation would appear to be a matter of great concern. The members of the working committee would be elected through consensus. The head of the platform would be elected or selected in the same manner. Democratic formula of majority-minority method is irrelevant for the purposeful and meaningful involvement of all living in a locality. In a word, religious, casteist or political sectarianism have nothing to do with this sky-kissing as well as down to earth entrepreneurship for the welfare of all, with whom the project would be undertaken.
- Efforts are to be made to utilise the potentials of schools, colleges and universities, mandirs, mosques and churches in the making of such a movement.
- The platform or the club will play as a pivot in the management of AGPAP, around which the landowner and the landless labourer will have a swing. The club will be just like a ‘meson’ in the functioning of a nucleus in an atom or, if one is again allowed to put it metaphorically, like sakhis in the love-affairs between Lord Krishna and Srimati Radha.
- Ultimately the programme would mean formation and activation of Self-Help-Green-Society(SHGS), which is not contradictory but contributory to the existing Self-Help-Group.
- Formation and activation of a SHGS is genuinely a difficult job. However, unprecedented environmental crisis, while creating a petrifying effect, has started evolving new hopes too. It is becoming obvious that the paths currently traversed by mankind are suicidal. This situation, which gathers unprecedented gloom, has suddenly cast a more glowing light over the beauty and zeal of life, over every triviality around us, making it, perhaps, more exhilarating than before. Secondly, the crisis that is hovering over us and causing severe though not equal disaster to all of us, has the potential to bring together even those who were so far ardent opponents – just as snakes and frogs take shelter in the same haven and stay peacefully at the time of devastating flood. Thirdly, change is taking place in the horizon. Those who were fighting against the multinational companies have now started working with them hand in hand. They call it a ‘historical reality’. It is in this context of this ‘historical reality’ that we are to take decision whether we will be agreed to take cooperation and coordination as a capital in the down to earth community work where poor and less-poor are residing. The details of so greatly important a club needs further elaboration.
- The club or bottom level unit of SHGS (which would consist of around 1000 people as its members), will plant and foster around 1 lakh saplings.
- Initially, there should be four sub-committees: A) Fodder sub-Committee [FC] B) Nursery sub-Committee [NC] C) Security sub-Committee [SC]. D) Marketing sub- Committee [M.S.]
- The unit of the SHGS would declare in a written manner that they are not owners of trees but protectors and they would only get a share of the produce, which the owner would give as a portion of wage in lieu of mere money.
- Any sponsorship is welcome only when the sponsor becomes a part of the SHGS and the community makes a minimum contribution collected from every individual as fees in form of money or labour or both.
- The contribution of the individual, social or governmental sponsors shall not mean donation but investment for regenerating social relationship as capital and explore its endless possibilities.
- The sponsor /s will get 10% of trees or its produce when land is provided by individuals, society or government. If he/they himself/themselves provide/s land, he /they will get additional 40% of trees or/and its produce as landowner/s.
- What would be the effect of this AGFAP? If we are allowed to have a dream, it would ultimately give a new shape to the villages of India and, perhaps, it would peacefully bring about major changes in the towns and the cities of this country and, of course, transportation-biased economic activities. Huge details are there. It must be added that this spirit of cooperation tested in the making of AGFAP will, perhaps, get extended to many desired directions – such as: going towards organic farming and biodiversity, becoming self-reliant, morally awakened, creating the hope of a resurrection of the civil society. In a word, it would ultimately give birth to another renaissance for the 21st century. Our humble view is that, if our mother Earth gets the chance to see another renaissance, it must be sheltered in the village-universe even if it may have its starting from the cities. This renaissance can only ensure the stability of the part of our local as well as global civilization, which is continually retreating towards an unprecedented environmental crisis in human history.