An “Ecological Deficit Day” for India? – Prof M S Swaminathan
Chennai, July 14: 2015: July 14th is being observed as US Ecological Deficit Day. The aim of this programme is to create awareness of the need to strike a balance between the growing per capita human needs for food, water, land and jobs and the capacity of ecosystem services to meet them. The Global Footprint Network is publishing reports on the demand we are making on ecosystem services through lifestyles which enlarge our footprint and thereby create an imbalance between the health of the ecosystem and its population supporting capacity.
It would be useful for our country also to organise an ecological deficit day. This can be organised at the level of each Panchayat so that there is an appreciation at the local level of the need to ensure that our footprint remains small and is within environmentally sustainable levels. Village schools and urban colleges in particular can play an important role in spreading the concept of ecological footprint thereby reminding each one of us from childhood that we should not make unsustainable demands on ecosystem services like soil, water, biodiversity, foodsecurity, livelihoods and income based on the exploitation of natural resources. May be the Ministries of Panchayati Raj, Human Resource Development and Environment, Forest and Climate Change could jointly organise a programme every year to highlight the ecological deficit we are creating in different parts of the country. At the same time the Day should draw attention to communities which are creating ecological surplus, so that ecological despair is replaced with ecological hope and pride.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.