This world environment day , I want to share something personal that connects Prakriti , a living form of women (Janini) and innovations , along with everything that goes between it. Some of you have witnessed our work over five years , with the use of low cost indigenous and Indian made solar dryers , solar cookers and trainings in organic farming to develop Ladakh’s first eco village called Takmakchik. I started Guna with a meagre sum of 30,000 rupees and initiated in contributing in the organic food movement by conducting workshops on awareness of organic as the concept was fairly novel. These workshops were intensive and talked about the environmental benefits of eating organic , farming organically and leading a holistic life.
The problem I regularly noticed in Takmakchik and in New Delhi was the insatiable demand for ever higher quality products will continue to rise while at the same time the availability of the resources needed to satisfy that demand will remain constrained. Reconciling this apparent conflict is rapidly emerging as one of the biggest challenges of our age. Doing better with less can no longer be a short term response to difficult economic conditions. It has to become an essential long term business strategy. Businesses that recognise this new reality stand to prosper. Guna has adopted this strategy out of constraints and lack of resources to work with less and slowly improve the quality of lives of organic farmers.
Organic farming is laborious and requires four hours extra on the field , it is physically exhausting and mentally taxing .. most work in India is done by women. We recently lost our backbone , Stanzin Dolker who was our self help group leader , a real embodiment of being a caretaker of the earth .. she assiduously practiced organic farming in Takmakchik. One of her greatest strengths were community mobilisations, it’s really not the same without her in the village. Together , we calculated Green house gas emissions , LPG reductions with the use formulas , we even carried out the Beat Plastic Pollution movement in Ladakh. Currently , we at Guna are in the process of restructuring , building hybrid models and making lots of Mistakes. We recently went through a tough time as my name was wrongly put out , people character assassinated me and sadly most of these people were from the organic and startup ecosystem.
They pointed fingers of my association , partnerships with UNDP GEF Ministry of Environment etc. It’s sad that in 2019 in India , these are the means people are retorting to in order to run a woman down who is working assiduously for the betterment of farmers , incorporating glacier friendly practices in a self funded ethically run startup. Upon confrontation , they referred to it as a bet and social experiment , in a nation where women are raped every twenty minutes , they almost pushed me to risk and in a position of doubt , suspicion , this is the reality of men in India , particularly in Delhi. Some people even used my dead grandfather’s name who was a strong agriculturist and built the phenomenal Food Corporation of India. All of this was done to exaggerate male chauvinism during the election period recently for private advantage and to feel superior than a lone woman trying to make a difference in the mountains.
When will this nation rise to protecting and making women strong , as women embody Prakriti and environment most closely. I would like to reiterate that in India , a woman is raped every twenty minutes and a farmer commits suicide every thirty minutes. Eco feminism strikes a direct correlation between the two.
For all young women trying to make a difference in organics , my advice to them is to be cautious while working in remote regions , visiting farms for field study or even establishing contacts with startup’s in organics in Delhi as it has only just begun. Please keep away from the western capitalists as their motive is sales , acquiring customers as opposed to looking after rural poor and the earth.
They should especially be very careful of these so called mentors , advisors who may give good advice initially but when it comes to doing something substantial demand a stake and push their opinions. I don’t mean to sound discouraging but it’s really sad. Men claiming to be feminists have turned out to be aggregators of prostitution. I am taking immense measures to protect myself. All of this sounds dark but is the reality , women are the greatest caretakers of earth, we nurture and uplift like no other. This environment day , I make a pledge to witness more Indian women protect themselves and rise to look after the environment. On the policy side of things , it’s nice to see the Swedish Govt. rise to include activities such as plogging to combine fitness and cleaning up plastic.
We recently witnessed Dr. Harshvardhan current Minister of Environment riding a bicycle to the Ministry. These are all good messages for the public. India will be the host of Conference of Parties later this year. India has many indigenous , low cost and efficient environment friendly practices that need to be highlighted in front of the world. Very recently , our scientist Tashi Namgyal was invited at the International solar alliance to display the low cost solar dryer which was well appreciated by the International audience as it was designed keeping in mind Indian women working in mountains. Therefore , all hope is not lost .. some hope exists and there are some thoughtful men , who are taking measures to reduce drudgery of our Indian women farmers.
Happy world environment day 🙂