Climate change, land degradation & agricultural deceleration in Manipur: Combined action of Land Use Policy & Environment Policy: A pioneering strategy

Mohendro Nandeibam

When the whole world is facing onslaught of aggressive climate change, Manipur cannot remain mere onlooker. The state is not sacrosanct. It has its own share of sorrow. The poor state has to suffer directly or indirectly, sooner or later. How many of us are aware of imminent danger of survival in the troubled age? How many of us think globally and act consciously? The uneasy culture of discounting future marks the beginning of the end.
The Risk-Multipliers (5) associated with climate change such as Reduced Agricultural Productivity, Heightened Water Insecurity, Increased exposure to extreme Weather Events, Collapse of Eco-system and Increased Health Risks are grim reminder of an endangered future.
How far the common people can be motivated for behavioural change by outcomes of academic workshops and conferences graced with the presence of eminent scientists and administrators? It is good but not enough. The general mass, particularly in Manipur, is still groping in the dark being heavily occupied by hand-to-mouth life. To them food is more important than environment. To them environment is a luxury. How can they think of a future of 50-100 years when they are unable to think of their daily livelihood? They hardly listen, because it does not serve the purpose of poor people. They are in the trap of multiple deprivations. Their overriding consideration is immediate need, — not anticipated future. Remember, a hungry man knows no morality. Humans pollute more than volcanoes; says a study conducted at University of Arkansas. How to educate people? This is not easy; — because Advice is not decision. Decision is not determination. Determination is not will power. How to tackle the stubborn mind? Prescription not followed by suitable action is as good as wishful thinking. 
Much has been talked of Sustainable Development, which needs to be qualified more. With huge loss of natural capital, physical capital and health hazard, climate change would cost India 2.8% of Gross Domestic Product and diminish living standard of nearly half of country’s population in the next 3 decades. “The warming of 2  could result in 4-5 percent reduction in annual per capita income in Africa and South Asia” (WDR-2010).


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.