Thursday, 27 January 2011

The choice between coal and elephants

I have today received the following message from Preethi Herman, the Climate Campaigner for Greenpeace India.

Naturally, it is biased - as all viewpoints are biased.

Please read the following, and then judge for yourself which side you are on:

"The dangerous forest versus coal tussle has claimed its first victim – the endangered Indian elephant. The Chhattisgarh government has scrapped plans for an elephant reserve in order to allow the same forests to be mined for coal. [1]

"Last year the environment and forest ministry defined regions rich in forest cover and biodiversity as No-Go areas for mining. [2] The coal ministry wants the government to scrap this classification. [3] A Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted to resolve this will take a decision later in the year. [4]

"These No-Go areas are among the last remaining forests in our country. They are home to wildlife such as tigers, leopards and elephants, and crucial to the livelihoods of millions. [5] If mining is allowed here, we can bid good bye to all of these. We need to pick our sides for this epic match. Big ministries backed by private lobbies are siding with coal – and against the forests.

"Can you show your support for the elephants and our forests?

"This is the first preparatory step for our massive fight to save our forests and the communities who depend on them. The government needs to know that millions of Indians want their forests protected and declared No-Go for mining.

"Instead of increasing its dependence on coal the government needs to invest in exploring renewable energy options. [6] Once destroyed, these forests will never get resurrected even with the best reforestation efforts.

"Clearing forests will only hasten climate change. Coal mining not only destroys forests and displaces communities but also contaminates nearby rivers and water sources.[7] India's remaining forests and wildlife and communities must be protected from mining.

"Show your support for the elephants and their forests now.

"Thanks a billion!"

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