Magazine

Current Issue: Apr Sep 2017
Rejoicing in the Eco - Feminine

Women and Nature have been undervalued by a patriarchal world. So too the eco-feminine as a principle - as can be seen in the way poetry, the arts, natural resources, softness and nurturance, the small and the simple have all been  under-recognised and under-valued in the masculine world of politics, technology and economics of endless growth. We explore this theme through stories and essays - as it so happens, mostly by women.

Editorial

It is important to rejoice in the eco-feminine! To savour its nurturance and wisdom, to dignify its value in these times of climate change, to respect its persistence and grit. We need to go beyond an apologetic “this is all that I am able to do”, and celebrate the connection between ecology and the feminine as an idea whose time has come.

This is a great quote from Paul Goodman:

Selected Articles
A few articles from our current issue are offered below in full, to view other articles please browse this issue.

We need as many ways as possible to encourage ecologically wise living on Earth. This is the belief with which the Bhoomi Network has installed an annual award for community-based local ecological projects. Through this award, we hope to –

“From a Gaian point of view, we humans are an experiment — a young trial species still at odds with ourselves and other species, still not having learned to balance our own dance within that of our whole planet…” , says Elisabet Sahtouris

Aliston Texeira: “Nature is not a place to visit - it is home... I plan to use the Sharavathi Rainforest farm space to create a central repository for all types of useful plants, local and exotic, while studying and making accessible to others, indigenous knowledge of ecosystem interactions and ways of living.”

Hema Bapat: “When I began the Sustainable Living course in Bhoomi, little did I imagine that I would get so committed to reviving the Hado Siddhapura Lake. It may be a long journey, but with so many people who are suppporting me, it seems possible for an ordinary person like me.”

“Though a new term, it is embedded in ancient wisdom. Archeological evidence suggested that there were many ancient societies where women were not considered subordinate to men; where Earth was treated with respect and reverence and not as an object to exploite and dominate. ”

Previous Issues

Readers collect the Bhoomi magazine to re-read pieces by their favorite classic authors. Also, many teachers continue to use articles from previous issues in their classes. To make your own collection of the magazine, browse through our archives to pick a single issue or buy our themed bundles.

Magazine Packs

Each pack contains 4 issues with articles focused on the mentioned themes or all the issues brought out in a single year. These are available only in print version and are priced at Rs 300 within India

Packs Titles Included Price CCAvenue Links

Education

Rethinking Education
Campaign for a million Eco projects
The Future of Our Children
The Green Schools movement

300 Add to cart/Checkout

Sustainable Living

Whats a good life
Good for us, Good for the Earth
Mindful Travel
Smart or Regenerative cities

300 Add to cart/Checkout

Food & Wellness

Focus on Food
Towards ecological sanity
Taking charge of Health & Wellness
Holistic Wellbeing

300 Add to cart/Checkout

Economics for Wellbeing

Whats a good life
Economics of Happiness
Development - seeing the whole elephant
Positivity & Violence

300 Add to cart/Checkout

Bhoomi Conferences

Whats a good life?
Campaign for a million Eco-projects
Economics of Happiness
Yugaantar - Foundations of an Ecological Age

300 Add to cart/Checkout

Yearly Packs

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2010

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2011 Add to cart/Checkout
2012

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2013 Add to cart/Checkout
2014

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2015 Add to cart/Checkout

Single Issues

Learning from Indigenous People
Do we need ‘Smart’ cities or ‘Regenerative’ cities?
Local Water Solutions
Yugaantar - Foundations for an Ecological Age
Chemicals in our Lives
The Green Schools Movement
The Future of our Children
Climate Change & The Human Mind
Good for us.. Good for the Planet
Youth: Seeds of Change
Development: Seeing the Whole Elephant
Campaign for a Million Eco Projects
Community and Commons
Taking Charge of Health & Wellness
Gaia ~ Our Living Earth
Towards Ecological Sanity

Editorials: Current Issue

It is important to rejoice in the eco-feminine! To savour its nurturance and wisdom, to dignify its value in these times of climate change, to respect its persistence and grit. We need to go beyond an apologetic “this is all that I am able to do”, and celebrate the connection between ecology and the feminine as an idea whose time has come.

This is a great quote from Paul Goodman:

Editorials: Previous Issues

A defining characteristic of modern civilization seems to be the disempowerment of most people. Farmer suicides, apathetic citizens unable to take care of their waste, water and air, the desperation of students to get into colleges and jobs and their inability to find their own livelihoods, the grabbing of land by the land and industry mafia - these are all signs for us to see. And in a global and massive way we feel helpless about the free fall to disaster that our economic system and climate change are leading us to.

To live is to share. Whoever or whatever we are, sharing is inevitable - we at least share the air we breathe, the space we live in, the sources of water we use, the culture we are immersed in and much more.

By consciously sharing we are merely ack-nowledging or owning up our natural selves. By creating spaces to share in, we merely enable those who share our part of the Earth with us to get together, to live naturally, in a world that has often attempted to isolate us from others and from Nature.

Thoreau expressed his contempt for mankind when he said, “It appears to be a law that you cannot have a deep sympathy with both man and nature.” Woody Allen put forth his biophobia by proclaiming, “Nature and I are two.” A cursory glance at the quotes may suggest diametrically opposite perspectives but the implicit axiom connecting the two seems to be that human beings and nature are primarily distinct and separate entities. 

Very often a word, a phrase or an idea can mislead us, or mislead even several generations of human beings. We have many such words that are part of the colonisation of our minds, part of determining our world-view and our world today.

‘Bacteria cause diseases’ is one such idea – and we have a world today which gives very little importance to education for immunity building that can save us from diseases of all kinds and also prevent the breeding of many disease-causing bacteria in our bodies.

Chemicals have played a major role in building the modern world. They have also played a major role in trashing the Earth and humans, especially the youngest and the poorest. So this quarter, Eternal  Bhoomi focuses on a complex issue: balancing the use of chemicals with personal and planetary well-being.

The Earth is bountiful and incredibly beautiful - beckoning to us to climb those mountains, watch wildlife at dawn, relax on that beach - after travelling half way across the planet. And there are people of exotic cultures, lovely old castles and other man-made wonders to admire. Add to that our human need to be enchanted by what is new and affordable, we have a great footloose civilisation. On an average over 8 million people fly every day, and if you travel by train, the station is so crowded that the whole world seems to be travelling. But hey, so are you!

The human brain-mind is a phenomenal creation of Nature, giving us the amazing ability to make innumerable and complex mental connections. Yet, Nature failed in giving us a natural ability – that of seeing the whole picture and humans have ended up being caught up with immediate concerns, needs and feelings most of the time.

Awareness about the need of living with ecological wisdom is not lacking, going by what we see in the papers and the TV, almost everyday. Most educated people have heard of climate change and the importance of reducing our carbon foot print. (Most ‘uneducated’ people would anyway be living with a low carbon foot print)

It is generally easy to take sides, or sometimes take action, when we see direct physical violence being perpetrated. We see it every day in family squabbles and in the millions of cases pending in our courts. The world witnessed it on a massive scale when President Bush attacked Iraq, and the whole world seemed divided into those who supported him and those who did not.

Most literate people who know the word ‘biodiversity’ will agree today that it is essential for long-term survival of  humankind. Tribals and traditional farmers and many others living close to nature probably know this truth in their bones. Biodiversity is essential for our basic survival needs of food and health.

Our modern globalised economic world has failed our children terribly. 1.5 million children die of hunger every year around the world, 28% of children in developing countries are malnourished,  and millions are without drinking water, or in abject poverty. Why is it that a relentless focus on economic growth has not trickled down in all these decades as promised by economic globalization to those most in need? Even with middle-class citizens, while the modern world may have brought us many comforts, conveniences and toys, it has brought in many new problems and anxieties as well.

The state uses its muscle poer to quell the thousands of protesters in Koodamkulam, villagers in Omkareswar, had to stand for 17days in 'jal satyagraha' in the water to fight for their legitimate and constitutional rights for rehabilitation on being ousted from their lands and livelihood. Several people following Anna Hazare and others go on a fast every now and then to fight against corruption. A series of scams has only hardened the remorseless stand of the government.

There is an old story about a girl and her red shoes which illustrates well our modern civilization's struggles with a machine - dominated world.

 

'Bhoomi' is a space that we need in these time when the human race is faced with range of social, psycological, economic and other crises with the mind boggling climate change crises leading the way. The power center of the world do not seem to be able to deal with these crises with conviction and strength.

Our theme for this issue of Bhoomi is ‘Towards Ecological Sanity’. We have, after all, been insane in numerous ways. Fossil fuels, industrialization, consumerism are some obvious examples that come to mind. If we scratch the surface some more, we realize that there are many compulsions we have acquired collectively, which have got the stamp of public and global approval.

There is a delightful story of Birbal, who, on his way home, saw a group of people searching for something under a street lamp. What have you lost? he asked, and was told that a precious ring had been lost. Birbal got down on his knees and joined the group to search. After a while, it struck him to ask, where have you lost it? Out there, he was told, and the place was pointed out to him.

All around us, the notion of a ‘good life’ includes exotic foods, big vehicles, lots of travelling, big buildings, designer homes, and factories to produce an uncountable variety of things, and electricity, coal and gas to make all this possible - all to keep pace with our faster lifestyles. Individually, we may ‘seek happiness’ in a range of directions, but collectively most of the developed / developing world looks for a host of material comforts to lead a good life.

Gaia, the Greek Earth Goddess came into prominence in recent years after James Lovelock wrote his path breaking book of the same name. In beautiful, often lyrical prose, and with painstaking holistic science, Lovelock wrote of the miracle of Gaia. We felt we owed Gaia a Bhoomi issue in her honour. The concept of Gaia not being very well known in India, we hope our readers would enjoy this issue of understanding and celebrating our “living” planet Earth.

I spoke to an endocrinologist-diabetologist once and told him that I had been able to stop taking anti-diabetic medicine by eating more fruits and vegetables, minimizing cereals and fats and by eating the right foods at the right time. He took it as an insult to modern medicine and fumed, “Modern medicine has increased the life span of people, especially in degenerative diseases like diabetes. Do you know that if you stopped taking medicines you would have to eat more than a quarter kg. of vegetables a day?

This issue marks the completion of two years of our journey with Eternal Bhoomi – and this has coincided with the historic civil society movement in India led by Team Anna. Over the two weeks of high drama and sheer grit, the movement saw several small communities spontaneously forming across the country and stoking the fires of revolt against corruption; there was anger converted to determination and the people of India felt that they had discovered their voice.

Grassroots action is often thought of as something a few idealistic people do, or something that happens far away in villages and forests. The word ‘grassroots’ for the average city-dwelling student for instance, has rarely figured in school and college, since life revolves around books, class rooms and exams. Cities get a whiff of grassoots action when we find people joining Anna Hazare’s movement or start a cycling group or protest against the cutting of trees.

From the early years of the 20th century, there have been several great visionaries who realized that our modern civilization was overstepping its limits of exploitation and consumption on earth. From Tolstoy and Gandhiji to Schumacher and the Limits to Growth report, there were several warnings that we were headed towards disaster, unless we changed course to a more sustainable path.

We need to question our prevalent capitalist economic system more deeply and intensively. If we take the trouble to join the dots, we find that it is connected to many of the ills of our world - be it the rampant ecological destruction, the ever increasing urban sprawl, aggression against women and the underprivileged, or an oppressive and frenzied education system. We also need to study alternatives and ways to take our own positive steps towards dealing with them.

Ideas can be powerful. The idea of perpetual material progress has captivated human beings, especially during the last two centuries. Yet, the notion that it is natural for human beings to seek constant progress or growth – material or otherwise - is a relatively new one. For many millions of years, humankind has evolved without being enchanted by the idea of outer progress. Many thousands of communities, even today, do not care for it.

Seeing the Whole Elephant

Educational Institutions and policy makers need to play a role in preparing youngsters for the future. And the future will be determined by the decisions we make about our current development path - whether we shift to a low carbon way of life or not.

We of the older generation are not handing over Planet Earth in very good shape to our children. Worse, we have handed over dreams of success and achievement that are not going to help them with real issues in their lives – real issues of dealing with cleaning up and cooling down our earth.

The first issue every year has the same theme as the Bhoomi Conference (or Unconference) – this year, the focus is on the Campaign for a Million Eco Projects. The web portal www.millionecoprojects.com will be integral to this campaign, to document eco projects and faciliate the end user to explore, connect, act and share.