Former Biodiversity Board chairman and member of Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel V S Vijayan has said that a misinformation campaign on the Gadgil Report is doing its rounds in the state.
He was speaking at the concluding session of the ‘International law conference on forests, wildlife and ecology’ jointly organised by the Kerala Law Academy, Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE), Forest Department, Centre for Advanced Legal Studies and Research and the Department of Environment and Climate Change, Government of Kerala.
‘’Evaluating the sessions here, one significant call that evolved was for participatory planning. This is precisely what the Gadgil report had called for too. It said that the local community should be empowered. But now people are being influenced by vested interests and being a member of the panel, I feel pained at the way the report is being attacked,’’ said Vijayan.
On putting a price-tag to environment, Vijayan said that it is very difficult to put a price to environmental services; however, at times, this ends up as the only way to convince people about the service value of the environment. ‘’Time has come for the country to come up with a development model, not with a GDP goal but one that would meet the basic needs of the people,’’ said Vijayan, who is also the chairman of the Salim Ali Foundation.
Member of Legislative Assembly and former Education Minister M A Baby, who delivered the keynote address, quoting Karl Marx, said that ‘’Capitalist production undermines two primary sources of entire wealth - soil and man.’’
‘’It sums up the vision and the basic, scientific understanding that Marx had about the environment. In an exploitation-oriented social system, making profit is the only motive. The fertility of the soil is being totally destroyed,’’ said Baby.
The former minister said that if the whole world were to emulate America’s model of development and consume energy the way America does, science says that you would need five more globes to meet the energy resources.
Dr Frank Fleerackers, dean of law faculty, Commissioner of the High Court of Justice, Brussels; Salim Ali Foundation trustee and environmentalist M K Prasad; founder of Ecological Internet Dr Glen Barry; and Head of the KU Department of Aquatic Biology Dr A Bijukumar spoke at the concluding session.