The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has once again brought forth the reality about climate change. Compared to earlier reports, the evidence presented is robust since it is based on a larger body of scientific, technical and socioeconomic evidence of climate change. The evidence of climate change impacts is “strongest and most comprehensive” for natural systems such as glaciers and oceans. The impact is already visible on agricultural crops.
Based on many studies covering a wide range of regions and crops, the panel has concluded that negative impacts of climate change on crop yields have been more common. Climate change has negatively affected wheat and maize yields for many regions, while rice yields have been affected to lesser extent. Human health too is getting impacted. Local changes in temperature and rainfall have altered distribution of some water-borne illnesses and disease vectors such as mosquitoes.
The reason for this is simple – providing sanitation is like laying power lines. You have to construct not just toilets but also lay sewer lines, treatment plants and provide water. Can technology help provide any shortcuts? Six groups of Indian researchers from top ranking institutes have got grants from the Department of Biotechnology to do jus this, under a unique programme called “Reinvent the Toilet”.
Next generation toilets will use solar energy to incinerate waste or biogas digester to convert it into compost and will be able to treat liquid waste locally. At present, some of these prototypes look more like mini factories, but their developers are confident that final products would be much more sleek.
Techpedia has instituted some interesting awards for young innovators – More from Less for Many Award, Socially Relevant Innovation or Technology Award and Technological Edge or Strategic Innovation award.
Collectively these awards are called Gandhian technology awards. Out of 1,400 nominations covering 60 technology fields, 13 were selected for awards this year. Awarded innovations include low cost cardiovascular diagnostic kit for rural areas, lowcost device to increase adherence to TB medication, thermal and combustion improvements in cook stoves, low-cost diagnostic for pneumonia and herbal spermicide.
— Health and education are two key determinants of development but they are yet to become an election issue in India. The Congress party has made a beginning by promising Right to Health in its manifesto, while rival BJP is yet to outline its vision on this issue. The Congress manifesto says that the right to health will ensure “all people obtain easily accessible, quality health services based on a combination of public provision and social insurance”.
Carefully read, this is a departure from the policies pursued till now by the health ministry in which the role of private sector was increasingly becoming important even in provision of public services. It’s good that the Congress party wants to bring the focus back on public system. This is in line with thinking in several countries where public health systems are being strengthened.
Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on Mountains and Climate linked issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last five years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in the Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>