LETTERS TO EDITOR FOR ISSUE DATED SEPTEMBER 30 2023

GREEN CENTER IN MARGAO

A GIANT LEAP TO  GREENER FUTURE!  Minister of Environment, Public Work Department, Law & Judiciary, Legislative Affairs Nilesh Cabral launched the EP Biocomposite Ltd’s EP Green Center at Sapana Chambers Co-op Society in Margao on Sepember 29, 2023 in the present of prominent the presence of prominent architects, consultants and engineers. The EP Green Center by EP Biocomposites (part of EP Kamat Group) aims to address green issues by offering a wide range of environment-friendly products and services. EPBL not only promotes green-tech products but also contributes towards cleaner, greener and safer environment through the products and services. The one-stop-shop offers multiple sustainable solutions, from eco-friendly household solid waste management products to waste water management, from sanitation solutions of bio-digester tanks and toilets to FRP doors and allied products. The alternatives hope to   encourage individuals and stakeholders to make conscious choices vis-à-vis reducing their carbon footprint and promote a greener future. Minister Nilesh Cabral applauded the venture, saying “The  EP Green Center is a true testament to  commitment to sustainability…the comprehensive range of environment-friendly products and services empower us all to make choices that benefit our planet. Together, we can build a brighter and more sustainable tomorrow.” Present were Rajkumar Kamat (MD of  EP Biocomposites) who welcomed Channel Partners in and out of Goa to collaborate and embrace this exclusive concept of spreading and working together towards a more sustainable and prosperous world.

SC IS FOR TIGER RESERVE!

The Supreme Court of India has refused to grant a stay to the High Court order directing the Goa government to notify the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary and its surrounding areas as Tiger Reserve within three months. This means the Goa government will now have to declare Mhadei as a tiger reserve within one month notwithstanding the Goa government’s challenge to the High Court.

The SC’s verdict must have must have come like a tight slap (at least for now) on the face of the Goa government and in particular Forest Minister Vishwajit Rane, who was instrumental in filing a special leave petition (SPL) challenging the above High Court order in the Supreme Court and dreaming of auctioning Mhadei and its surrounding areas to the builders lobby under some pretext or the other. 

I just hope that the SC will somehow dismiss the Goa government’s special leave petition (SPL) filed in the top court at the very earliest and uphold the July 24, 2023 High Court order directing the Goa government to notify the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary and it’s surrounding areas as a Tiger Reserve. To finally bring cheer on the faces of all the NGOs who have been and still are fighting to protect Goa’s forests and rivers and to officially protect/save wildlife forests in Goa.  Viva Goa, Viva Goenkaar!

–Jerry Fernandes, Saligao 

CLIMATE JUSTICE, NOT GREEN INVESTMENT!

THE Centre for Responsible Tourism adopts the below given TAAF statement and endorses it as being its own on the World Tourism Day 2023. In 2023 the official World Tourism Day celebrations will be hosted in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, under the theme “Tourism and Green Investments.” World Tourism Day is celebrated every year on September 27 by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). 

We should recognize the role of the UNWTO as the major cheerleader of the corporatized tourism industry that has somehow made itself part of the international infrastructure of the United Nations. It has paid lip service to tourism as a force for peace, a tool for poverty alleviation and a pathway to development. This is all the while serving the purposes of the big multinational corporations of tourism in extracting profits, distorting economies and securing the regulatory conditions that suit their interests at the expense of communities around the world.

This year’s focus on “green investments” follows a long line of heralded “green” initiatives, particularly green tourism and green growth. These have proven to be green hypocrisy, as essential actions for equity, sustainability and justice are not on this agenda. The continued development of gated resorts, huge golf courses, privatized commons and mega cruise ships give away the game.

The game is to present an image of doing tourism business responsibly, while in fact ensuring ever greater profit is extracted, more commons are taken (including a liveable climate) and the community is served the crumbs from the corporate table. 

However, as we globally experience the devastating impacts of climate change and the crossing of multiple planetary boundaries – signified by conflicts, famines, drought, floods, fires and displacements – we need to be critically conscious of the tools and methods to distract our attention on needed action. Tourism development presents clear tensions between community prosperity and well-being, environmental protection and industry profits. Far too often industry profits are derived at the costly expense of communities and ecologies.

Finally, we cannot overlook the hosting in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has stormed the pavilions of “sustainable tourism” in an effort to sanitize its human rights record and to project an image of its transition from fossil fuels. Its investments in luxury “sustainable” tourism development such as Neom highlight the elitest agenda that Saudi Arabian leadership is intent on pursuing. The Saudi-led Sustainable Tourism Global Centre launched the Tourism Panel on Climate Change in 2022 which promises a “neutral” scientific assessment of tourism’s pathway to “net zero by 2050”. This represents a bold effort to capture the agenda of the tourism transition. In all likelihood the interests of ordinary communities in securing a safe future for themselves and their children will not be on this “green investment” table. 

Each World Tourism Day, TAAF has continued to call out the UNWTO and its corporate allies for its hollow promises and exploitative actions. Today we face extraordinary times. Daily news reports – from our TAAF members’ communities in Sri Lanka, in Costa Rica, in India, in Peru, in Palestine, in Brazil and all around the world – demonstrate that the capitalist, imperialist, western supremacist powers and their collaborators are taking us to a cliff edge. 

Tourism is not innocent in these agendas – it is complicit and instrumental. These green investments and net-zero promises are deadly distractions from what really matters to the Majority World.

Today, we say climate justice, not green investment, is the platform serving the interests of the Global South. If tourism is to have any future at all, it must be one that is built on climate justice foundations as determined by frontline communities living and thriving in the Global South.

–Fr Savio Fernandes, Tourism Alert & Action Forum (TAAF), Panaji

FAILED BJP GOVERNMENT!

EVEN after 18 years of BJP rule at the state level in Madhya Pradesh and more than 9 years of double-engine government at the Centre, Modi uttered the word “Congress” 44 times in his speech! This shows that he has nothing to show as achievement in terms of:

  1. 2 core jobs per year
  2. Cheaper petrol/diesel
  3. Bullet trains
  4. Rs15 lakh per person
  5. India becoming super power
  6. Low inflation
  7. 10 smart cities
  8. Doubling farmer’s income, etc.

And he cannot speak on Gautam Adani because then his political funding will be cut. That’s Modi and BJP for you in brief.–Vladimir De Monte Furtado, Panaji  

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