Rio Conventions Pavilion, CBD COP11 (11/10/2012) – Prof M. S. Swaminathan, Indian Member of Parliament, speaks out against the ravaging of India’s forests and details what he thinks is required to protect them.
Swaminathan describes the major destruction of forests that has taken place in India, especially from mining. He compares it to the massive deforestation that occurred to create new agriculture land after the Second World War.
Swaminathan asserts that the conflict between advocates of development and of environmental protection omnipresent in the Indian media is one that only exists for the rich. He claims that for the poor, dependent on forests for their livelihoods, water and fuel, there is no question that the environment comes first.
Swaminathan gives high praise to the Indian Supreme Court for defending the forests over the past 40 years. He affirms that the ease with which public interest litigation can be undertaken has done much to protect India’s natural environment.
However Swaminathan acknowledges that the Supreme Court has been far from able to curb all environmental damage and that a combination of education, social mobilisation and regulation is required to ensure the forests are adquately protected. He is confident that in the coming years the necessary political leadership, scientific knowledge and public participation will be found to ensure the survival of India’s forests