Stories written by Keya Acharya
A journalist with over 20 years of experience in in-depth writing and researching environment and development issues in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. Keya has travelled widely, covering assignments in various areas of the world. Her research has included climate change, urban solid waste management, rural alternative energy systems, implementation of laws on industrial hazardous wastes, human rights, ecotourism, wildlife issues, transgenic cotton, corruption and environment, population and gender, e-governance, agribiotech and forests and encroachments, among other topics. Keya is vice chair of the Forum of Environmental Journalists of India, and has organised several media-training workshops, convened international media meetings and undertaken media study tours. Keya has won several research and media fellowships and is the recipient of the Press Institute’s award for Excellence in Human Development Reporting; the Prem Bhatia Award for Environmental Reporting, and the Green Globe Foundation award for Outstanding Media Contribution by a Media Individual. Keya has also conducted development journalism studies as visiting faculty, chaired media and international conference panels, and edited ‘The Green Pen’, an anthology of essays on environmental journalism, the first of its kind in South Asia, featuring the region's most prominent and respected environmental journalists. | Web

INDIA: Green Schemes Turn Into White Elephants

Several incinerator facilities that were supposed to turn waste into energy have proven to be white elephants that are now adding to the country’s pollution woes, instead of alleviating them.

INDIA: Stemming Experiments in Stem Cells

Hundreds of patients are now streaming into stem cell therapy clinics all over India, despite the controversy surrounding stem cell research and even though, doctors say, no one has yet been cured by this technology.

CLIMATE CHANGE: ‘Water Towers of Asia’ Show Cracks

A concerted effort to formally document the magnitude and directions of climate trends in the Eastern Himalayas and thereby decide regional adaptation strategies is critical to ensure the region’s water security, according to water experts.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the Climate Change Conference in Cancún, Mexico. Credit: UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

CLIMATE CHANGE: See the Green in REDD+, Say Top Leaders in Cancun

An entire body of leaders, spearheaded by U.N. Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon, is now looking at REDD+ as a panacea to global warming with multiple benefits thrown in.

A cloud forest in Costa Rica.  Credit: Germán Miranda/IPS

CLIMATE CHANGE: REDD at Cancun Causes Angst in India

Forest rights advocates and indigenous community organisations from India are adding their voices to what promises to become the newest division in the climate talks here: the inclusion of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation + in developing countries, or REDD+, as an agreement.

CLIMATE CHANGE-INDIA: Scientists Warn, Gov’t Must Act

India’s first-ever major scientific assessment of its climate change scenario by the 2030s, released in November, has the report’s scientists rooting for the government to take concrete action.

INDIA: Textile Industry Could Use Shot in the Arm – Experts

It is a sector that happens to be India’s second largest employer and its annual revenues are expected to grow three- fold within a decade if it gets all the support it needs. But major players in India’s textile and apparels industry say it remains low in the government’s list of priorities, rendering the sector incapable of realising its full potential.

Wildlifers worry the Forest Rights Act will threaten India's last critical habitats, which include Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan.  Credit: Keya Acharya/IPS

INDIA: Four Years On, Debate Rages On Forest Rights Law

It was supposed to help right old wrongs as well as protect India’s forests, but four years after it took effect, a landmark law recognising the forest rights of scheduled tribes remains the subject of acrimonious debates among the country’s government officials, environmentalists, and rights advocates.

INDIA: Trade Talks with EU Put Drug Manufacturers on Edge

Their ongoing negotiations remain shrouded in secrecy, but there are already reports that India and the European Union (EU) will have a free-trade agreement ready by the end of August, and that they will be putting signatures to it before the end of 2010.

Two tribal women receive training in a unique cellular phone-based information system called CG Net Swara. Credit: S.Choudhary/IPS

INDIA: Mobile Phone-Based News System Gives Voice to Tribals

The central Indian remote jungles of Chhattisgarh and the urban technology- savvy node of Bangalore are now linked by a mobile phone-based information system, a first in the world, called CGnet Swara.

Agnes Mbuvi amidst the napier grass in her harvested maize plot.  Credit:  Keya Acharya/IPS

AGRICULTURE: Affordable Solution to Costly Pests

The International Centre for Plant Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), based at Mbita, on the Kenyan shores of the world’s second-largest freshwater body, is advocating "push-pull cultivation" as the answer to feeding future generations in Africa.

ENVIRONMENT-INDIA: All Eyes on Forest Protection Body

Seemingly unstoppable development has made a mockery of the protected status of this southern Indian region, which houses vast biodiversity and some of the finest examples of moist deciduous and tropical forests.

ENVIRONMENT: Indian Glaciologist Fires Back at Climate Sceptics

"It is a fact that global warming is happening. If the Arctic Sea ice is melting, how can the Himalayan glaciers not be melting?" glaciologist Syed Iqbal Hasnain asked indignantly.

INDIA: Stalled Korean Mining Operations Face Fresh Protests

The Indian government’s grant of the final environmental clearance to a Korean giant firm, allowing it to acquire 3,000 acres of ‘forest lands’ in the eastern state of Orissa, has prompted a fresh spate of protests from more than 4,000 families that will be affected by a proposed mining project.

INDIA: ‘Glacier Man’ Vows to Build More Artificial Glaciers

He is well known as India’s ‘glacier man’, but for 74-year-old retired government civil engineer, Chewang Norphel, accolades have made little dent in his quiet determination to build more high-altitude water conservation systems, or ‘artificial glaciers’, to beat the lack of water from receding Himalayan glaciers.

The melting glacier of Kardung La in India's Ladakh region Credit: Keya Acharya/IPS

ENVIRONMENT: ‘Temperature Rise Guaranteed, Thanks to Brown Clouds’

Regardless of success at the upcoming climate talks at Copenhagen this December, there will still be a 2.5 degree rise in temperatures.

INDIA: Rural Communities Turn to Traditional Climate Mitigation

In Tamilnadu, southern India, and Uttar Pradesh, northern India, villagers have revived ancient systems of storing surface and groundwater that are putting them in a good position to contend with today’s changing climate.

INDIA: Fishermen Struggle As Seas Change and Fish Dwindle

At Pudumadaka beach, 60 kilometres from the coastal city of Vishakhapatnam in southeastern India, 40-year-old Ummudi Bangaraiah stares hopelessly at the day’s catch of 4 kilos of sardines, the money from which, when divided by the five other fishermen in his boat, will not pay for one meal for his family.

INDIA: No Place to be Disabled In

India passed a law for equal opportunities and rights for persons with disabilities in 1995, but in spite of taking more steps than some other developing countries, its 60 million physically challenged population remains hugely disadvantaged.

A file picture of Binayak Sen, an activist health professional who is in prison on unproven terrorism charges. Credit: Binayaksen.net

RIGHTS-INDIA: Activist Doctor's Incarceration Flouts Democratic Norms

Even while India goes to the polls in a lumbering show of democracy, human rights activist-doctor Binayak Sen remains in prison on unproven terrorism charges.

Dalit women in Zaheerabad intersperse crops and use farmyard manure with good results.  Credit: Keya Acharya/IPS

ENVIRONMENT-INDIA: Women Farmers Ready to Beat Climate Change

A collective of 5,000 women spread across 75 villages in this arid, interior part of southern India is now offering a chemical-free, non-irrigated, organic agriculture as one method of combating global warming.

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