Stories written by Manipadma Jena
Manipadma Jena is an independent development journalist and communications consultant who works out of Bhubaneswar in eastern India. She specialises in environment, climate change, biodiversity, indigenous people and the MDG themes broadly. | Web | Twitter |

Trolling of Women Journalists Threatens Free Press

“It’s not what you say that prompts it—it’s the fact that you are saying it,” says Mary Beard, a Cambridge University classics professor about online trolling. “If you venture into traditional male territory, the abuse comes anyway. It is the many ways that men have silenced outspoken women since the days of the ancients.”

Asia’s Water Politics Near the Boiling Point

In Asia, it likely will not be straightforward water wars.

Energy Access Builds Inclusive Economies and Resilient Communities

Jaipal Hembrum runs three one-man home enterprises - a bicycle repair shop, a tiny food stall and a tailoring unit in Kautuka, a remote village in eastern India. Sewing recycled clothes into mattresses late into the evening, the 38-year-old father of three girls says two light bulbs fed by a solar power system have changed his life.

For South Asian Policy-Makers, Climate Migrants Still Invisible

Tasura Begum straightens up from picking a bushel of green chilis and looks at the mighty Padma River flowing by, wondering whose life it ruined today.

Q&A: Land Degradation Could Force 135 Million to Migrate in Next 30 Years

One of the critical challenges facing the world today is that emerging migration patterns are increasingly rooted in the depletion of natural resources.

Microsensor-Fitted Locust Swarms? Sci-fi Meets Conservation

Every November, India’s Gahirmatha beach in the Indian Ocean region develops a brownish-grey rash for 60 to 80 days. Half-a-million female Olive Ridley turtles emerge out of the waves to lay their eggs, over a hundred each. For the sheer numbers, this arrival is hard to miss.

Water Scarcity Could Impact West Asian Credit Ratings

Water scarcity, conflict and refugee exodus is the strongest megatrend in West Asia, indicating the status of current trends and how these factors may shape the future, according to UN Environment Programme’s sixth Global Environment Outlook - GEO-6 Regional Assessment for West Asia released May 2016.

Q&A: Crisis and Climate Change Driving Unprecedented Migration

Climate change is now adding new layers of complexity to the nexus between migration and the environment.

Not So Smart Idea

As Bhubaneswar experiences scorching heat of 43.2 degrees Celsius in early April, 5 degrees above normal, 44-year-old Prasanti Behera barely sleeps at night. Two summers ago, a fire charred 50 homes in her slum and burnt in seconds US$600 she had painstakingly saved over two years for her daughter’s marriage.

India Holds Up Farmers’ Plight from Extreme Weather for COP21 Delegates

“If you look at the submitted Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs, the national commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2030) by over 150 countries, most have announced mitigation-centric targets, whereas climate change is also about adaptation. India is among the few that has given a comprehensive INDC,” Ashok Lavasa, a key official of India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and part of its COP21 team at Paris, told IPS.

“Bringing Private Funds into Land Restoration is Risky”

The world loses 23 hectares to land degradation each and every minute, adding up to the disappearance of 12 million hectares worldwide – an area half the size of the UK.

Urgently Needed: Studies Linking Land Degradation, Migration, Conflict and Political Instability

Some 135 million people could be displaced by 2045 as a result of land desertification, according to a recent UK ministry of defence report. This figure could rise to 200 million who are displaced by other climate change impacts like natural disasters by 2050, said British environment refugee specialist Norman Myers.

Tribal Priestesses Become Guardians of Seeds in Eastern India

As the rhythmic thumping of dancing feet reaches a crescendo, the women offer a song to their forest god for a bountiful harvest.

Lessons from an Indian Tribe on How to Manage the Food-Forest Nexus

Scattered across 240 sq km on the remote Niyamgiri hill range in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, an ancient tribal group known as the Dongria Kondh have earned themselves a reputation as trailblazers.

Lessons from an Indian Tribe on How to Manage the Food-Forest Nexus

Scattered across 240 sq km on the remote Niyamgiri hill range in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, an ancient tribal group known as the Dongria Kondh have earned themselves a reputation as trailblazers.

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