Stories written by Manipadma Jena
Manipadma Jena is an international environmental journalist reporting from New Delhi and Bhubaneswar in India. She specializes in climate change, gender, water, renewable energy, migration & biodiversity, is passionately interested in rights of indigenous communities and photography | Web | Twitter |

Online Education Moved to Top of Agenda by Indian State after IPS Reports Risks of Unequal Access

High up at an altitude of between 1,500 to 4,000 feet in India’s eastern Odisha state, live the Bonda people — one of this country’s most ancient tribes, who have barely altered their lifestyle in over a thousand years.

E-learning Divide Places World’s Disadvantaged Children at Risk of Dropping Out

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new layer of challenges to inclusive education. As many as 40 percent of low and lower-middle income countries having not supported disadvantaged learners during temporary school shutdowns, finds United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s 2020 Global Education Monitoring Report  released today, Jun. 23.

India’s Outdoor Workers on the Frontlines of Climate Change

Last June when more than half of India was reeling under daily temperatures topping 40 degrees Celsius, Nursing Behera’s 11-month-old son burned both his legs when a pot of boiling water fell on him.

India’s Unique Water Purification Wetland Could Soon Become Extinct

Ramkumar Mondal’s farm is awash in a brilliant yellow mustard bloom. A flock of grey cranes peck for food amidst the shallow watergrass. But Mondal’s fishpond digs in there like a do-or-die last sentinel as nearby high-rise buildings, a symbol of development and encroachment, menacingly tower over the fishpond, permanently blocking the eastern sun so essential for the pondwater to convert sewage into fish-feed.

India’s Electric Mobility Needs Enabling Infrastructure to Pick up Speed

Dogged by intractable air pollution debilitating large northern swathes from mainly urban vehicle emissions, India earlier this year announced targets for a 40 percent non-fossil component in its fuel-mix by 2030 as part of its Nationally Determined Commitments (NDC) to the Paris accord on climate change. It aims for full electrification of public transit systems and of one-third private vehicles by 2030.

Mother Earth’s Café Dares Climate Crises in India

The sun has barely risen when Phlida Kharshala shakes her 8-year-old grandson awake. He hoists an empty cone-shaped bamboo basket on his back, sets the woven strap flat across his forehead and off they go into the wilderness.

Is India on Track to Beat the Perfect Storm?

“The Perfect Storm” was a dire prediction that by 2030 food shortages, scarce water and insufficient energy resources together with climate change would threaten to unleash public unrest, cross-border conflicts and mass migration from worst-affected regions.

Q&A: Achieving Sustainable Goals: “In the End it is All About People. If People Want, it Will Happen.”

Today just over two billion people live without readily available, safe water supplies at home. And more than half the world’s population, roughly 4.3 billion people, live in areas where demand for water resources outstrips sustainable supplies for at least part of the year.

Q&A: As Water Scarcity Becomes the New Normal How Do We Manage This Scarce Resource?

Growing economies are thirsty economies. And water scarcity has become “the new normal” in many parts of the world, according to Torgny Holmgren executive director of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).

When a Grass Towers over the Trees

As governments scramble for corrective options to the worsening land degradation set to cost the global economy a whopping 23 trillion dollars within the next 30 years, a humble grass species, the bamboo, is emerging as the unlikely hero.

Crowd-Sourced Data and a Mobile Phone Application Are Making Cities Safer for Women

When Shiba Kurian alighted from Chennai’s city train, the evening office-returning crowd was thick and jostling. Having booked a ride-hail cab she walked out to the entrance. Instead of the cab for which she had to wait an hour, ribald comments and derisive laughter came her way from a group of roadside Romeos.

Q&A: “What Price Do We Put on Our Oceans?”

“Political resolve is the key for succeeding in our fight against oceans pollution,” Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, who is leading hands-on the organisation’s global campaign to clean up seas and oceans of plastic litter, agricultural run‑off and chemical dumping, told IPS.

The Urbanization of Malnutrition

Rapid urbanization is increasingly shifting the impacts of malnutrition from rural to urban areas. One in three stunted under-five children out of 155 million across the world now lives in cities and towns.

Indian Journalist’s Murder: The Ultimate Form of Press Censorship?

Dauntlessly crusading against curbs on freedom of speech, fifty-five-year-old Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh was gunned down at her very doorstep in Bengaluru city on the evening of Sep. 5, taking three bullets of the seven fired in her lungs and heart. She was shot from just three feet away.

One Earth: Why the World Needs Indigenous Communities to Steward Their Lands

“Showing them a picture-book crow, I intone ‘kaak’ in Bengali, the State language. While others repeat in chorus, the tribal Santhali first-graders respond with a blank look. They know the crow only as ‘koyo’. They’ll happily roll out glass marbles to count but ask them how many they counted, they remain silent because in their mother tongue, one is mit, two is bariah - very different sounding from the Bengali ek and du.”

SLIDESHOW: When Women Have Land Rights, the Tide Begins to Turn

In Meghalaya, India’s northeastern biodiversity hotspot, all three major tribes are matrilineal. Children take the mother’s family name, while daughters inherit the family lands.

When Women Have Land Rights, the Tide Begins to Turn

In Meghalaya, India’s northeastern biodiversity hotspot, all three major tribes are matrilineal. Children take the mother’s family name, while daughters inherit the family lands.

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.

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