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 |

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.

Watch What Happens When Tribal Women Manage India’s Forests

Kama Pradhan, a 35-year-old tribal woman, her eyes intent on the glowing screen of a hand-held GPS device, moves quickly between the trees. Ahead of her, a group of men hastens to clear away the brambles from stone pillars that stand at scattered intervals throughout this dense forest in the Nayagarh district of India’s eastern Odisha state.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Climate Change

So much information about climate change now abounds that it is hard to differentiate fact from fiction. Scientific reports appear alongside conspiracy theories, data is interspersed with drastic predictions about the future, and everywhere one turns, the bad news just seems to be getting worse.

Integrated Farming: The Only Way to Survive a Rising Sea

When the gentle clucking grows louder, 50-year-old Sukomal Mandal calls out to his wife, who is busy grinding ingredients for a fish curry. She gets up to thrust leafy green stalks through the netting of a coop and two-dozen shiny hens rush forward for lunch.

Women on the Edge of Land and Life

November is the cruelest month for landless families in the Indian Sundarbans, the largest single block of tidal mangrove forest in the world lying primarily in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal.

Facing Storms Without the Mangrove Wall

As the cyclonic storm Hudhud ripped through India’s eastern state of Andhra Pradesh, home to two million people, at a land speed of over 190 kilometres per hour on Sunday, it destroyed electricity and telephone infrastructure, damaged the airport, and laid waste to thousands of thatched houses, as well as rice fields, banana plantations and sugarcane crops throughout the state.

Marine Litter: Plunging Deep, Spreading Wide

Imagine a black-footed albatross feeding its chick plastic pellets, a baby seal in the North Pole helplessly struggling with an open-ended plastic bag wrapped tight around its neck, or a fishing vessel stranded mid-sea, a length of discarded nylon net entangled in its propeller. Multiply these scenarios a thousand-fold, and you get a glimpse of the state of the world’s oceans.

U.N. Pushes Climate-Smart Agriculture – But Are the Farmers Willing to Change?

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to make a strong pitch to world political leaders at the U.N. Climate Summit in New York on Sep. 23 to accept new emissions targets and their timelines.

Can Land Rights and Education Save an Ancient Indian Tribe?

Scattered across 31 remote hilltop villages on a mountain range that towers 1,500 to 4,000 feet above sea level, in the Malkangiri district of India’s eastern Odisha state, the Upper Bonda people are considered one of this country’s most ancient tribes, having barely altered their lifestyle in over a thousand years.

India’s Women Lose the Election

“Men just do not want to give up their seats, it’s as simple as that,” says 67-year-old candidate in the Indian election Subhhasini Ali, voicing a gloomy view across women’s groups in India.

Political Web Spun for ‘Youngistan’

As India votes in its 16th general election Apr. 7-May 12, the youth, comprising nearly half the country’s 814 million voters, could prove decisive. And the internet is being used increasingly to target youth in the world’s largest democratic exercise.

Look Who’s Helping Olive Ridley

When Olive Ridley sea turtles nest on the beach in his village, little Warthy Raju can barely wait for the millions of hatchlings, with their three-inch shells and thumb-sized heads, to scramble out.

‘Deserts Can Save Forests’

It may take development of the deserts to save forests, say experts, who stress that desert ecology needs to be preserved and enhanced.

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