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 |

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.

India’s Food Security Rots in Storage

Shooing off a quartet of hens that come pecking, 24-year-old Kamala Batra sits guard over a sack of coarse rice spread out on the courtyard. After small black insects slowly crawl away in the sun’s heat, she gathers it to cook for the day’s free midday meal - a pan-India government food security scheme for students.

India Strives to Become ‘Drought Proof’

In a country of 1.2 billion people, the threat of drought takes on epic proportions.Over a period of two centuries (between 1801 and 2002), India experienced 42 severe droughts, according to the Indian Space Research Organisation. One of these, in 1979, cut food grain production by 20 percent; another, in 1987, damaged 58.6 million hectares of cultivated land, affecting 285 million people.

Traditional Farming Holds All the Aces

Last monsoon season, 65-year-old Sunadhar Ramaparia, a member of the Bhumia tribe in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, mixed indigenous crops like ‘para’ paddy, foxtail millet and oil seeds in his upland plot.

Tribal Farmers Fall Back on Ancient Wisdom

While tens of thousands of Indian farmers succumb to the pressures of debt, hunger and poverty by taking their own lives, members of the Bhumia tribe are simply falling back on a 3,000-year-old agricultural system to ensure a steady supply of healthy food.

Solar-Powered Water Pumps Struggle to See the Light

When twenty-nine-year-old Kartik Wahi graduated from the Kellogg School of Management in Chicago, Illinois in 2010, he wasted no time in returning to India to self-finance a start-up company to market solar-powered irrigation pumps.

Worms, Termites, Microbes Offer Food Security

Worms and termites are not likely to win hearts and minds, but they, along with lichens and microbes, are vital to food security, say biodiversity specialists who attended this month’s United Nations conference on the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in this south Indian city.  

Biofuels are amazingly profitable in tropical countries, says André Aranha Corrêa do Lago. Credit: Manipadma Jena/IPS

Q&A: “Developing Countries Are Doing Their Part for Biodiversity”

Developing countries are investing enormously in preserving biological diversity, and it is unimaginable that the wealthy nations will not fulfill their obligations to provide funding for these efforts, Brazilian environmental negotiator André Aranha Corrêa do Lago told Tierramérica*.

Biofuels are amazingly profitable in tropical countries, says André Aranha Corrêa do Lago. - Manipadma Jena/IPS

"Developing Countries Are Doing Their Part for Biodiversity"

We cannot isolate biological diversity by geographical boundaries, says Brazilian negotiator André Aranha Corrêa do Lago in this interview.

‘Urban Planning Must Factor in Biodiversity’

 “With more than 60 percent of the world projected to be urban by 2030 why not prepare for it and build cities that include biodiversity preservation into planning?” asks Kobie Brand of ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability in Cape Town, South Africa.

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