The book, Ecology and Equity, talks about the ecological degradation. And how it has impacted the major sections of the society. The authors call the people living in rural areas, closer to nature as ‘Ecosystem people’. And the book describes how for the development of cities and for providing facilities to urban areas, the ecological balance is being disturbed in the distant areas. It gives an interesting episode of the time when electricity was first supplied to Bombay. And how it impacted the rural areas in Maharashtra and Gujarat. It also extrapolates the same analogy to how the so-called ‘developed nations’, actually save their own environment by importing things like Wood and other minerals from the third world countries. And hence have a negative impact on the people living in those ecologies.
It explores the age-old way of living in India. That is self-sufficient and self-sustaining villages. And how that model was conducive to protecting and sustaining good ecological balance. It goes on to propose the various models by which the lost ecological balance can be regained. In the global world today, going back to self-sufficient villages may not be possible or feasible. But they propose an active participation of the ‘ecosystem people’ in the rebuilding process. And have given ample examples of the local wisdom and knowledge that had helped sustain the ecosystem.
Definitely a very good book, but slightly boring to read. At times it seems like a textbook and you tend to lose interest. It could have made an interesting and informative reading if it was written in a slightly more interesting way. Nonetheless, for environment enthusiasts, it still makes a good reading.
You may buy this book – Ecology and Equity the Use and Abuse of Nature in Contemporary India by Ramachandra Guha and Madhav Gadgil at Amazon.
Recommend you read the review of Ramachandra Guha’s book India after Gandhi.