trinet's blog

Water Security! +  

 Water security is critical for human life. We use water not just for drinking and cooking but also in agriculture, industry and other activities. The availability of water has shaped the course of human civilizations which is why most cities were established on river banks. The changing availability of water linked with climate change is a cause of anxiety.

Organized data for effective management +  

It is widely believed that community based co-management is the best way to sustain small scale or artisanal fisheries worldwide. But the bedrock of an appropriate management approach is quality data. Here is a short report from FERAL, an NGO located in Puducherry which is trying to address this knowledge gap.


Artisanal fishing is no longer fishermen casting simple nets to make an honest living. This has long given way to teams of fifty to a hundred fishermen spreading five hundred kilogram nets with mesh sizes one tenth the legal limit over kilometres of the shoreline. The near shore ecosystem is devastated with every cohort of every species being harvested yet the men using these nets and their families live in abject poverty. This project, funded by the Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi, SEED Division, is about gathering data to document the ecological and economic changes and potential impacts creating governance structures adaptive to the data and long run sustainability as well as documenting the need for a greater number of local practical interventions along the Coromandel Coast of India.

Resilient Cities of the Future +  

Resilient Cities of the Future

Communication in Fisheries +  

Fishing is considered a high risk profession. With a large number of marine fishermen who have moved beyond near-shore fishing, the need to be able to communicate to the shore as well as with each other while at sea is very important.

Deep Depression Nov 2013 +  


Blue Destruction +  

 Named Phailin (Thai meaning sapphire) on October 9th, what started off as a tropical depression on October 4th in the Gulf of Thailand, moved steadily west, passing over the Malay peninsula, over the Andaman Sea and into the Bay of Bengal. Eventually, it became a very severe cyclonic storm on October 10, with 1-minute sustained wind speeds of 260 km/h at peak intensity. With IMD and the other weather watchdogs worldwide keeping watch and proving updates, it soon became clear that the cyclone was headed for the Odisha coast. Alerts were sounded. It was likely to be worse than the 1999 Supercyclone. But we were forearmed – models predicted the likely landfall location and the time of landfall as well apart from warning about the places that were most likely to be affected. The IMD site was regularly updated. The actual track followed the predicted track. Almost a million people were moved to safe shelters before the cyclone hit the coastline on 12th of October.

First Food and Locavores +  

 One evening, I found a large package waiting on top of my mailbox as it would not fit in. I opened it and found a copy of “First Food – A Taste of India’s Biodiversity”, a surprise gift from a friend who shares a curiosity about traditional foods. Intrigued, I turned the pages of this large format book packed with glossy photos and I could not put it down till I had skimmed through the book. Skimmed because it is not really possible to absorb the extent of information that has been presented. And that is only a small fraction of what information is actually available.

Conception-Connection-Contestation +  


Years ago, I heard a lecture on the Laws of Ecology by Barry Commoner. When I opened Prof Mayerfeld Bell’s book on environmental sociology, this line leapt out, “Everything we do has environmental implications, as responsible citizens recognize today". However, it is not enough for citizens alone to recognize this – it has to be recognized at the policy level too. The biggest problem is probably the strong dividing line between sociology and natural sciences (and engineering sciences too) and the complaints about hiding behind jargon which must be overcome if we are to succeed in our plans for sustainable development.

Climate Change in the Gulf of Mannar +  

On 20th May, the world carbon dioxide levels breached the 400 ppm mark for the first time in some 2.5 million years. About a month later, on 18th of June, 2013, a workshop was held at Chennai on Climate Change and Livelihoods in the Gulf of Mannar, Tamil Nadu. The workshop attracted a packed audience including government officials, members of the fishing community from Gulf of Mannar, scientists and academics as well as members of the civil society. The highlights were presentations on scientific data and people’s perceptions in the Gulf of Mannar about climate change based on studies carried out there. It was interesting to note that overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and climate change were considered, in that order, as the major threats in the region.

EBA and Climate Change +  

 The trend is increasingly towards holistic assessments of the environment; more specifically we are focusing now on ‘Ecosystem Based Approach’ and ‘Ecosystem Based Management’. These are not really new . The famous systems ecologist Dr Howard T. Odum in his 1950 Ph.D. thesis gave a novel definition of ecology as the study of large entities (ecosystems) at the "natural level of integration". He used an analog of electrical energy networks to model the energy flow pathways of ecosystems with feedback loops that kept the system in various degrees of equilibrium. This is also something that is being considered in current approaches, though rather difficult to detail or model. Most important of all, for the present discussion, H.T.Odum viewed humans as playing a central role within the processes on earth.  He said that the "human is the biosphere's programmatic and pragmatic information processor for maximum performance"[1]. This tenet becomes increasingly important as we try to understand that when we talk of environmental management, we realize that we are actually talking about the way we interact with natural systems and that socio-economic-ecological interactions are of primary importance.