Rethinking globalisation: Climate Change, Environment and Public HealthConducted by Awareness in Action, a non-profit Think Tank,February 24, 2019, Sunday, at Gandhi Bhavana, Bengaluru

The third symposium in the “rethinking globalisation” series was held at Gandhi Bhavan, Bangalore on 24thFebruary 2019. This time the symposium was titled “Rethinking Globalisation: Climate Change, Environment and Public Health”. The Symposium was Inaugurated by Prof. N. H. Ravindranath, Professor, Centre for Sustainable Technologies, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and Sri. K. A. Badrinath, Editor, Financial Chronicle, New Delhi. In the Inaugural ceremony, Sri. Sanjeev Kumar Ningombam, by welcoming the guests, introduced the theme of the Symposium series, rethinking globalisation, where he emphasised the fact that we are not in the days where we can engage in ideological battles on globalisation, but needs to identify the pathways in which we can channelize the potential of globalisation for the larger good by minimising its dangers. Ms. M. Madhavi, Secretary, AiA introduced the activities of AiA, Prof. Dinesh Kumar, Senior Scientist, National Institute of Nutrition introduced the objective of the Conference by stating with series of case studies, on how Environment, Climate, Nutrition and Health are related in an unprecedented way that we don’t seem to understand. He also emphasised the fact that these complex relations should be understood appropriately so that in the globalising world, all of us are benefited by the appropriate technology and the government interventions in a manner that the standard of living and quality of life is enhanced to the larger public. Sri Badrinath, as a Journalist and also a participant of COP Paris and other agreements, pointed that the tendency amongst the climate sciences to bring the alarming scenario and its criticism makes the general public, scepticaland confused about the issue of global warming. He, nonetheless argued there is no doubt about the degradation of the environment and also its impact on our life, therefore, needs serious attention. He emphasised on the economics and the geopolitics of the climate change enterprise and argued that there is a need for national commitment to adaptive measures without succumbing to global political pressures. The chief guest of the program, Prof. N. H Ravindranath, shared his data from the IPCC panel for global level issues, India and the Karnataka level projections on the climate change, surface water, increasing temperatures, groundwater level. He argued that climate change is a slow process and it is absolutely human-induced. This phenomenon is slow, we can delay it, provided it involves both technological, social and political class working together to achieve a synergy with some adaptive mechanisms. He very clearly stated that the government's investments are very limited to address these concerns and he gave a call for civil society to be conscious in responding to the crisis. The first session was focussed on deliberating upon the nature of the crisis that has emerged due to climate change and the state of policy measures, keeping in view how do we want to deal with this issue by 2040.

The Second technical session was focussed on the Degraded Environment, Biodiversity and Human existence. In this session, Dr K. A. Subramanian, Scientist, ZSI, Chennai gave an overview of the environment and biodiversity, the issues of biodiversity hotspots and the conservation issues around them and also looking at Human, development and environment conflict. In fact, one of the key issues that he articulated was the new paradigms of development are hardly sustainable as they are resource intensive and the current consumption practices are the serious threat to the Environment. He argued on the conscious consumption and the refocusing our attention towards the resilience our society had to such change. Building on this overview, Sri. MallikarjunIytha, President of the fair-trade forum, New Delhi, spoke at length on the practical developments that are taking place in the global scene on the fair trade than free trade. He argued that the Fairtrade is the only way to develop the idea of conscious consumption and therefore, civil society initiatives on consumption is also necessary and is warranted urgently. He introduced a lot of case studies in this direction and made possible policy suggestions. Dr Chetan Singai, NIAS, Bangalore coordinated the session.

The third technical session dealt with Epidemiology, Tropical Medicine and Public Health. In this session, Dr. Raman R. Gangakhedkar, a Senior Scientist, ICMR gave an overview of the communicable disease, their outbreaks and the available framework to deal with the crisis of public health including the epidemics around bioterrorism. He argued that these initiatives are only meaningful when the civil society is sensitised and made aware of how to deal with the disasters, natural calamities, degrading environment and climate change. He also gave the response of Scientific community and their preparedness to Zika Virus, H1N1 and such as viral outbreaks. Dr C. G. Raut, Scientist, ICMR – NIRTH, Jabalpur made a presentation around the outbreak of 40 plus Viruses in India in the past three decades and explained the framework of scientifically addressing the issues on the communicable diseases which are more or less linked to environment and making the poor and the tribal communities, most vulnerable. He made a plea to the public to engage in conversation with both the experts and the political class so that a mechanism of alert public health support system is made available to the people. Dr.Prashant, Associate Professor, NIIT, Goa, coordinated the session.

Finally, a session reviewing the entire day proceedings was conducted at the end. In the concluding session, Sri. Sanjeev Kumar Ningombamgave a report of the entire day deliberations. Sri. M. S. Chaitra, Director, Aarohi Research Foundation, spoke about the future symposia in the rethinking globalisation series. He announced that A seminar on Rethinking globalisation and University Education will be held in the month of May/June 2019 and Rethinking Globalisation: Agriculture and Rural development will be held in August/September 2019. Dr B. N. Gangadhar, Director, NIMHANS, Bangalore and member MCI gave the valedictory address. He acknowledged the fact that the degrading environment and climate change are the real threats and it affects both the public health and personal health. He also talked about the mental health and the quality of life for which the reasonable environment is a precondition coupled with appropriate lifestyle. He also emphasised using Ayurveda, Siddha and Yoga part of the policy concerns which had to deal with the public health. Ms. Madhavi, Secretary, AiA, offered vote of thanks. At the end,it was a consensus opinion from all the participants and the speakers that time has come for people of different capacity to work together to combat the challenge of climate change, Environment and public health.


Dr. Raman R. Gangakedkar

Senior Scientist, ICMR

Dr. B.N. Gangadhar

Director, NIMHANS, Bengaluru

Dr. N.H.Ravindranath

Professor, IISc, Bengaluru

Shri KA Badrinath

Senior Journalist, News Delhi

Dr. B. Dinesh Kumar

Senior Scientist, ICMR-NIN

Dr. K.A.Subramanian

Scientist, ZSI, Chennai

Shri Mallikarjuna Iytha

Executive Director, Fair Trade Forum - India

Dr. C.G.Raut

Scientist, ICMR-NIRTH

Videos Photos Concept Note