Story Category Descriptions
What we want to feature here are initiatives to enhance social and cultural aspects of human life: the revival and progressive use of visual, performing, and other arts, of the myriad crafts of the country, of threatened or submerged languages, and other such cultural traits and processes. We would also like to cover the various struggles and constructive movements to achieve social justice and peace, to reduce inequalities and inequities of various kinds including caste, class, gender, ethnicity, and religion, and to create dignity in living for those currently oppressed and exploited. Finally, we include movements to generate ethical living and thinking, and spread values such as simplicity, honesty, frugality, and tolerance.
What we would like to avoid here are initiatives that have communal, sexist, or other motives and biases that are related to social injustice and inequity, or those appealing to a narrow nationalism intolerant of other cultures and peoples.
This section would like to feature stories of initiatives that help to create an alternative to the dominant neo-liberal or state-dominated economy. These include: localisation of economic activity with democratic control, producer and consumer collectives, local currencies and trade, non-monetised exchage and the gift economy, ecologically sensitive products and processes, sustainable production and consumption, innovative technologies, macro-economic concepts that respect ecological limits, and approaches to human well-being that go beyond growth, GDP and other narrow measures and indicators.
What we would like to avoid here are superficial and false solutions, such as predominantly market and technological fixes for problems that are deeply social and political, or more generally, ‘green growth’ kind of approaches that only tinker around with the existing system.
The search for dignified, ecologically sustainable and meaningful livelihoods and jobs is what we would like to feature in this section. This includes the continuation and enhancement of fulfilling traditional occupations that communities choose to continue, including in agriculture, pastoralism, forestry, fisheries, crafts, and others in the primary economy. It also includes sustainable, dignified jobs in manufacturing and service sectors where producers and service-providers are in control of their destinies and revenues are equitably distributed.
What we would like to avoid here are livelihoods, traditional or modern, where non-workers are in control and profiting (monetarily or politically) from the exploitation of workers, even if the enterprise claims to be ecologically sustainable.
This features both rural and urban areas, and the search to make human settlements sustainable, equitable, and fulfilling places to live and work in. This includes: sustainable architecture, localized generation of basic infrastructural, water and energy needs, urban biodiversity conservation, waste/garbage minimisation and recycling, efficiency and frugality in the use of these basics, the defense and revival of common and open spaces, participatory budgeting and planning of settlements.
We would also like to include stories of sustainable, equitable means of transport that can be accessed by all and that do not create ecological and social problems as is the case with a focus on privatized motorized transport. Stories on the promotion of public transport, cycling, walking, human/animal powered and other forms of ecologically sustainable and equitable transportation, planning for equitable access, reclaiming the roads and parking lots for public use, and so on, are featured.
Expensive, elitist models that may be ecologically sustainable but are not relevant for most people, are likely to be avoided here.
In this section we hope to feature initiatives and approaches towards people-centred governance and decision-making, with direct participation, and based on principles of social and environmental justice. This includes initiatives attempting to realize local non-hierarchical systems of decision-making in urban and rural areas, and linkages of these to each other at bio-cultural levels. We would also like to include collectives or communities that raise non-party political concerns at the local level and beyond, as well as initiatives that enhance accountability and transparency of political bodies. Policy frameworks that are based on or promote the alternative economies featured elsewhere on this site, such as well-being, instead of the mainstream development model which focuses on economic growth, would also be featured.
We would like to include here stories of use of knowledge as an empowering and enabling tool for a more equitable and ecologically sustainable world. This covers initiatives that encourage cross-fertilisation between ideas, and promote information exchange and transcending boundaries between modern and traditional, formal and informal, and urban and rural spheres of knowledge; processes that make information access free, or easier in places usually neglected, considered ‘remote’ or disconnected; initiatives to make knowledge part of the ‘commons’ rather than a commodity privately owned or controlled; and alternative media initiatives that raise questions ignored or deliberately allowed to remain hidden in the mainstream media, and innovative use of media to communicate enabling information.
This section relates to initiatives that promote the principles of ecological integrity and limits. These are initiatives which envision models of decentralized conservation of land, water and biodiversity, based on a respect for both local and modern knowledge, and considering environment as an integral part of life and work. It also highlight attempts at linking livelihoods to ecological regeneration and restoration at local and landscape level. We hope also to feature innovative attempts to deal with problems of pollution and waste. Overall, this section will try to work towards an understanding of the ecosystem which includes sociological, historical and geographical considerations while deciding on the path that local urban/ rural communities and the larger society take towards well-being.
Superficial solutions to ecological problems, such as planting trees to offset pollution, are likely to be avoided here.
This section highlights initiatives that explore and encourage alternatives to the current centralized, environmentally damaging and unsustainable sources of energy, such as decentralized renewable sources. It also includes attempts at ensuring equitable access to ecologically sustainable energy, optimizing production and distribution, improving efficiency, making public institutions accountable, and regulating demand (e.g. for luxury consumption).
It is unlikely that this section will feature expensive, elitist technologies and processes that have no relevance to the majority of people.
In this section we want to feature stories of initiatives to create spaces and opportunities for learning and education that enable continued or renewed connection with the environment and nature, with one’s community, with one’s inner voice, and with humanity as a whole. These are stories of efforts to nurture a fuller range of collective and individual potentials and relationships, stories of unlearning the alienating, fragmenting, individualizing ‘education’ that mainstream institutions have been giving, stories where the formal and the informal, the traditional and modern, the local and global, and the head-heart-hands are synergized to expand our imaginations. Initiatives ensuring accountability of public institutions including the state towards facilitating such learning and education would also be covered.
We would like here to feature stories of initiatives ensuring healthcare for all. These are based on approaches that help prevent ill-health in the first place, including the provision of nutritional food, enabling an environment that is healthy, and so on. They include ensuring access to curative facilities to those who have conventionally not had such access. And they have stories of synergizing various health systems, traditional and modern, bringing back into popular use the diverse systems from India and outside including indigenous/folk medicine, nature cure, Ayurvedic, Unani and other such systems, and other holistic or integrative approaches. Community-based management and control of healthcare and hygiene, and ensuring accountability of the state’s responsibility towards citizens in health, are part of the stories featured here.
This section features initiatives towards producing and making accessible safe and nutritious food, sustaining the diversity of Indian cuisine, and promoting slow food. Along with this, it carries stories on making water use and distribution ecologically sustainable and equitable, achieving decentralised conservation, retaining water as part of the commons, and democratic governance of water and wetlands.
We would like to avoid featuring purely elitist food fads even if they pertain to healthy or organic food, and expensive technological water solutions that have no relevance for the majority of people.