Mongabay series: Just Transitions

Are the transitions in the mining sector in India “just” for the environment and the community? World economies are in transition for two reasons. One is the routine growth or deceleration of different national economies, and the other is the changes that public opinion is forcing upon economies as almost all parts of the world feel the impact of climate change. Both the factors are at play in India. The Indian economy has been decelerating in the past half-decade due to various reasons. There is also an increasing public opinion and governmental will to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, move from fossil fuels to renewable energy, make industrial processes carbon neutral and increase green cover to strengthen sequestration. While transitions are happening in the mining sector – fossil-fuel and non-fuel mines – due to economic reasons, the question is whether these are happening in a 'just' manner. The first question is whether the transitions from mining to other operations are reducing the environmental destruction? The second question is whether those losing employment due to the closure of mines are able to find sustained employment in less- or non-environmentally destructive sectors? If not, the transition is neither just nor sustainable for them. The problem is that unjust changes are happening, and in the long run, the transitions lose their long-term sustainability. Greater awareness of the vicious cycle of environmental destruction, which has to a disproportionate impact on poor and marginal communities, is need to support just transition away from extractive industries. Mongabay-India intends to increase awareness about "just transitions" in this series.

The canaries in the coal mine

An emblem of the British mining history, canary birds were used to indicate when dangerous gases were collected in a mine, signalling danger for humans. While this use of the…
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