As the physician associates the patient with his own cure, so must the planner appeal to the citizen
- Patrick Geddes, 1915
CEDAR and Radio Khushi 90.4 FM have embarked on a four-month radio-series on natural resource management with special emphasis on water security in Uttarakhand. The aim is simple, communicate with local people, give them a platform to voice their concerns and together find locally appropriate solutions.
As CEDAR’s Executive Director Dr Rajesh Thadani once said: “Knowledge limited to academic publication is of limited relevance”. Therefore, CEDAR is striving to find new ways to communicate their research on ecosystem services to the people who use them. Local radio presents an exciting new opportunity for CEDAR to reach out to people who may not use social media. As Dr Singh said “radio will allow us to reach the last corner of the village. These people are at the core of the community and need to have their questions and voices heard”. Furthermore, Dr Singh made the important point that those who are most vulnerable to environmental degradation and climate change are often those who are least connected through modern technology and least able to get their voices heard.
Currently, CEDAR in collaboration with South Asia Institute of Advanced Studies (SIAS), Kathmandu, Nepal is working on Climate Adaptive Water Management Practices and Solutions (CAWMPS) across four cities in India and Nepal, Mussoorie is one of the town that the team is focussing. The three year project is funded by International Development Research Center (IDRC), Canada.
Radio Khushi is a community radio station which uses interactive media to connect, educate and inspire people. A partnership with CEDAR will allow the station to explore socio-environmental issues using CEDAR’s expertise, hear listener’s views and galvanise action. This partnership is being facilitated by Ideosync Media Combine (IMC). IMC aims to use media to accelerate communication and behavioural change for the social, economic and environmental development of communities. This harmonises with CEDAR’s belief in the importance of citizen science in socio-environmental research, only through stakeholder participation can issue be understood and appropriate solutions are found. It is the ‘tyranny of the expert’ which frequently hinders development because when local knowledge is excluded the proposed solutions are unlikely to be locally sustainable.
Together CEDAR, Radio Khushi and ICM have developed a radio-series strategy. An overarching theme of ‘natural resource management’ was settled and issues of water security in small and medium towns in the Himalayan region to be of prime focus.One important point agreed by all partners was the importance of female participation. While women can be some of the strongest activists on social and environmental issues, they are too often left out of decision making. It was agreed that the radio-series would cover the geographical area of Uttarakhand but focus on the regions where CEDAR has the expertise, case study examples and success stories. These include CEDAR’s work climate change adaptation, urbanization and water security.