The world’s biodiversity is under threat. Thousands of species of wildlife across ecosystems have been lost already. COVID-19 has drawn attention to how zoonotic diseases will emerge out of such habitat destruction.
In India, saving some of the world’s hottest biodiversity hotspots competes with the demand for land and natural resources necessary for economic progress. The resulting conflicts have implications for the economy, environment, politics and law.
How can journalists best convey these challenges to citizens, and ask the right questions to those in power?
How can stories effectively draw connections between, say, agricultural biodiversity and farmers’ unrest, and between biodiversity destruction and local economies, corruption, greed and injustice?
To this end, Land Conflict Watch is hosting a month-long online bootcamp, ‘Reporting On The Biodiversity Crisis In India’.
The bootcamp will bring together experts and journalists to provide understanding and tools to investigate and tell nuanced stories on the challenges faced by India’s biodiversity.
The goal is to also build a peer community and a space for participants to share and develop ideas into compelling stories. We intend to make this one an interactive course, where we learn from each other, and share our experiences and stories as journalists and citizens who care about the environment and its impact on our lives.
Anoop is a journalist based in Delhi with 16 years of experience in print, online and television. He has worked mostly behind the desk to make copies error-free, literate and attractive. Anoop previously worked at The Indian Express as Senior Editor coordinating with reporters and bureau chiefs across India for daily news coverage. As Executive Editor of Outlookindia.com, he led Outlook magazine’s digital operation. He has also led the news desks of The Times of India, Hindustan Times and The Hindu, and was part of the copy desk in NDTV 24X7.
Guneet is an information technologist who works with civil society organisations, activist groups and non-profits in South Asia. His work involves data applications and processes for collection, management, analysis and visualisation. He contributes to and uses open source software and is an open data activist with a love for maps. Beyond software choices and ideals, his focus is on making digital technologies easier to access, use and understand.
Kanchi Kohli is a researcher working on environment, forest and biodiversity governance in India. Her work explores the links between law, industrialisation and environmental justice. Other than her independent work, Kanchi is Senior Researcher at the Centre for Policy Research-Namati Environmental Justice Programme. She is also a member of Kalpavriksh Environmental Action Group.
Kavitha is a social activist known for her work related to sustainable farm livelihoods and farmers’ rights. She has 25 years of experience working in the development sector and is Founder Convenor of Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), a pan-India alliance of more than 400 organisations that have come together to secure India’s ‘Food, Farmers & Freedom’. Kavitha has also served on several Government of India’s Committees/Task Forces in an advisory role.
Kumar Sambhav is a journalist and member of The Reporters’ Collective. He has reported for India’s prime news outlets, including Business Standard, Scroll.in, Hindustan Times, Down To Earth and The Times of India on governance, business and social justice. For his reporting, Sambhav has received the Press Council of India National Award for Excellence in Journalism, Shriram Award for Excellence in Financial Journalism, Global Investigative Journalism Network’s Global Shining Light Award and the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist from the Developing World Award. He is LCW’s Founding Partner and Project Director.
Kundan Kumar is Asia Program Director at the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI). Prior to joining RRI in 2014, he worked as a faculty member at the University of Toronto for five years. An expert who has invested decades in researching and learning about forest governance and environmental justice, Kundan is one of the leading voices on natural resources governance, forests and land tenure, and social and environmental movements.
Madhusudan is a biologist and an ecologist. Over the last two decades, he has studied the ecological and social aspects of the interactions between people and large wild animals. He has also worked with individuals and collectives at various scales to apply such knowledge to mobilise conservation action and on-ground change. He has helped create, grow and manage Nature Conservation Foundation, a Mysuru-based non-profit.
Mrinali graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Economics and joined Land Conflict Watch hoping to humanise the subject. She is keen on working to include gender, environment and the intersection of the two in public policy. As the Database and Research Coordinator, she works with researchers and journalists to understand and analyse the data gathered at Land Conflict Watch.
Nihar is a journalist based in New Delhi. He has reported on environmental policy, infrastructure projects, land conflicts and livelihoods for major publications and news websites in India, including Scroll, IndiaSpend, The Economic Times, The Hindu Business Line and The Caravan. Nihar studied environmental economics at TERI School of Advanced Studies, New Delhi, and journalism at the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai. He is LCW’s Associate Editor.
Nitin is a journalist, a member of The Reporters' Collective and the Media Lead at the National Foundation for India. He has written, reported and investigated for two decades on the intersections of India's political economy, natural resources, environment, climate change, economy, public finance and development. He has previously worked in editorial positions at The Business Standard, Scroll.in, The Hindu, The Times of India and Down To Earth. He is a Partner and Editorial Advisor at Land Conflict Watch.
Rohan is a scientist working on marine ecosystems and their conservation. He concerns his work with the issues of conservation, particularly the implications of climate change for marine ecosystems, the rational management of marine systems and fisheries in India, and the interface between policy, traditional practices, and ecosystem management. He is one of the founder-trustees of Mysuru-based non-profit Nature Conservation Foundation and also the director of its reef programme.
Shalini is a legal researcher and policy analyst based in New Delhi, India, working in the Asia region. She has been tracking global and regional trade rules, including those of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and 'WTO-plus' free trade agreements (FTAs) and bilateral investment treaties (BITs). On the domestic front, she focuses on the range of laws and policies around agri-food systems and their implications for agro-biodiversity, food sovereignty and farmers' rights. Her expertise is on the politics and provisions of the Biological Diversity Act, the Seed Act and the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act. She has worked in the development sector, including with and in a range of national and international NGOs, such as Navdanya, World Wide Fund for Nature-India, GRAIN and the Pesticide Action Network (Asia Pacific). She is also a national consultant for the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN FAO). She has taught at the Centre for Environmental Law and been guest faculty in various law and other universities.
Sweta is a Bangalore-based storyteller and community facilitator. She has told stories across platforms -- from television to film to theatre. As a freelance journalist, she has worked in India focusing on climate justice with intersections in gender and equality. She has also facilitated workshops with changemakers across the world on interpersonal and systemic change.
Sessions: The bootcamp will be conducted online, over ten 90-minute sessions.
Dates: From May 18, 2021 to June 17, 2021
Schedule: Two sessions per week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3 PM. Each session will last 90 minutes.
Land Conflict Watch: You can find information about us and our team here