Saturday, May 21, 2016

Second day with ESG

We experienced a traditional Indian breakfast before starting our second day with ESG to learn about biodiversity and bio piracy.

We spent the day with the Environmental Support Group (ESG) again today. We had an early and were kindly greeted at the ESG office with a traditional Indian breakfast including two types of chow chow bath and the tiniest sweetest banana, and of course, it was accompanied with chai and coffee.

We had a lot to learn and planned to visit different government departments during their public hours to ask questions regarding the development of Bangalore. Leo and Bhargavi, who run ESG, and generously donated two days to our education, led a lecture on the importance of biodiversity and issues concerning bio piracy. These topics were extremely interesting. Biodiversity is key to soil health and cultivating the land in a way that does not destroy it.We discussed the struggle rural and organic farmers have when competing with industrial agriculture. Leo emphasized the damages the Green Revolution had on agriculture in India because it led to farmers dependence on genetically modified seeds and agrochemicals from Monsanto and Mahyco. Bhargavi gave us a presentation on ESG's campaign against Monsanto for acts of biopiracy, which means taking indigenous knowledge of the natural world and exploiting it without recognition or payment to the source. ESG chooses its campaigns by what the community demands, and works with communities who show dedication to wanting in be involved in the process of change.

We watched a short film about the grasslands and the fight to preserve them and then split into the groups based on our interests for our afternoon government visits. Before the visit we had another amazing home cooked meal and said goodbye and thank you the inspirational individuals we had the opportunity to work and learn from in the past two days!