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Designing our Future

Local Perspectives on Bioproduction, Ecosystems and Humanity

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This volume focuses primarily on society at the local and regional levels and on a scenario in which human beings coexist harmoniously with nature. This ideal society is examined in terms of the relationships between villages or towns and their natural environment. It also looks at how these villages and towns can achieve local or regional independence in the face of pressures toward centralization and globalization. This book highlights the importance of developing a society in harmony with nature through the networking of diverse communities to promote and achieve local independence.

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Self-sustaining models in India: Biofuels, eco-cities, eco-villages and urban agriculture for a low-carbon future

India, home to over 1 billion people, has a population growth rate of 1.93 per cent per annum, well above the global average (Census of India, 2001). The population has nearly tripled in the past 50 years, from 361 million in 1951 to 1.027 billion in 2001, during which rapid strides were made in agriculture and industry. The country’s economy has also been growing rapidly, with real growth rates of gross domestic product remaining consistently more than 5 per cent in the past decade. Despite the recent global economic downturn, the Indian economy grew by 8.7 per cent between 2007 and 2008 at 1999–2000 prices (MOF, 2007/8). Rising atmospheric CO2 levels, however, are a major drawback of the ever-increasing fossil fuel consumption associated with India’s rapid economic growth. According to the World Energy Outlook (IEA, 2002), India is already the world’s fifth-largest emitter – at 982 Tg CO2 (Tg = teragram = 1012 g) – and its per capita CO2 emissions are projected to increase to 1.6 Mg (megagram = 106 g) by 2030. There have been a few attempts to utilize renewable energy resources (biofuels and biomass) and to develop sustainable urban and rural environments (eco-cities and eco-villages) in India. This section gives an overview of these developments, but will exclude exploratory efforts to tap solar, wind and wave energy, which are beyond the scope of this review.

English

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