16 January 2011
By Mark Bessen, International Climate Champion, USA
Today was our first day of field trips at the Climate Camp in Goa. We started out driving to WilderNest, a nature preserve in the hills of Goa. On the drive there, we passed lush countrysides and lovely flowing rivers. Upon arrival at WilderNest, our first view was of a breathtaking waterfall. We then hiked around the preserve, observing the natural Goan flora and fauna, including a Green Vine Snake and a venomous Pit Viper. WilderNest is fascinating in its role as a biodiversity hotspot, composed of three mail regions: West Coast Tropical Evergreen Forests, West Coast Semi-Evergreen Forests, and Moist Deciduous Forests.
From WilderNest we drove to an iron-mining site called Sesa Goa. The visit emphasized the efforts that Sesa Goa has made to reclaim devastated territory destroyed in the process of mining. The visit evoked mixed emotions in me. On one hand, it’s great that they are making some effort to minimize the impacts of mining. However, mining in and of itself is contaminating soils, polluting the air, and dramatically affecting the biodiversity of the region. Yes, Sesa Goa’s efforts are noble. But change needs to be made with regard to international dependence on mining. Witnessing the open pit style mine at Sesa Goa opened my eyes to one of the most concrete effects of humanity on the environment.
By A H Tehzeeb, International Climate Champion, Bangladesh
We have passed the second day in Goa.This was really an interesting day with the morning session in the wilderness and afternoon in the mining pit. Then in the evening we went to the beach and had tons of fun over there. We also played a local versus ICC beach football match. At noon we had a session about music. I really liked that part in the wilderness. The place is really beautiful with so much artistic views and the research that is conducted there was really diverse. We have also seen a waste treatment plant. We have seen different types of species over there and how proper documentation are maintained to preserve the history of these species. Though mining reclamation in SESA Goa was interesting, most of us felt that we were shown only the positive parts of mining. How the local community is affected by mining was not shown to us. At the end, we had a discussion session about the progress of the whole day.
By Chathurangi De Silva, International Climate Champion, Srilanka
The first full day at camp started off with a bit of adventure. We boarded the buses after an early breakfast and headed off to Wildernest which was about two and a half hour drive from the International Centre. On the way we stopped at a dam close by, and were given an insight into the use of water/ rain fall etc. at Goa. After reaching Wildernest, we met Mr. Nirmal Kulkani who was a real wildlife enthusiast and we had the opportunity of having a closer look at Green Whip Snake and Malabar Pit Viper which turned out to be an interesting site for most of us. After that we made our way to the Sesa Goa Sanquelim mine and Reclamation Site. Here we saw the most amazing structure made out of pure bamboo. We had a lecture plus interaction session with Mr. Mahesh Patil followed by a scrumptious lunch as always. We were then taken to visit a herbal park and an active mining site as well.
Afterwards we headed back to ICG, where we had the most interesting session on ‘Spreading climate awareness through media and music’ by Mr. Chinmaya Dunster. After listening to some wonderful music and a truly unique experience on different ways in which we can influence people on the importance of climate change, the day ended with the much awaited buffet dinner followed by a short reflection session.