Climate Himalaya is an initiative in Himalayan region that works on climate change adaptation through knowledge networking and sharing. Started in year 2010 in INDIA this initiative works in 4 Himalayan countries like India, Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan, while it works on four cross cutting thematic areas of Water, Forest, Livelihood and Mountain Ecosystem Functions. Climate Himalaya's area of major work are in to Awareness generation, Knowledge networking, Capacity building and Mountain related research. At present it is working on Knowledge Networking through establishing a Knowledge portal www.chimalaya.org , which got huge interest among readers not only from South Asia region but around the world.
Pabitra Mukhopadhyay* writes exclusively for both current and aspiring contributing writers in Climate Himalaya.
A Few facts:
This is what Cyber Journalist.Net reported on August 7 2007. That was 4 years ago and by now that 50 million has doubled approximately 8 times. The number of blogs ‘as calculated’ is given at the end of my post but I suggest: don’t even look at it – suffice it to say that it is white noise of information (or an inseparable mixture of information and junk). That makes me wonder, how my online commentaries are faring in a world like that.
That’s a pretty disturbing thought. No friendly prodding and encouragement seem to dispel other ugly questions raising their heads. What am I doing here? I am writing and sharing opinion on issues that are far removed from my discipline of training. Even if I put up an intellectual defense around the multidisciplinary nature of environment reporting and writing and take refuge behind my years of observations of degradation of it, sensing and feeling the trails of human activities behind that degradation and believing I am connected with those complex web of events and consequences in a personal way – it is rather difficult to have a fix on this. When such degradation is projected over a tract of land and its people (in the instant case it’s the Himalayas and the mountain people), their daily realities of health, economics and social aspirations, it is even more difficult to have ANY fix. I guess I do it from a passion and passion needs no justification or qualification as such. But the question of remaining credible to the people for whom I ultimately write, still hangs like a dirty towel.
We are a motley crew of a grand social revolution. None of us knows the big answer. All of us feel it our own way and get propelled by our own desire to make the Himalayas and its people happy, safe and prosperous. If that is what we write for, we should qualify by a very different standard of proficiency, a standard unique for our own individual expertise and academics.
If we are writing for a cause, in a virtual medium that is both vast and ephemeral, with widest multidisciplinary backgrounds imaginable; what could be those standards on which we base our narratives?
Honesty: It requires honesty to admit that we are here as much for giving as taking. We do not know a single-solution answer for Nick Kellingley’s question. There isn’t possibly one single solution because this isn’t one single problem. We are approaching the most diverse, complex and multidimensional disorder of a least understood system. We need to listen as much as to say. Whatever we write should not attempt to convey a position of us other than this. Our narratives should sound frank and honest enough in order for us to be credible to our audience.
Engagement: I don’t think we are aiming to communicate with the specialists and academic faculties. If we agree that our audience is anyone who can handle this language and anyone who is in a struggle to make sense of the new age problems s/he faces every day, we are basically aiming at a tentative audience who are standing at crossroads of several influences – political ideologies, consumerist woo and a trans-cultural mobility each of which, I feel, have much larger impact on our audience than our discourses possibly can. Whatever we write, we should engage our audience. Our commentaries should make connections to the audience intelligibly and contextually. How much we fare in that direction can be roughly judged by the number of comments we have.
Originality: In my rather brief duration of online authoring for about 5 years, I progressively felt that for an online commentary it does not matter critically how elaborately I could explain a theory or a strategy conceived by others. But it matters very much for my reader to know what my take on that theory or strategy is. And I learnt that I should better be open and critical about it. It becomes interesting when we write on issues with our personal stands clarified. I understand that it’s a bit risky for contentious issues but nobody likes a mere reposting of an event – there are enough main stream media and expert publications for that.
Economy: Not the one by Adam Smith, as you can guess. Since our articles are available free and their life-periods are determined by the next mouse click, it pays to remember the line from Billy Joel’s popular song, I am the entertainer: “If you wanna have a hit, you have to make it quick.” In the end the debate is not about if I am blogging or writing or authoring or contributing, it remains a fact I am doing it online and anything above 1000 words runs the risk of being ‘surfed over’ until later and we all know ‘later’ never comes.
Purpose: I consider this to be very important for any online author. As long it is not my own platform, it is necessary to understand and respect the ideals and purpose of the platform where I am authoring. We need to strike a balance in course of writing or commenting on others posts – a balance between remaining outspoken and direct yet careful not to invite a debate that does not serve the ideals or purpose of the platform as a whole. There is ample freedom in taking but with equal responsibility to use the freedom judiciously.
Technically this is mere one of 3.91 x 1061 posts in virtual space, but this is a modest attempt to connect with my fellow writers.
*Author: Pabitra Mukhopadhyay is a Youth Contributor and Adviser to Climate Himalaya.
Interested in writing at Youth Column? Let’s know at email@example.com
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