India’s rural dwellers need to earn a sustainable living. The drift of millions of villagers to urban areas (slums) happens when livelihood means such as farming, forest produce and livestock no longer provide a secure future. But village India proves itself to be very rich in livelihood opportunities when its resources are protected. Indian villages have resources such as clean water, clean skies and fresh food on their doorstep – benefits that are often denied to city dwellers both rich and poor. Schumacher Centre works to combat all the factors that undermine traditional rural livelihoods. Our organization also successfully trains villagers in sustainable, suitable and environmentally friendly livelihoods. Climate change The rising temperatures witnessed in man-made climate change are hitting the rural poor the hardest. Increasing levels of crop failure and perishing rivers are some of the reasons behind the loss of livelihoods mentioned above. The threat of climate change upon India’s future is immense – but the picture needs not be entirely doom and gloom. Within our villages there are age-old lessons for living clean, sustainable lifestyles that are in harmony with nature. They have much to teach those of us living in urban environments. We also have a little that we can teach them – Schumacher Centre field project work helps villagers to develop in sustainable ways that do not degrade the environment. Schumacher Centre is constantly committed to increasing awareness of climate change and how the issue relates to rural India. Forestry India’s rural population has suffered from the dramatic rate of change witnessed in the forests. The lifestyles of the country’s richest have created a huge demand for timber. Millions of indigenous people (tribals) and other rural dwellers who depend upon the forests have been displaced thanks to deforestation – like the trees, they have themselves been uprooted. This process has been described as “internal colonialism.” Schumacher Centre has educated farmers on the need for and benefits from growing trees on their degraded non-agricultural lands. When farmers grow and maintain trees, they contribute to the increase in forest cover and at the same time carbon is absorbed in measurable amounts. This process is beneficial to the environment. Farmers can earn carbon credits, which can be traded on the international market and earn substantial incomes from the sale of forest produce. Both the farmers and the forests are therefore given a future. Schumacher Centre carries out extensive research and project work on forest dwellers and forest conservation issues.