Sikkim is in a unique position to create sustainable prosperity despite rising challenges.
As the climate crisis takes hold, Sikkim holds unique importance because of its high altitude, relative abundance of water, and availability of green hydro power. Elsewhere in India, parts of the country are already increasingly uninhabitable from higher temperatures, serious drought, and severe storms both inland and along the coastlines. Rising ocean levels will also undermine living conditions on some of the biggest cities in the country.
From climate alone, Sikkim will be a refuge and could become a model for survival and sustainability.
Sikkim also brings with it a progressive culture and governance, along with many high-quality universities. It is also a world leader in organic agriculture. For these also, Sikkim is already positioned to lead the country in sustainable development.
Together these make Sikkim a place to build a future for India and the world.
Our planet is experiencing an increasingly threatening climate crisis that will severely challenge and radically change human civilization. The people of India are living with the threats this crisis has created daily, whether it be from lack of fresh water, high temperatures, intense dust storms, or the formerly unusual – and now all too common – coastal cyclones.
Even in Sikkim it is now notably hotter and drier than even just a few years ago.
This proposal was developed with the understanding that global heating and runway climate change will present new and extreme situations which must be met for development to succeed and be sustainable.
Business as usual is simply no longer an option and bold new thinking is required to meet the challenges and adapt to an increasingly uninhabitable planet.
As with all crises, the one of climate poses unique opportunities for Sikkim to seize now. Among those are:
1. Technology Parks Guided as a Public-Private Cooperative Development
Development of model technology parks which could rival the best in the world in their vision, construction, and leadership. Because of Sikkim’s unique geographic structure and current challenges with quality of labor, housing, electrical power, access to education and cultural opportunities, and transportation, and in consideration of how such parks need to change in the face of climate change, such parks would need to be quite different from others in the past.
They would be built as green facilities with attention to renewable energy, construction with some significant portions built underground, all to anticipate and adapt to the a much hotter, stormier and drier world in the future. The buildings would be earthquake and storm-resistant. The parks would also be self-sufficient mini villages, with access to shopping, gardens, and apartments. They would include embedded universities whose educators and students and deeply connected to the objectives of the kinds of companies to be included within the tech park facilities.
Image by InHabitat
2. Advanced Transportation Systems
Image by ECNS.cn
As part of an integrated approach to Sikkim’s future, the state would include new forms of ground transportation such as electric railways capable of rapid, safe transit underground. They would connect people from throughout the region – including the tech parks – to other parks, villages, remote organic farms, and airports.
Part of the solution would likely include electric drone aircraft, capable of shuttling smaller groups of people and goods from place to place within the state. This would help address the challenge of the widely varying terrain within the state and help lift the transportation problem off the ground and out of the increasingly crowded streets in Sikkim’s urban areas. Bid Ocean has already engineered, built and evaluated drones to a small scale. Together with the Tech Park infrastructure and people – both from the universities and the companies within them – Bid Ocean proposes to help develop such drones as a potential mass-manufacturable product line for the state.
3. Organic Farms Engineered to Adapt for the Future
Sikkim’s organic farms are legendary throughout the world. They provide some of the most nutritious food anywhere and support the plant-based diets that will dominate a world where water has become scarcer. They also are the most protective means of growing crops on the planet, with no herbicides, pesticides or chemical fertilizers to damage the soil and pollute the precious aquifers.
What they need to become are farms which will be climate-resilient despite increased heat, near-term potential increased flooding at times of the year, and increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This lays the foundation for creating university and research programs crafted to model how the climate crisis with change Sikkim – and plan new crops and advanced efficient farming methods such as aquaponics to respond to those changes.
There should also be experimental programs carried out in partnership with local farmers, to work together on how to feed the people of Sikkim in a changing future.