Thrust on more voice from Asia, Africa to resolve climate crisis
Published : Sunday, 18 April, 2021 at 12:00 AM Count : 85
The dominance of Western voices in the conversation about how to tackle the climate crisis has been a "disaster" for the climate movement, prominent author Amitav Ghosh has said at an event on just recovery from the
Too much of what is
written and said about confronting climate change is the product of Western think tanks, and there are not enough Asian and African voices representing people who are most affected by the climate crisis, Ghosh said at the Just Recovery Gathering very recently in a virtual event.
"Why is the voice of the woman who has to walk 10 miles for water not being heard more clearly? Why is the climate crisis always reduced to numbers and equations," said Ghosh, who added that the discourse on climate change tends to have an "intimidating" air of expertise that excludes many people.
"It keeps people out - it keeps the young and people who don't have that level of expertise out of the climate debate," said Ghosh.
The Indian author of The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable has argued that the West relies on experts to give people false hope in business-friendly "sustainable development" solutions such as biofuels and carbon capture technology to avert climate calamity.
"Asian and African farmers and fishermen have known for a long time that the climate is changing in a disastrous way. It's very important to reintegrate these voices into the climate discourse," he said.
Norly Mercado, Asia regional director of climate campaign group 350.org, the event organizer, said that to fight climate change and achieve climate justice, those on the frontlines must be listened to.
"Global North countries who provide aid can't presume to appear on someone's land and start telling them what to do to save them. Firstly, these communities may not want to lead the same lives as you," she said.
"They have their own ways of life that they are true to. We must learn to respect and uphold the kind of lives and development that they have determined for themselves."
The problems that indigenous peoples and rural communities are facing need to be heard, and so do their solutions to climate change, said Mercado, pointing out that these people have lived on their land for centuries.
"Conversely, the issues they face are usually brought in by outsiders who want to build fossil fuel infrastructure without their consent, or well-meaning people who misunderstand that indigenous people do not need to be saved or brought to what they might view as civilisation."