Lessons from India’s Climate Movement

All right, a really quick post about Climate Justice from really fab article from latest New Internationalist. NI can be a bit of a hit and miss most times, but what stops me from canceling my sub is that they get it spot on sometimes, plus gotta support the thinking press out there. Sunita Narian, one of India’s leading environmentalists writes really honestly about climate change and how the movement’s developed differently across the globe and the fact that real fundamental changes are needed in the ways that we respond to climate change.

“There is a fundamental difference between the rich and poor’s response to climate change. The environmental movements of the rich world emerged after periods of wealth creation and during their period of waste generation. So they argued for containment of the waste, but did not have the ability to argue for the reinvention of the paradigm of waste generation itself. However, the environmental movement in India has grown in the midst of enormous inequity and poverty. In this environmentalism of the relatively poor, the answers to change are intractable and impossible unless the question is reinvented.”

The reality remains that people are not interested in sacrificing anything to secure the future of this planet. Economic growth is everything and possessions, money and luxury lifestyles are somehow god-given rights that people feel they shouldn’t be forced to trade in for anything. I was talking to Marc recently who argued that maybe environmentalism was an extreme policy as it really tackled the very foundations of what of our world is based on… sadly, consumption. Narian declares this very boldly:

“the environment movement of the relatively rich and affluent is clearly looking for small answers to big problems. Today, everyone is saying, indeed screaming, that we can ‘deal’ with climate change if we adopt measures such as energy efficiency and new technologies. Their message is simple: managing climate change will not hurt lifestyles or economic growth. It’s a win-win situation where we all benefit from green technologies and new business.”

“It is ironic that, despite the science telling us that drastic reductions are needed, no country is talking about limiting its people consumption. Yet efficiency is meaningless without sufficiency.”

One response to “Lessons from India’s Climate Movement

  1. manchesterclimateforum

    Agree whole-heartedly with your take on New Internationalist. Very hit and miss, but when it hits, boy does it hit…

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