Year 4, Month 5, Day 26: Directly From My Heart To You

India West talks about the economic implications of climate change:

Sustainable development that mitigates the impact of climate change for India’s poor can only be achieved by the devolution of the Indian government, stated prominent social activist Sunita Narain at a March 27 lecture at Arizona State University.
“Getting the model of development right so that everyone has access to health care, water and energy supplies is only achievable when the government is de-centralized,” Narain told India-West in an interview after the lecture, which was organized by ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability.

The director general of the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment, Narain has received numerous accolades for her work, including the Padma Shri – India’s highest honor – in 2005. In 2007, Narain was named by Time magazine as one of India’s 15 most influential people. Foreign Policy magazine has thrice named Narain one of the world’s best intellectuals.

“Climate change is already hurting the world’s most poor and vulnerable,” stated Narain, explaining that rainwater – a major resource for India’s largely agrarian population – has been inconsistent, with more rainfall, but for a fewer number of days.

“Farmers are very desperate today. This is their livelihood; it is the only thing they know. And we can send them to cities to get jobs, but the urban sector doesn’t have the ability to absorb all those people,” stated Narain.

A smallpox-infested atmospheric blanket offered to the world’s poor. May 14:

As rising levels of carbon dioxide push the greenhouse effect into overdrive, agriculture all over the world is going to be affected; harvests will shrink, crops will come under attack from invasive parasites and diseases, and inevitably subsistence farmers and small landholders in the world’s poorest countries are going to suffer. In comparison to rich and developed countries, Bangladesh’s carbon footprint is statistically insignificant, yet its citizens are facing imminent displacement from their lands, lives and hopes due to rising sea levels — and this is just one example of a worldwide phenomenon. The cruel irony of global warming is that while the greenhouse emissions triggering planetary warming are produced by the richest and most privileged among us, those who are already economically and politically disenfranchised will reap the whirlwind.

History notes many cases of intentional genocide in the service of colonialism and economic expansion. Climate change’s impact on the world’s poorest people wasn’t planned, but that’s no consolation. It falls to the developed world to act responsibly on the climate crisis, or to shoulder the blame for a catastrophe with both environmental and humanitarian dimensions.

Warren Senders


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