With ravaging forest fires across Canada and other natural disasters here and across the globe, Canadians are hearing a lot about climate change these days. But are ordinary people in other countries hearing and thinking about it in the same way? How are they feeling about the threat of a changing climate? Do they care?
Sustainable Orillia reached out to people in Brazil, Denmark, India and Canada – on what they, and people in their circles, are thinking, feeling and doing about climate change in their various corners of the world. Their responses were invited to three questions:
1. How do most people in your local network view climate change?
2. How do you personally perceive climate change?
3. What changes, if any, have you made in your own life in response to the threats of climate change?
This third article features Ranjan Solomon of India.
India’s current rapid industrialization and advancing technology are bringing it unprecedented economic prosperity. But this rapid growth comes with an ecological cost – India has the third heaviest ecological footprint in the world, and its resource use is double its ecological capacity. In spite of India having the world’s largest human population, it has a lighter individual ecological footprint when compared with other countries. This is largely due to India’s network of thousands of largely self-reliant villages and minimal use of natural resources, consumer goods, food, clothing, space and energy, as well as minimal waste generation. India’s participation will be instrumental in addressing the threat of climate change, so the Global West will need to listen and address its concerns, including demands that the West pay for adaptations required by Third World countries.
Ranjan Solomon lives in Goa, a tiny state on the west coast of India, where he is retired from a career in an international NGO. His responses to our questions included reference to a research article written by a team of Goa academics titled: “Impact of Climate Change-Induced Rainfall on the Agriculture Pattern of Goa – A Geographical Perspective.” The article states: “Climate change is not only affecting farmers, government officials, politicians, and lawmakers but also every citizen of the country … Though agriculture is the backbone of the State’s economy, which provides a source of livelihood to the majority of Goan people, it is now rapidly declining due to physical as well as cultural factors…Farmers, academicians, scientists, and politicians of the State think that there is an impact of climate change and global warming on Goan agriculture… like floods and landslides.”
Our questions and his answers follow.
How do most people in your circle, where you live, view the threat of climate change?
Ranjan: “There is a lot of indifference on the whole. The language of climate change is not popular. It has to be broken down into simple issues and existential questions. For example, people understand best when you talk about water scarcity. Ponds drying up. Trees dying out. Crops failing. Flooding. Storms and cyclones. Consistent power failures. In other words, climate change is about immediate questions that hurt livelihoods.”
How do you perceive the threats of climate change, personally?
Ranjan: “I, personally, tend to ignore the language. The language is elitist and makes no sense to common people. Our politicians are disinterested and think of the next election where, in India, climate change is a non-issue. We are not the West who have actually created the problem by parceling off high polluting industries to the Global South and demand standards from the Global South. If climate change must be controlled, the West must change its consumption patterns, produce locally and stop abusing our environments. It is contemptuous for the West to even talk about climate change having started the problem in the first place.”
What changes, if any, have you made in your own life in response to the threats of climate change?
Ranjan: “In my own life, I tell people about how the Global South is exploited and why we must boycott western products and markets. I call out the hypocrisy of the West and their double standards. I believe in a SKILL INDIA where we are self-reliant, do not buy western armaments that keep the embers of war going only to meet the needs of the Western Military Industrial Complex. Climate change is not about new weather patterns. It is about a just world order.”
How are people in other parts of the world responding to climate change? How do their responses compare with those of Orillia citizens? Watch for this continuing series – bringing you views on climate change, its impact on our lives and what we can learn from one another …
To read the other articles in this continuing series, click below:
PART ONE – DENMARK – Ellen Larsen from Denmark (Click here)
PART TWO – BRAZIL – Fernanda de Custudio from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Click here)
PART FOUR – ORILLIA – Madeleine Fournier from Orillia. (Coming Soon)