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Warming World, Threatened Poor

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Part of the Advances in Asian Human-Environmental Research book series (AAHER)

Abstract

Impacts of climate change are already disproportionately acute for the poor living across critically vulnerable environments. At the same time, sustainability of these fragile but resource-rich ecological systems – especially across postcolonial geographies that account for a much larger combined share of biodiversity on earth – has emerged as the central condition of development in the Anthropocene. In order to conserve these ecologies, neoliberalism and capitalism seem to aim at recolonizing them by creating technological and scientific markets; for example around climate change adaption, sustainable development, disaster risk reduction, ecosystem conservation, resilience governance, transformation, emission mitigation and alike. This, on the one hand, threatens to compromise development aspirations, restrict choices and denigrate freedom of the Postcolonial Other resulting in their resistance towards the ecological question. On the other hand, it creates a homogenous understanding of development that mirrors rationalities of economic growth – avoiding ethical questions such as per capita consumption, wastes, carbon footprints and production-based emissions. From the perspectives of both theory and practice, reconciling development pathways across socio-ecologically vulnerable systems such as the Sundarbans towards sustainable futures thus appears a monumental challenge. Entanglements of the global with the local as well as those across scales and thresholds within the system further make it complex. Viewing and examining it through multiple lenses – by legitimizing diverse epistemologies, by narrating stories, by deconstructing the dominant, hegemonic discourses and co-creating theories from practices – may instead offer better alternatives. Political ecology can assist this task by identifying the underlying power asymmetries and how they manifest on the ground, while a strong postcolonial perspective can deconstruct these power struggles to their causal drivers. Along with, a rights-based framework from development studies can help internalize justice and equity in the sustainability regime.

Keywords

  • Human security
  • Resilience
  • Postcolonial
  • Political ecology
  • Subaltern sustainability

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Map 1.1
Map 1.2
Photo 1.1

Notes

  1. 1.

    http://www.un.org/en/events/islands2014/didyouknow.shtml

  2. 2.

    Ghosh., A, Lured by marriage promises, climate victims fall into trafficking trap, Reuters, accessed at http://news.trust.org/item/20150308071149-vsv7r/

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Ghosh, A. (2018). Warming World, Threatened Poor. In: Sustainability Conflicts in Coastal India. Advances in Asian Human-Environmental Research. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-63892-8_1

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