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Synopsis: The issues of poverty and climate are fast converging. Hence, it is time to rethink, restructure and reframe the way we are addressing the climate issue.
The climate crisis is not only a ‘tree and forest’ problem. The environment is important, but hunger and housing are much more pressing for the poor in our state.
Why it is needed to make climate change a pressing concern?
Climate shift is affecting poor: The World Bank reported that the world will see 216 million climate refugees by 2050. Northeast India is likely to see as many as 40 million of these refugees coming into their states over the next 20 years.
Migration will not just be across national borders: since natural disasters increasing in intensity and frequency, states like Odisha and West Bengal will probably see large numbers of residents move elsewhere.
Affect every aspect of lives: increased frequency of pandemics, fresh water scarcity, decreased agricultural productivity and much more. Climate change is attacking human survival from all angles.
How we can turn climate risks into economic opportunities?
Production of climate-friendly technologies: Some states like Chhattisgarh have already started selling and procuring green fertilizers to promote regenerative farming. Others like Madhya Pradesh are adopting solar power distribution to end energy poverty through green methods.
We should embrace the economic opportunities that exist in eco-friendly technologies and look upon these as growth drivers. As costs fall, moving towards green and sustainable practices is likely to enhance economic growth.
Collective effort and collective response: One of the results of pandemic was the introduction of a vaccine in record time. It proved that collective pain can result in ground-breaking progress. Climate crisis is rarely acknowledged as a collective problem.
For example, a cyclone in West Bengal is seen as separate from a hurricane in Tamil Nadu, and both seem disconnected from fast-falling water tables.
What is the way forward?
First, we need to shift our climate discussion to people to attract sufficient attention.
Second, everything from solar to regenerative farming has tremendous scope for investment and expansion.
Source: This post is based on the article “Let us reframe our climate crisis as a relatable threat” published in Livemint on 28th Sep 2021.