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Video: The Great Derangement – Amitav Ghosh on climate change


There is no threat to any society, anywhere, that is remotely comparable to that of climate change. How can people summon so much indignation on so many matters and yet remain indifferent to a process that threatens their very existence? Nowhere is the disjunction more confounding than in India, which will be among the worst-affected.

(Note: Award-winning novelist Amitav Ghosh is perhaps the only one among India’s English writers  so far to engage seriously with the question of climate change and its impacts. Here we present his four-part 2015 Berlin Family Lecture The Great Derangement: Literature, History, and Politics in the Age of Global Warming, apart from a selection of his writings on the topic.)

India seems to be home of lost causes
The Times of India, Dec 2, 2015
“Two degrees is a global mean average. The rise is not going to be equal in all parts of the world. We (India) are probably going to get a 4-degree rise,” Ghosh cautioned. That will have an enormous impact on India and the role of a responsible media must be to “prepare us for what’s coming”. In this context, Ghosh found the government’s push for `make in India’ anachronistic. Quoting economist Joseph Stiglitz he said it was quite clear that the door was closing on manufacturing-driven growth in less developed countries. “But India seems to be a home for lost causes. We are adopting this doomed model of consumerism at a time when it’s collapsing in its birthplace, the US… When the Soviet Union was collapsing we had Bengal adopting the communist model.”

Climate change is responsible for mass emigration
Asia House, June 1, 2015
“It’s perfectly clear to me that climate change is one of the major factors in emigration as people are almost always emigrating from regions that are climate distressed, whether from Western Africa, Syria or Darfur in Sudan,” Ghosh told the packed room at Waterstones. “The 2008 drought in Syria is one of the major factors in starting their civil war. There is never any mention of these broader drivers,” he added.

Sleepwalking Towards Disaster
The Wire, May 11, 2015
There is no threat to any society, anywhere, that is remotely comparable to that of climate change. How can people summon so much indignation on so many matters and yet remain indifferent to a process that threatens their very existence? Nowhere is the disjunction more confounding than in India, which is likely to be one of the worst-affected countries in the world.

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