Episode 4: Climate Crisis Double Speak: “Adaptation”

“As for the third Official Reason: exposing Western Hypocrisy – how much more exposed can they be? Which decent human being on earth harbors any illusions about it? These are people whose histories are spongy with the blood of others. Colonialism, apartheid, slavery, ethnic cleansing, germ warfare, chemical weapons – they virtually invented it all.” 

― Arundhati Roy, The Cost of Living

We talked about how deceptive the idea of mitigation is, and now we get to debunk the other label that the colonialists bundle together in order to create more confusion. Their literature is awash with “mitigation and adaptation” and the two are used often interchangeably so as to make ordinary people think that it is a really complex well thought through area.

The IPCC defines adaptation as “the process of adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects in order to moderate harm or take advantage of beneficial opportunities.” This is straight forward enough. Indigenous communities have been adapting to climate all through the centuries. They have achieved this through tried and tested means of staying light on their feet and moving frequently with the changing weather and climate patterns, thereby letting the land recover, while they modify their diets, foraging and agriculture in line with what is naturally thriving in their surroundings. So this is nothing new. What changed is that the colonialists grabbed large tracts of land, displacing communities who knew what they were about, fenced off the land, introduced reserves to confine “natives” to what amounted to concentration camps restricting their movement and turning them into idle unemployed people whose only recourse was to provide cheap labour to develop the land on behalf of the invaders. The colonists then introduced district and provincial boundaries to enable them control the affairs of people and of course created artificial international boundaries that cut traditional communities down the middle restricting their movement back and forth over their ancestral lands. The same people are now coming to recommend to us how to adapt to climate.  

Once again the kind of adaptation activities promoted by the global north are mainly for the rest of the world to adopt while they themselves remain largely exempt from making any sacrifices. The modest commitments they have made have remained unfulfilled whether it is promising 100 billion dollars a year to help poorer countries adapt, or indeed wean themselves off petroleum and adopt renewables as the only safe source of energy. America has not changed and continues to subsidize petroleum consumption to the tune of — and neither has Europe whose subsidies for the same amount to …. These numbers pale into insignificance compared to what they agreed to devote to help adaptation. To rub salt into an open wound, UK has just announced a repudiation of their net zero commitments while expanding oil and gas exploration – same with the better guys such as Norway. 

And so these adaptation activities are conceived through western lenses and imposed on the neo-colonised as palliatives to a gasping dying world. So what would adaptation look like from our viewpoint? We would suggest that it involves freedom of people to migrate away from destroyed habitats through no fault of their own. The notion that peoples seeking escape from hunger and poverty should be defined as illegal must be abolished. After all when the colonialists move around to exploit us even more through “foreign direct investment” they are termed as legal. They make the rules to suit themselves.

Secondly we believe that adaptation should be primarily undertaken by the polluters themselves who should radically change their high carbon emitting lifestyles and emulate the indigenous communities who value nature, live off the land, and conserve the planet with their light carbon footprint. This would involve a rethink of values away from the capitalist western idolatry and worship of individual ostentatious material consumption which involves tonnes of waste. A communal approach which values sharing of natural resources instead of hoarding and excess is what they should aspire to instead of greed and ever-increasing consumption. When is enough ever enough?

Thirdly, adaptation should involve the abandonment of industrialised mono cultural agriculture which malnourishes the soil and introduces synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, as well as overdosing animals on antibiotics which are then passed on to humans through the food chain. The “global northerners” subsidise  their agricultural production to the detriment of the “global southerners”, and would prefer to pour their excess production of milk down their sewers rather than send it to those who may need it in climate affected parts of the world. While they subsidise their farmers, they impose sanctions on agricultural produce from the less polluting “global southerners” while claiming to be the good guys pulling them out of poverty. Such blatant hypocrisy is shameful. The other aspect is that the animals they keep locked up in cramped cages to produce milk and tasteless meat emit greenhouse gases in volumes that destroy the protective ozone layer of the atmosphere. Apart from animal cruelty, the concentration of so many immobile animals in a small area is detrimental to the environment. Our hardy mobile cows grazing on natural grass are less flatulent.

Fourth is that needless to say the neocolonial landgrab that is actively engaged in under their “philanthropic” sponsorship in the guise of “African Green agricultural Revolution” has to be stopped in its tracks as it is obviously bad for the environment while promoting genetically modified crops not indigenous to Africa, and requiring farmers to use vast quantities of industrial chemicals to profit western racketeering firms.

Fifth, the same landgrabbers continuing to acquire large tracts of land in the name of animal conservation must be banned in Africa. Indigenous communities do not need the same old aid in the form of pit latrines, patronizing school buildings without equipment fit for a modern education experience, jobs as cooks and servants for the neocolonialists. What they need to adapt is their land returned to them to conserve and use communally as our forefathers did.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *