Saturday, February 12, 2011

Indian Think Tank : Rich Will Suffer More From Climate Change

I happened to catch the last few minutes of a discussion on climate change and its effect on India on DD Lok Sabha , a government television channel which along with public affairs programming also covers the lower house of Parliament where you can watch Indian politicians trade insults and throw shoes at each other..

Unfortunately I do not know the panelist's name.. and I don't know where he works.. but this is the gist of what he said -

.. the poor have shown that they can adjust to any conditions... look at the resettlement of the poor from Delhi... they have been given a place to live about 40 kms from where they were before..a place without proper infrastructure and far away from facilities.. but they are still surviving...they are sending their children to school.. we should learn from that..

..sea level rise won't be a major concern for the poor.. they can migrate and adapt.. in fact they may have more opportunities to fish..its the rich living in big mansions by the sea who will suffer the most from sea level rise..

...the poor people of Rajasthan have shown that they can adapt and live under harsh desert conditions..

oh yeah....sure.. now i get it... the poor have less to begin with, so they will lose less when their aquifers turn saline and their crops dry out.. fortunately they can just pick up their meager belongings and live a nomadic life..they are used to making best of the conditions around them... the rich..poor loves...don't have that luxury... they are stuck in their million dollar coastal mansions...waiting for the sea to swallow them up...yeah.. sure..sure.. makes sense...  no??

staggering indifference.. but not surprising in a country where in the name of development the poor are routinely displaced with a shrug that they will.. adapt.


  1. This does not surprise me; I'm sure it does not surprise you. But one has to wonder exactly how millions of people living on two meals a day will 'adjust' to eating less than that. Will they be happy with one meal a day? We tolerate farmer suicides...will we tolerate famine?

  2. Infuriating!! Instead of saying the poor - "oh they will adjust to anything", the panelist should've thought of this: do they have a choice? But does that make it any easier? How many times do we hear of repeated 'resettlements", when the same family has been displaced a second, or third time? How about the rich learning this wonderful power to adapt, for a change. Wish you knew the name of this person.

  3. i looked but Lok Sabha TV doesn't have a webpage with program listings and transcripts... i'll have to keep a lookout for a repeat telecast

    Hari and Bamboosong- pointed comments :) my thoughts too!

  4. I can only agree with what you've written, but also think that some of the "rich" are out of touch with survival mechanisms and would be hard pressed to figure out how to "live off the land" if they needed to. Of course, this is a gross generalization, as richer people would also have more access to books to figure things out and presumably to tools to use. They could also be more able to use force to get food, delivering us back to fuedal life. (But I'm thinking of drastic changes nearing collapse.)

  5. Silver Fox- i hope the scenario u outline never comes around... :)