Weather and climate have suddenly moved into the center of our lives and demand our attention because their vicissitudes have now also hit the global north.
However, one of the greatest misconceptions of our time is to believe that climate change is a new phenomenon that “we” must now worry about when looking at our emissions and carbon footprint.
The truth is that greenhouse gases have accumulated in the atmosphere and we are now seeing the cumulative effect of what has been emissions in the past two hundred years since the industrial revolution.
It goes without saying that all of humanity is in trouble and we must all work together to meet the challenges that climate change has placed on us. However, the search for solutions must be approached with sincerity if we are to have any chance of success. So the first thing we need to do is deconstruct the false common term “we” when it comes to responsibility for the origins and drivers of climate change.
The people in the tropics (also known as the “global south”) do not know the extreme differences in the seasons, which are typical for the temperate zones. But the intertropical convergence zone in which they live has always been subject to extreme weather such as droughts and floods. In Kenya and much of Africa, rural indigenous communities have developed resilience mechanisms; this also means that key resources such as springs and pasture areas in the highlands are only "reserved" for times of crisis. In most communities this was not just a material consideration, but a social one and, at times, a spiritual one. Therefore, the decision on the use of these resources was made by selected elders,and some of these "reserved" areas have also been used for cultural rituals and spiritual purposes. Nature was therefore part of a continuum that included people, their cultural structures, their spiritual attitudes and their physiological needs.
The pressure was there
The people in the temperate “global north”, on the other hand, have always understood themselves to be “external” to nature and used it as a resource for consumption and exploitation.
The extent of consumption was limited solely by the physical capacity of the consumer.
With the industrial revolution, the use of machines made the ability to consume grow exponentially.
In addition to this, capitalism emerged, whereby consumption and destruction of nature were driven by the profit motive, far beyond the initial individual needs.
The soil and environment were suddenly exposed to a society that had the desire and ability to consume well beyond its physiological needs and initial geographical boundaries. The pressure was there and anyone who studies history will easily see how colonialism, war and environmental degradation were promoted in this way and how that resulted in the environmental crisis in which we find ourselves today.
And we pretend we can capture and describe the instability, unpredictability and occasional violence of atmospheric conditions with a deliberately vague term: climate change.
“Climate change” is a term that seems to denote something present, fluid, urgent.
When used in connection with describing extreme weather conditions, it brings up images of an event that is happening right now, caused by actions by all of us.Keywords: climate change, capitalism, terms, solution, carbon, continuum, climate, weather, nature, one, north., term, resources, guest post, misconceptions