Weathering the Climate Crisis (The Way of Ecological Agriculture)

by Prabahakar Nair, December 2010
05 December 2010

Climate crisis has become the scourge of the past several decades, threatening our lives and livelihoods in the most devastating ways. And its most serious impacts are being felt on the food and agriculture and food security of the world and on its majority practitioners - the small food producers, fishers and herders and, particularly the indigenous peoples and the women.

But this climate change is no longer the natural phenomenon that it once used to be. In fact, today, most of the otherwise called ‘natural disasters’ like floods, typhoons, hurricanes, drought and famine are found to be direct consequences of the climate change and global warming. This climate change - more rapid, more uncertain, more recurrent with more wide-ranging impacts and more catastrophic - is almost entirely man-made.

Yet at the global level, governments and international agencies continue to evade addressing its deep rooted causes. On the contrary, the international discourse on climate change has converted an essentially justice issue into one of trading options and opportunities. At the same time, on food and agriculture too, agriculture is blamed for contributing to climate change, without specifying that it is corporate agriculture – mono-crop, intensely chemical-based and effecting land use changes away from growing food – which is the one to blame. It is essential that these anomalies are rectified.

Studies and experiences worldwide have shown that localized, small scale biodiversity based ecological agriculture plays a major role in mitigating climate change. The potential of this agriculture and the local knowledge systems needs to be recognized, harnessed and established for a sustainable response to the climate crisis.