Saturday, December 5, 2009

Globalization of Withering Weather, Dwindling Economies and Precarious Lives

The number of natural disasters and human-made disasters seem to be increasing manifold, each new year. Humanitarian response organizations are pointing out to the alarming ‘trend’ of increasing unpredictability of weather and seasons and to the fact that these are aggravated by climate change. And climate change has its deeper connections with economic globalization and increasingly lopsided and unsustainable energy consumption patterns. While climate change seems to have caught some attention, at least among the ‘intelligentsia’, media, and civil society organizations, economic globalization and perverse economic development of countries is hardly being taken up as an issue that is negotiable.

Humanitarian agencies across the globe are finding hard to raise resources to cope with old and new forms of disaster. Increasing number of disasters equal increasing demand for funds which practically means that funding is going to be more and more thinly scattered. The situation is becoming acute in the light of the fact that availability of the funds is also getting increasingly influenced by political actions of War on Terror and the like. Destruction of subsistence economies and destruction of forests, water bodies and other natural resources by the Corporates and haphazard development are turning large populations into internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees. These IDPs and refugees have to compete with IDPs and refugees created by the ‘democratisation army’ of the US of A and its associates and vice-versa. Often, the IDPs and refugees go through a cyclical process of being affected by impacts of both natural and human-made disasters. The line between the ecological or environmental IDPs and refugees and conflict/war IDPs and refugees is blurring at a faster pace.

Given that the political boundaries are becoming more and more stronger, the physical space that can accommodate the IDPs and refugees is shirking at a rate which is perhaps as fast as the change in climate. IDPs and refugees have become footballs to kick at all levels of politics. Scarcity of resources is further fuelling the tension that has always existed between the host communities and the IDPs and immigrants. IDPs and refugees are often attacked, murdered, raped, abused and denies basic right of movement because the host communities resent what they see as preferential treatment to the IDPs and refugees who get settled in their areas. Retaliation by the IDPs and immigrants also does similar harm to the host communities. The strain on the host communities’ resources leads to creation of newer IDPs and migrants from among these communities.

The globalized world has indeed succeeded in globalizing the natural forces and human lives. Is there a global will to accept that globalization would also imply owning the global responsibility for causing environmental violence and human tragedy and taking the global responsibility to remedy the situation? Or will the countries take individual responsibility in proportion to the damage caused by the country? We wait to hear from the negotiators in Copenhagen.

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