Need to take lessons from Sri Lanka crisis

Published on Apr 18, 2022 05:07 AM IST

The world is deeply interconnected. This is exhilarating, but it exacerbates our vulnerability, especially in the context of climate change.

Sri Lankan demonstrators holding placards attend a protest to demand justice.(REUTERS)
Sri Lankan demonstrators holding placards attend a protest to demand justice.(REUTERS)

Sri Lanka is in dire straits, as we all know. Everyone is aware of the loss of tourist income, remittances and capture of giant resources such as ports by outside agencies. Some critics also say it’s the organic farming policy that has contributed. It may not be a core contributor, but we can take home lessons.

The world is deeply interconnected. This is exhilarating, but it exacerbates our vulnerability, especially in the context of climate change.

To adapt, we must buttress economic models with localized, green livelihoods that provide basic nutritional and economic resilience at the last mile to significant numbers. Organic farming is a case in point, but it must be focussed on localised nutritional resilience, not just on large scale farming. The crop should be climate resilient and consumed by the growers in this context. Organic fertilizers should be produced nationally if not locally. It’s not useful to grow organic baby carrots for a swishy urban supermarket to adapt to climate change and its avatars. Sure, grow it and earn while it’s possible, but also nurture a parallel endeavour as insurance.

We need multi-level interventions to keep going. From pandemics to wars to economic collapse to the most pervasive-climate change-closed loop, small scale, local , if second livelihoods that nurture the earth and the locals are a key form of insurance that must be built in, alongside all else. Sri Lanka’s case is way more complex, but from its challenges we can learn that the inevitable bad times, especially in this melting era, must be confronted strategically.

(The writer is founder and director Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group)

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Bharati Chaturvedi is an environmentalist and writer. She is the founder and director of Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group.

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