Last week, Climate Asia organized a virtual masterclass on the “Localisation of Economy from Climate Lens” with Sameer Shisodia, CEO of Rainmatter Foundation. The masterclass covered some crucial themes around the intersectional approach towards climate, the necessity of localization to avert economic loss and the involvement of grassroots-level stakeholders in climate action.
One of the main issues with climate action is that most people on the ground cannot relate to the more complex technical issues covered by COP summits. They fail to recognize their long-term involvement in the issue and its remedies. In addition, there is minimal action on the ground that people think is related to the climate. This became a backdrop to the journey of Shisodia at Rainmatter.
The speaker further threw light upon the holistic view of climate change, which is not just confined to carbon emissions but also includes several other pollutants and materials we inject into the atmosphere. Energy, for instance, has been one of the top priorities for environmentalists. By placing this in an Indian perspective, he highlighted the interconnectedness of energy with the food sector. He mentioned, “Any state uses at least 30% of its electricity budgets for agriculture. So, optimizing agriculture would be a far better answer to climate change than just looking at the energy transition itself.”
Human services and the economy have been major concerns for centuries. This has put ecology, pride, and identity on the back burner. The conversation further expanded upon how everything, from food accessibility to economic progress, has been at the cost of the environment.
The masterclass also highlighted the growing necessity to think locally. Almost all consumer goods are designed to travel thousands of kilometers before they are delivered to a household. It is particularly true even if things can be obtained locally. This results in not only biodiversity loss but also a vast economic cost. To explain further, Sameer handpicked numerous examples of everyday life from Coorg, including bamboo, pickles, millets, and others which can easily be sourced locally but are available from faraway lands.
During the session, one of the audience members resonated with a point on building demand for such change from the communities and asked the speaker's thoughts on making this demand from communities. Sameer mentioned that “people with social capital interested in change can drive this conversation and the political economy and market follow. Regarding the urban context, our understanding of urban needs must change drastically and focus on a more sustainable approach.”
The session also covered the urgent need for better trade-offs, which included going local and choosing a cluster strategy for production and distribution. The key to finding answers is mainstreaming them, expanding change-making, reforming policies to harmonize ecological and socioeconomic objectives, and launching extensive awareness campaigns.
About Sameer Shisodia: He heads the Rainmatter foundation developing projects and building funding and investment programs, among many other things.
Climate Asia (www.climateasia.org) is a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening the climate ecosystem in Asia through the capacity building of organizations focusing on human resources, organizational development, and thought leadership. Climate Asia aims to bridge the gap by working with direct and indirect climate actors and organizations across the spectrum in various sectors. Climate Asia will advocate for ambitious, inclusive action to address climate change leveraging talent as a lever for systems change.