The conversation begins by unpacking the idea of the Anthropocene with ecosystem scientist professor Yadvinder Malhi who talks about why a deep time perspective helps us understand how truly volatile the planet is. He also discusses the need for evidence-based science that’s inclusive of indigenous knowledge, which offers more sustainable ways of relating to the environment.
Even while the scientific establishment grapples with what is already known about changing ecosystems to enact policy and systemic change, there are parts of India where narratives and data remain suppressed and ignored by mainstream media.
Public health researcher Shweta Narayan speaks about this disparity in media coverage between the Global North and South, as well as between rural and urban areas within India, as a manifestation of environmental racism. In India, lower caste and indigenous (Adivasi) bodies bear the brunt of toxicity in their environment, while their land and labor fuels petrocapitalism’s extractive rampant greed.
Journalist and poet Jacinta Kerketta, who grew up near the Saranda Forest in Jharkhand, Asia’s largest Sal forest, which is now being destroyed by mining, talks of the disproportionate impact of pollution on India’s oppressed and marginalized Adivasi and Dalit communities. She talks of how addressing systemic inequality and engaging with the Adivasi worldview, that looks at the environment holistically to recognize just how interconnected we are, can help us weather our own climate emergencies.