Air conditioners and other absurdities
This is a great article by Tim Frewer, a friend previously involved in ASEN who has been living in Cambodia for the last few years.
The article explores the wholesale adoption of climate change discourse in Cambodia by the state, NGOs and farmers as an explanation for a multitude of problems facing rural areas. While land degradation, use of fertilisers, changes in rural labour, corruption, lack of irrigation and changed hydrological regimes are all well-documented and empirically-researched problems facing Cambodian farmers, they are obscured by the power of climate change as an all-encompassing explanation for farmers’ problems. Tim suggests that farmers and the state strategically wield donor-driven climate change discourse in order to attract foreign aid, acutely aware of the necessity of articulating their problems in line with donors’ concerns.
Over the years there has been much discussion amongst ASEN folks about the necessity of moving beyond a search for/belief in technical fixes as a way of combatting climate change; instead, there is a general consensus that we need to focus on long-term systemic change which always takes into consideration both social and environmental justice, if indeed they are separate issues. Tim’s article critiques the development industry’s misrepresentation of rural problems in Cambodia, the act of which facilitates the promotion and implementation of various technical interventions which support donors’ agendas rather than address the specific needs of local farmers.
Anyway, read the article, it’s all in there!