Integrate IKS with climate change adaptation, mitigation

TERMS like green buying, green energy, green economy, green discourses and many more are now part of the new lexicon for development communication.

To put it in simple terms these now form the basis of the environmental dictionary and to leave them out in any eco-friendly interaction, is similar to committing an environmental sin. But putting on critical lenses would reveal that, these discourses are heavily ideologically influenced. Indeed they have a stand-point, and the stand point is based on capitalist machinations and manipulations. As such, they are based on simple market economy that is why they neglect indigenous knowledge systems because it is not profitable.

Indigenous knowledge systems (IKS), though fundamental in both outlook and nature, it does not really sell, it is not made of juicy staff and above all it is not a firm favourite of the influential corporate world. The corporate world and especially from the industrialised world, normally set the pace and trends for the green economy as well as the expected benefits. The problem with IKS is that it is too humanistic in nature, therefore it is not a favourite with the budding capitalists.
Capitalists, especially the greed and blood sucking ones have no permanent friends and they pray to the god of silver and gold.They have no spirit of Ubuntu hence they have lost any forms of conscience.

climate change

IKS brings the humanistic aspect of Ubuntu in climate change adaptation and mitigation. Issues of resilience and successful livelihoods and sustainability cannot succeed in the absence of the human face. If the human hand is responsible for the current climate mess then it is significant that the human mind is cleansed of its global warming activities. In this view, everything is centred on the individual’s point of view whether it is the human being which is profiting because of the climate crisis or it’s the human being that should change its ways of interacting with the environment. But the most influential and underlying factor is that, indigenous knowledge systems is not good for business or money making ventures unless it is integrated with climate change adaptation and mitigation. On its own, people still look down upon it and sometimes talk about it in passing or when it matters most. In short, in the eyes of the corporate world, it is an inconvenient to good business.

The sacred nature of our forests and cultural affiliations are not accorded any meaningful respect at all from the influential corporate sector. The influential corporate sector, in turn, are best pals with the politicians and liars of this world in order to background the noble issues of the IKS. Indigenous knowledge systems is human friendly, it doesn’t lie, it doesn’t promote kleptomaniacs, it is cultural, scientific and utmost environmental. This traditional knowledge of knowing, has in the past united people, nurtured humanity and improved the people’s relationship with nature at no cost at all. Now people are being promised payments on what they have always been doing as if it’s anything new. It is industrialisation that has made the world what it currently looks like not the assumed ignorance of people of the developing world. Any sustainable climate adaptation and mitigation can never be achieved from an economic and exploitative dimension besides the purely environmental complemented with the traditional knowledge of knowing.

People and developmental practitioners together with the greed corporate sector need to come down to earth and improve on their way of interacting with their environment as well as respecting their traditional knowledge of knowing.

A much closer analysis would reveal that it is the corporate sector that is decimating swathes of forests in the Sub Saharan Africa as they continue to invest in fossil fuels explorations and at the same time they are the ones who are in the forefront of in investing, once again in green energy technologies. What a global environmental paradox. The economies of the industrialised countries have been built on the bedrock of fossil fuels and when the atmosphere is already dirty as well as dangerous, they come back with the new world order of knowing, which is the green discourse, where no nation is supposed to be left behind.

This world will never be the same again if these corporate sharks are left to pull the strings of climate change adaptation and mitigation as well as manipulating people using the glib of green discourses. It continues to boggle the mind that, in not too distant future, the world will one morning turn green, where fossil fuels will be a thing of the past in this current environment of monetization. If the world is serious about going green then it needs to start making strides in integrating climate change with indigenous knowledge systems rather than continue to be driven by insatiable desire for carbon businesses as well as the manipulation of language and hegemony.

The other stumbling block is to expect poverty stricken developing countries to dump the exploration of fossil fuels overnight.
It is extremely difficult to turn green in the murky-waters of poverty, mistrust and misinformation. There shouldn’t be denied the need to develop first and then acquire the capability of turning green so that they become eco-conscious and ready to implement. It continues to be tricky that the industrialised world continues to urge African countries to embrace green technologies not because they love Africa but due to monetary gains. They are extending their business tentacles while the cursed continent is busy snoozing.

The indigenous knowledge world-views and perspectives have already suffered legitimacy as the new world order of capitalism is manifesting itself in using the chameleon-style initiatives. It is common knowledge as well as a given to the corporate sector, that indigenous knowledge systems is the rightful formula that is cheap, people centred and friendly but it is the need of money that is threatening to turn everything upside down.

Although green economy is important, it is also very clear that it cannot succeed without comodifying nature. Nature in its own right is not for sale but the green markets initiatives are overtaking rational. Investing in indigenous knowledge systems does not infringe on the people’s rights yet green businesses do a lot of abuses on the people’s rights, Ubuntu, and cooperation.
lPeter Makwanya is a Climate change communicator. He writes in his own capacity and he can be contacted on:

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