Global South under the wrath of climate information onslaught

Peter Makwanya


HE flow of climate knowledge and information, mainly from the Global North is enormous while climate information services within the Global South have grown unprecedentedly over the years. This information overload and disinformation has subjected the people of the Global South to massive climate information disorder from both outside and within.

While the world requires climate knowledge and information, especially climate literacy in many communities of the Global South, it is the timely packaging of climate context information which is key and essential. Climate disinformation becomes a challenge in the Global South when communities are not in control of the climate information inflow, thereby failing to counter harmful disinformation.

This does not mean to say  communities in the Global South are blank when it comes to climate-resilient issues, but they need assistance in packaging climate-context information and relate it to local situations.

All hell breaks loose when the climate dosage and dissemination knows no bounds and sincerity to audience reception patterns and ethical considerations.

It is also in the best interests of those in the Global South that large volumes of climate information from the Global North is helpful in many ways but in practical terms, most of it is designed to prove a point rather than serve its purposes.

In absolute sense, the climate information inflows from the Global North is laced with half-truths, treachery and greenwash.

Climate knowledge and information from the Global North is also designed to manage climate attitudes and behaviours for the people of the Global South.

Regrettably, instead of the authorities in the Global South taking advantage of the situation and communicate ethically and in normative terms to the citizens, they also engage in a climate propaganda onslaught on the Global South communities.

While the Global South wants to prove a point including being seen to be doing or saying something on climate change adaptation and mitigation, they also invest in climate information disloyalty and treachery.

In this regard, the people of the Global South are subjected to climate disinformation from both the Global North and South, hence the truth about climate change remains hidden, manipulated and miscommunicated.

The communities of the Global South, who are at the centre of massive climate disinformation from within and without, have to deal with climate information overload and greenwash from the Global North.

At the same time, they are expected to manage locally disseminated propaganda onslaught from within networks in the Global South which can be best described as greenwash in many ways.

The large-scale dosage of the Global South by large volumes of climate knowledge and information from the Global North is also met with rapid and deliberate manipulation of climate justice information into propaganda by authorities in the Global South.

These practices have already unsettled the communities in the Global South such that they no longer know what the correct climate interventions are.

The unfortunate scenario in the Global South is that the authorities preach climate interventions which they never practise at all, in attempts to obfuscate and manipulate the truth.

These authorities always want to hoodwink not only their citizens, but also the world with climate falsehoods against the background of prevailing situations on the ground.

It is also common knowledge that the main polluting actors and the generators of massive green lexical terms are in the Global North, described as multinationals conglomerates.

The Global South is also guilty of large-scale deforestation, land degradation, unsustainable mining practices christened as artisanal mining, pollution of water bodies, unsustainable agriculture, limited climate education, communication and awareness to the citizens.

In the presence of all these glaring truths, many governments in the Global South always blame the Global North for their climate problems in attempts to divert attention of the local people from their own carbon sins, corruption and mortgaging of natural resources, leaving the environment destroyed.

After governments in the Global South have approved the unsustainable mining practices which deform the landscapes, destroying forests while unlocking large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, they shift the blame to the Global North.

In this regard, they choose to misinform local communities, while churning out climate propaganda and making phony interventions. These leave communities in the Global South in information disorientation, overload and climate information disorder including lacking climate voices of their own.

Some countries in the Global South thrive on hoodwinking citizens with sustainable development goal discourses like Vision 2030, Vision 2063 “The Africa We Want”, leaving no one behind, among others, yet there are nowhere near achieving environmental sustainability behaviours.

These climate machinations come as a result of the toxic local media taking propaganda madness to unprecedented levels. The climate information onslaught and disinformation in the Global South, is as a result of leaders wanting the world to see them as if they are managing climate change impacts yet they are not doing much.

While in the Global North there are efficient pathways and tools, for information dissemination, co-operation and collaborative research funding and behaviours, among member countries, the same cannot be said of the disoriented Global South.

In the Global South, people’s perceptions, worldviews and interventions are managed and controlled by their governments.

Besides being guilty of massive fossil fuel burning, tightening the climate financial purse and proxy relations with some Global South countries, the Global North is also guilty of climate media and cultural imperialism, through the famed globalisation.

Therefore, it is now critical for the citizens in the Global South to be delivered from this deliberate information onslaught and disinformation, both at home and abroad.

Communities in the Global South need to invest in sustainable information behaviours, knowledge and communication.

The other major undoing is that, instead of countering disinformation, social media users in the Global South are chaperoning information disorders through various social media platforms.

Instead of dealing with climate issues, the social media is churning out toxic climate misinformation. In this regard, the Global South requires quality climate information to enable it to participate meaningfully in sustainable climate change interventions.

In the Global South, climate change education, advocacy, communication and awareness are low and are strictly monitored by the restive States, leading to lack of open spaces and transformation.

As a result, citizens in the Global South remain alienated, detached from the truth and disempowered.

  • Peter Makwanya is a climate change communicator. He writes in his personal capacity and can be contacted on: [email protected].

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