SOAS University of London

SOAS Festival of Ideas

Climate Change and Global Voices

THIS EVENT IS ARCHIVED

Date: 20 October 2020Time: 1:00 PM

Finishes: 20 October 2020Time: 3:00 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Panel Discussion

Book now

Climate Change is a defining issue of our times. It impacts livelihoods, food production, extreme weather patterns and natural disasters. In this panel we discuss and review the relationship of development and environment, the climate crisis and economy, reviewing sustainable action and the global flow of knowledge to address the climate crisis.

ABSTRACT

Climate change as a social and environmental crisis – The case of water

Climate change is understood as one of the worst environmental crises of our time. Yet, the responses given centre in large part around economic development. This is appropriate to the extent that it is environmentally damaging ‘development’ that has caused the crisis. At the same time, this obscures some of the social and environmental aspects of climate change. This is well illustrated in the case of water. The links between water and climate change should be obvious because most of the water that supports ecosystems and human life is directly linked to rainfall. Surprisingly while water is recognised as a crucial challenge in most countries, it has not become part of the central imagination of climate change debates. This is problematic because climate change debates often centre on technical and technological fixes while indirectly sidelining social issues. The case of water is symptomatic since access to sufficient safe water remains a global problem in the sense that it affects hundreds of millions, mostly in the global South. Water availability has been central to water policy debates but the answer given has been to focus on making its management more ‘efficient’, in particular by imposing an economic value on the use of water. This sidelines the need for protecting water, a crucial element in terms of ensuring better availability as well as availability of safe water. A much focus on water in climate change debates will help in strengthening the human component of the responses given.

Panelists:
  • Dr Phillipe Cullet, SOAS University of London
  • Dr Feja Lesniewska, SOAS University of London
  • Dr Thomas Tanner, SOAS University of London
Biography
Philippe Cullet

Dr Philippe Cullet is Professor of international and environmental law at SOAS University of London and a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi. He received his doctoral degree in law from Stanford University, an MA in Development Studies from SOAS University of London, an LLM from King’s College London and a law degree from the University of Geneva. He has published extensively on international and domestic environmental law, natural resources, water and sanitation and socio-economic rights and engages regularly with policymakers at the national and international levels. He is a member of the expert group drafting the Madhya Pradesh Right to Water Act, 2019. His latest books are Right to Sanitation in India – Critical Perspectives (OUP, 2019 – co-editors S. Koonan & L. Bhullar) and Research Handbook on Law, Environment and the Global South (Edward Elgar, 2019 – co-editor S. Koonan).

ABSTRACT: Climate change as a social and environmental crisis – The case of water

Climate change is understood as one of the worst environmental crises of our time. Yet, the responses given centre in large part around economic development. This is appropriate to the extent that it is environmentally damaging ‘development’ that has caused the crisis. At the same time, this obscures some of the social and environmental aspects of climate change. This is well illustrated in the case of water. The links between water and climate change should be obvious because most of the water that supports ecosystems and human life is directly linked to rainfall. Surprisingly while water is recognised as a crucial challenge in most countries, it has not become part of the central imagination of climate change debates. This is problematic because climate change debates often centre on technical and technological fixes while indirectly sidelining social issues. The case of water is symptomatic since access to sufficient safe water remains a global problem in the sense that it affects hundreds of millions, mostly in the global South. Water availability has been central to water policy debates but the answer given has been to focus on making its management more ‘efficient’, in particular by imposing an economic value on the use of water. This sidelines the need for protecting water, a crucial element in terms of ensuring better availability as well as availability of safe water. A much focus on water in climate change debates will help in strengthening the human component of the responses given.

Tom Tanner

Dr Thomas Tanner is Director of the Centre for Development, Environment and Policy at SOAS University of London, coordinating sustainability research and a teaching portfolio with over 500 students across 7 postgraduate programmes. Specialising in climate change adaptation and resilience, Tom delivers multi-partner, policy-focused research projects with academic institutes, governments, business and development agencies in the world, particularly in South Asia. Prior to joining SOAS, Tom led the adaptation and resilience work at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), having previously worked with DFID and UNDP on climate negotiations, policy and programmes. Tom has authored numerous policy and research articles (Google Scholar), co-authored of the leading textbook on Climate Change and Development (2014, Routledge). His forthcoming book Resilience Reset (Routledge, 2021) sets out a critical agenda to tackle urban resilience.

ABSTRACT: Children, climate change and agency

There is a divide in work on children and climate change. On the one hand, studies highlight the differentiated impacts of climate change on children, their wellbeing and life courses. Such studies draw attention to the injustices of climate change, affecting people, places and generations that have done least to contribute to the problem. At the same time, such studies can paint children as passive victims of climate change, with detrimental effects an inevitable consequence. In contrast, initiatives have emphasised the agency and role of young people in decision making, with a proliferation of youth-based activism around climate change in recent years. Dubbed the ‘Greta effect’, this movement has helped reframe children and climate change issues around issues of agency and empowerment. This talk presents perspectives on agency and empowerment of children and young people in the context of climate change, particularly on the processes of adapting to climate change impacts. Tom will discuss the implications of his work with children’s groups for theory and policy, drawing on examples in Central America, East Asia and Southern Africa. It examines the different modes of engagement and types of politics that can help children to protect themselves and their communities, influence the actions of others and transform their wider environments.

Registration

Click here to register

This event is part of the Virtual SOAS Festival of Ideas which will kick off a week-long series of virtual events. The festival includes: panel discussions, student led installations, masterclasses, keynote lectures, a public debate for/against on Decolonising Knowledge and a Verbatim performance by Bhuchar Boulevard on ‘Decolonising Not Just a Buzzword’ capturing SOAS conversations about the need to decolonise its imperial mission.

Keep updated on the upcoming Virtual Festival of Ideas events and watch recordings of previous events on the SOAS website. Please contact foi@soas.ac.uk with any questions regarding this event and/or the Virtual SOAS Festival of Ideas.

Please support SOAS Festival of Ideas by donating to our crowdfunding campaign at https://soas.hubbub.net/p/SOASFestivalofIdeas/. All proceeds go to supporting the speakers, performers, and artists involved.

Organiser: SOAS Festival of Ideas

Contact email: foi@soas.ac.uk