Amitav Ghosh: "We are facing a moment like no other, in the middle of World War III"

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Marta Montojo

Madrid, Oct 21 (EFE).- While the main powers claim that "there is no money" to help poor countries deal with the climate crisis, "those richer nations have increased their military spending by a trillion dollars," laments the writer Amitav Ghosh, who assures EFE that we are facing "a moment like no other, in the middle of the Third World War."

“All global attention is now focused on conflicts,” the Indian novelist continues in an interview with EFE, who finds it difficult to see that the climate movement can continue to “draw as much attention as it did before,” and does not predict a good future. result for the green parties in Europe.

Ghosh confesses that he has lost some hope in recent years, since he began writing his book 'The Curse of Nutmeg' - a story about the brutality of colonialism but with more optimistic final reflections - after realizing that “the world "It is moving in a very bad direction."

This essay, which has just been published by the Spanish publishing house Captain Swing, reviews the history of the ecological crisis and its ties with European imperialism, built on a series of environmental interventions promoted by the colonists while they devastated the native peoples of other continents, with their way of life and their way of relating to the environment.

This colonization process had a long-term impact on those places, Ghosh asserts, and now "many of them are the most threatened by the climate crisis."

Furthermore, "colonialism laid the foundations for the enormous disparities that we see today", imbalances that are reflected not only in the different capacity of developing countries to adapt to the phenomena that are a consequence of climate change - to which historically they have barely contributed -, but also in their positions on how to mitigate CO emissions2.

“Many of these former colonies are reluctant to accept limits on their emissions because they consider that the problem actually comes from the Western world,” says the Indian writer.

Ghosh also denounces that “many colonial countries are trying to impose on the rest of the world solutions that in the end will have disastrous consequences for the global South” and thus the colonial logic that he outlines in his book is perpetuated.

The author argues that the break with the worldview of the native peoples - in an effort to "desacralize nature" that gave rise to the idea of ​​an "environment" as something "inert" and alien to human life - gave wings to the mechanistic conception of the world that legitimized colonization and anthropocentrism.

“The Western idea of ​​“nature” is therefore the key that confers and at the same time conceals the true character of biopolitical warfare,” Ghosh writes.

“Echoes of this story are still heard, for example, when American climate change deniers claim that fluctuations in climate are 'natural' and therefore immune to human intervention,” he adds.

Even so, the writer does not only see darkness in the future: for example, he values ​​the “important steps” that the movement to defend the rights of nature has taken, which calls for giving rivers, glaciers or lagoons their own legal personality. , as has happened in New Zealand, India or Spain, where the Mar Menor is considered a subject of rights.

“People are beginning to reconnect with the Earth in very important ways,” emphasizes Ghosh, who celebrates that this movement has begun to gain strength “to the point that people are talking about the rights of trees and forests.”

In any case, “taking into account the magnitude of the crisis we face,” Ghosh emphasizes that we must “think of multiple ways to address it”; adding legal means to protests, among others.

For Ghosh, an important question is the one that must be asked of writers, “and especially novelists,” whom he urges to stop and reflect on “how to make their stories less anthropocentric”: how to find other ways of writing and tell the world

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