This article reviews the theoretical concept of ‘sustainable adaptation’ to climate change and water scarcity using a gender-relations approach by answering the following questions: i) What is a sustainable adaptation to climate change? ii) Based on a literature review, how does gender interact with climate change adaptation to water scarcity and droughts in rural India? (iii) How do the concepts of sustainable adaptation, degrowth, and gender relations interact on the ground, pertaining to water justice? The paper argues that climate change adaptation and development goals can harmonize only if they rectify root causes of vulnerabilities. For adaptation actions to yield sustainable outcomes, they need to be embedded in a just degrowth politics that transforms unequal power relations, including gender relations with water. In India, degrowth is about ecological, economic, and social justice that calls for transformation of the economy. This transformation looks into the lifecycle of goods - how goods are produced, composed, assembled, distributed, consumed, and regenerated today; further degrowth strategy explores alternate, just, non-extractive, decolonial, and democratically-led trajectories that sustain the web of life. This paper discusses five interrelated principles of sustainable degrowth-based adaptation that center on community-based notions of water and gender justice.
Roy Chaudhuri, Nairita (2022) "Exploring sustainable degrowth-based adaptation to climate change-aggravated water insecurity in parts of rural India: A gender relations approach," wH2O: The Journal of Gender and Water: Vol. 9, Article 1.
This essay reviews ecological economist, Giorgos Kallis’ recent book, ‘Why Malthus Was Wrong and Why Environmentalists Should Care’ (2019) to review the debate around population and sustainability. In the name of sustainability and resource scarcity, debates on population tend to blame the poor without adequately problematizing structural inequalities that sustain racial capitalism and stimulate scarcity. This narrative is a remnant of the Malthusian thesis that problematized population growth in relation to food scarcity without problematizing utilitarian human wants. In this essay, I review this book because the author expands on the politics of scarcity and urges us to nurture ethics and the politics of limits. My contribution in this extended review comes in offering a perspective from post-colonial countries like India, and in the global South more broadly, that align with ‘other’ notions of limits, the good life, and sustainability.
Chaudhuri NR. REVIEW ESSAY: The Politics of Resource Scarcity and Overpopulation in the Anthropocene. World Affairs. 2022;185(1):207-225. doi:10.1177/00438200211065134
India’s encounter with farmers’ protests since 2015 has highlighted the constructivist attempt of grassroots movements in confronting the state’s monopoly over production of law. Farmers’ groups and civil society organisations have been mobilising legal and extra-legal tactics to gain discrete legal responses from the state towards guaranteeing farmers’ fundamental rights in the context of climate change adaptation to droughts in semi-arid parts of rural India. This paper discusses the strategies used by such actors to frame the contours of climate justice. The movement highlights the need for India’s policies to align with transformational, procedural and distributional justice goals that recognise and redress structural (socio-economic, cultural, colonial) roots of vulnerability towards just and sustainable adaptation processes. It also highlights the responsibility of the nation-state to safeguard the fundamental/constitutional rights of farmers who contribute to the nation’s food security while being the most vulnerable to climate impacts at sub-national scales.
Roy Chaudhuri, Nairita, ‘Social movements and grassroots discourse of climate justice in the context of droughts: A case study in India’ (2021) 11:1 Oñati Socio-Legal Series 69-107