Amitav Ghosh's latest book, The Living Peak, tells an all-too-common tale of heedless industrial extraction . Ghosh: The western model would only work if it is followed by a small group of people .
The Living Peak, Amitav Ghoshs latest book, tells an all-too-common tale of heedless industrial extraction that shattered the equilibrium between a sacred landscape and the indigenous people who lived in its shadow.He talks to the Sunday Times about the flaws in the western model and how Gandhi understood this intuitively.Your characters aren't a fan of the term Anthropocene, the period of greatest human impact on the planet, but what are your thoughts on it?As you may imagine, the term Anthropocene has attracted a lot of skepticism because it relates human impacts on the planet to humanity as a whole.However, the more wealthy countries in the Western world are the most attributable to these impacts.I personally think the term Anthropocene can be helpful if its scope is restricted solely to geology, i.e., the stratigraphic records showing that (some) humans have evolved into a geological agent.This has obviously had a big effect on some people, so it could serve to bring people's awareness of the impacts of climate change.Western industrialised societies defined their own path for a long time as universally beneficial.But it only served for them, as all else was involved, and nature was just a resource to be exploited. Where has this brought us?The western model would only work if it is followed by a small group of people.Mahatma Gandhi understood this well, which is why he said in 1928, God forbid that India should ever transition into industrialism following the West's example.It would strip the planet bare like locusts if a whole nation of 300 million took to similar economic abuse. It shows that Gandhiji, like many others, understood intuitively what current history has shown: that the universalist claims of industrial civilization were never nothing but deceptions.It is now clear that if adopted by a sufficient number, a consumerist mode of life quickly becomes unsustainable.Gandhiji refused to relinquish the monopoly of power and wealth quenched by industrial civilization.He was branded a man who wanted to weaken India by his political foes on the right. India has completely given up on Gandhian ideals, and has adopted comprehensive colonial-settlers methods.Nonetheless, it must also be said that, as part of the reason for this, the United States began reproducing its own lifestyles and economic systems in the entire world after 1989 with the Washington Consensus.They pushed it so hard that it was almost impossible for any country to escape.The industrialized West is encouraging us latecomers to go slow, live small, and consume less, as your story demonstrates. To redistribute and want less There is no way to live lightly in the Global South without being affluent countries that reduce their lifestyles.Climate change is being seen from a geo-political angle by people in the Global South.If you ask people in India, Indonesia, or China if they would be able to reduce their carbon footprint, they will always reply: It would be unfair to them.When we were weak and powerless, the West came to its knees, and they were our kings. Ultimately, historical injustices are at the heart of the issue.Affluent countries can only be persuaded to go slow in the Global South if they start to change their ways.