A generation ago, ‘climate change’ was a foreign term in Nepal and there was very little understanding or awareness of it in the media and in society. This saddened Bindu Bhandari, and it made her think about Nepal’s position as one of the most vulnerable countries to the global impact.
“When I started working on climate in 2014, I was an undergraduate student, and still didn’t know about these issues. I became concerned that the real victims of climate change don’t know much about it and have few ways to adapt to it,” says Bhandari, who currently works as climate program associate at Climate Interactive.
A student of veterinary science, Bhandari began to see the linkages between climate change and what she was studying: “We are in the frontlines of climate change. But that does not mean that we are simply victims. It’s also an opportunity.”
“Inasmuch as the fruits of the carbon economy constitute wealth, and inasmuch as the poor of the Global South have historically been deprived of this wealth, it is certainly true, by every available canon of distributive justice, that they are entitled to a greater share of the rewards of that economy. But even to enter into that argument is to recognize how deeply we are mired in the Great Derangement: our lives and our choices are enframed in a pattern of history that seems to leave us nowhere to turn but towards our self-annihilation.”
Covid‐19 made the global connections explicit: soy for animal feed is produced at the cost of rainforest; foreign local markets are undermined by German meat production; the migration of cheap labour enables price dumping and intensive animal production finally heats the climate. What remains is the fact that local climate activism and advocacy for a change of lifestyle, production and consumption patterns are political and relevant. ‘Meat is stupid’ struck me as a poetic reminder that we urgently need more place‐based narratives of change to cope successfully with the challenges of a changing climate.