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Southern perspectives – views from around the world

“…nuclear power is no solution to climate change.”

Muna Lakhani

Hello my name is Muna Lakhani and I’m a black South African. I’d just like to share one or two thoughts about why many of us believe that nuclear power is no solution to climate change. Firstly it’s a highly toxic environment that we would create for people for hundreds of thousands of years. And while it’s true that the power plant doesn’t generate much in the way of climate changing gases, the reality is that the life cycle of uranium actually generates an awful amount.

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Tackling climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing communities around the world. It’s also a problem which has been created historically through overconsumption in wealthy countries, and by the capital-driven model of development promoted by the west.

However, most of the people already suffering from the impacts of climate change are the people who have contributed least to the problem. Often, a lot of the information we get about climate change is from a Western or Europe-centric perspective – or it comes from large organisations rather that real human beings at the grassroots.

Here are a selection of places where you can hear what people around the world are saying about climate change.

  • Raised Voices – A great collection of testimonies about people from various Southern countries talking about development issues, including climate change.Older woman from the mountains of southern China
  • Mountain Voices – This was initiated by the Panos Oral Testimony Programme and is a collection of testimonies from mountain people all over the world. It’s an absolutely fantastic resource giving a unique opportunity to hear how people in ten different countries feel about the changes in their community.
  • International Climate Witnesses – WWF have a project which has already collected testimones from 83 people around the world about how climate change is impacting them. They plan to create a global conversation and use it to influence policymakers internationally. The project is already supported by 120 eminent climate scientists. You can add your own witness statement, or see others’ contributions on the site.
  • From Grangemouth to Brazil – Carbon Trade Watch made a documentary about a project which was based on video letters between the community in the Scottish refinery town of Grangemouth and a community living within a massive eucalyptus plantation in Brazil.
  • LifeMosaic is a group based in Scotland, whose mission is to support indigenous peoples in exercising their right to free, prior and informed consent before large scale land-use changes occur on their territories. They do this by producing and co-ordinating the dissemination of information resources based on testimonies from communities where similar land-use changes have already happened. Projects are demand-driven and developed in partnership with communities, and movements for positive social and environmental change.

A good source of information about issues around climate change, trade and development from a Southern perspective, is found in the vast resources available through networks based in the Majority World, such as:

  • The Third World Network, based in Malaysia, provides reports and analysis on trade justice, climate change and development. You can find information about all the latest international climate change negotiations.
  • Focus on the Global South has bases in the Philippines, Thailand and India, and provides a commentary and analysis of issues including the global economic meltdown, climate justice and trade.

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