Climate, Environment, and Uneven Development
Lewis & Clark College welcomed environmental scholar and activist Sunita Narain to campus October 22-24, 2019. Director General for Centre for Science and Environment India, Narain delivered a keynote address titled “The New Green Deal for a Global Compact: Learning to Do Things Differently for Inclusive Futures.”
Narain’s keynote is a part of our ENVX Symposium 2019-20 topic, Climate, Environment, and Uneven Development. From climate change to a wide range of environmental issues in India and around the world, the reality of uneven development—”the unequal distribution of people, resources, and wealth” (Crump 2006, 508), or more pointedly “the spatial expression of social injustice” (p. 509)—makes lasting, equitable solutions difficult to achieve. Uneven development can create both winners and losers when we try to address environmental issues. Narain has repeatedly addressed uneven development in her work on climate, including challenges related to renewable energy and the reality of climate-induced migration.
Uneven development operates at multiple spatial scales. We see it when comparing India in the Global South with wealthier countries of the Global North. It also operates at the subglobal level, such as urban growth in the Portland area surrounding Lewis & Clark College, and the state of Oregon, where uneven development exacerbates the urban/rural divide. Uneven development reminds us that environmental solutions must simultaneously address economy and equity.