Camelia Dewan: "Embanking the Sundarbans: The Obfuscating Discourse of Climate Change"
In this chapter of THE ANTHROPOSCENE OF WEATHER AND CLIMATE Camelia Dewan combines long-term ethnographic fieldwork and archival research to complicate current discussions of floods as a problem for Bangladesh.
In this chapter, Camelia Dewan combines long-term ethnographic fieldwork and archival research to complicate current discussions of floods to show that embankments were built long before climatic change was identified as a problem for Bangladesh. Climate reductionism works alongside a long history of development interventions that ignore local context by means of simplification (see Scott 1998) where the colonial state simplifies local ecology in order to expand land-based infrastructure such as embankments, railways and roads, replacing waterways as the main mode of transport.
Narratives of improvement, whether through railways, flood protection or climate-change adaptation, have the potential to enable simplification in ways that increase the financial interests of particular actors, both within state administrations and international organizations, at the cost of environmental concerns.