An international seminar titled “Anthropology and Global climate Change: Local Knowledge, Cultural Adaptations and Resilience among the Indigenous Peoples,” was inaugurated at the University of Hyderabad. This international seminar is organized by the Department of Anthropology of the UoH under the University Grants Commission- Special Assistance Programme for the Department of Anthropology UoH, with special assistance from Indian Council for Social Science Research, Anthropological Survey of India, Kolkata and Anthropos India Foundation, New Delhi.
Among the dignitaries who were present for the inaugural session were Prof. B.P.Sanjay, Vice Chancellor, UoH; Prof. K.K. Misra, Dean of School of Social Sciences and the Seminar Co-ordinator; Prof. B.V. Sharma, Head, Department of Anthropology; Prof. P. Venkat Rao, UGC-SAP Coordianator and the Prof. Victoria Reyes-Garcia from University of Barcelona, who also delivered the keynote address.
The inaugural session commenced with the words of welcome by Prof. K.K. Misra, the Coordinator of the Seminar. While welcoming all the dignitaries, delegates, students and invitees to the seminar, Prof. Misra brought to the notice of the audience the scarce number of studies undertaken on the root question of the larger role of Anthropology in understanding climate change. Prof. Misra reiterated, what has been put forth by the American Anthropological Association, that climate change is human problem and not just a natural problem. Prof. B.V. Sarma, Department Head- Anthropology, gave a brief picture of the academic activities of the Department of Anthropology, UoH.
Following this Prof. P. Venkat Rao spoke of the thrust areas of UGC-SAP which are Culture, Environment and Development. He also gave an idea of the future endeavors of SAP.
The keynote address by Prof. Victoria Reyes-Garcia exhorted the audience on the need to look at the anthropogenic drivers of Global environmental change. The theme of the presentation was, “Local Indicators of Climate Change: The Potential contribution of Local Knowledge to Climate research.”
While affirming the fact that the indigenous peoples are victims of Global environmental change, Prof. Garcia emphasized that the latter must also be seen as allies to understand climate change as they are great observers of climate change. Efforts must be intensified, the Keynote speaker indicated, to conduct research and document the invaluable knowledge of the indigenous peoples. This ethnoclimatological knowledge, the speaker disclosed, is often embedded in stories, myths and behavior of the indigenous peoples. Furthermore, indigenous knowledge offers interesting opportunities for developing and informing effective adaptation strategies that are finely attuned to the specific characteristics of particular local environments and contexts.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. B.P. Sanjay, voiced the concern that Mass-media needs to have an agenda to document, archive and inform the world of the indigenous knowledge of indicators of climate change. He also expressed that it could be very much possible that the University of Hyderabad could take lead in a collaborative effort of interdisciplinary nature in establishing a weather station in order to understand climate change.
Finally Shaik Abdul Munaf, Joint Coordinator of the seminar presented the vote of thanks.