'In this community a cow is as important as your mother. You are nothing without a cow,' tells a Kenyan Elder in this documentary made by Dr Joram Tarusarira. Yet, many cows in Kenya die from lack of food. Due to climate changes, the rains in Kenya are not forthcoming, and the fertile pastures wither. What are the consequences for the local farmer population?
Climate change is fueling conflicts in regions where communities depend on natural resources such as cattle and land for survival. Dr Joram Tarusarira made this short documentary about the effects of climate change. Sustainable Society supported the making of this documentary with a Sustainable Society Small Grant.
Some of these resources are considered sacred by the communities. However, most scholars and policymakers in climate security marginalise sacred worldviews in favour of techno-scientific explanations, solutions and strategies. Yet, as this documentary shows, men in communities such as the Maasai and the Pokot are ready to sacrifice their lives protecting cows which they consider sacred. Their sacred worldviews shape their actions and reactions to conflicts induced by climate change, such as conflicts over cattle that are dwindling due to drought. Analysing how sacred worldviews shape climate-induced conflicts is crucial to understanding the link between climate change and conflict and reframing climate peace and security policy and practice. With support from Sustainable society and other institutions, I conducted fieldwork whose outcomes include this documentary.
Dr Joram Tarusarira is Assistant Professor of Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding, at the University of Groningen, and Principal Investigator in the NWA Idea Generator project - Invoking the Sacred: Towards Alternative Strategies Against Climate Conflicts. He is a member of Sustainable Society Groningen's Sustainable Landscapes Research Group.
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