Climate change and trajectories of blame in Northern Ghana

  • Irit Eguavoen University of Bonn
Keywords: climate change, perception, farmers, blame, West Africa

Abstract

This study provides an analysis of environmental observations by farmers, as well as of models of blame in Northern Ghana, an agricultural region of high vulnerability to climate change. Qualitative data were collected through a standardised questionnaire on the community’s consensus on how to explain observed changes. Responses were transcribed to allow content analysis. Natural data sets confirmed most local observations, but older age and the affectedness of the respondents were crucial in determining the views. Climate change was generally given a lower priority by the respondents compared to other manifestations of change, such as infrastructural development, human-spiritual relations and changes in social relations. Moreover, the respondents made reference to the blessing of the land and the destruction of the land. The destruction of the land was understood in a metaphorical way as the result of eroding social relationships and stagnation, as well as norm-breaking and lack of unity within the community. Thus, climate change was perceived in local social terms rather than based on global natural science knowledge. The article concludes that the anthropological analysis is meaningful and may serve as an entry point for further planning of adaptation and public education.

Published
2013-03-30