CLIMATE JUSTICE FOR PASTORALISTS – The Gujjar Community of Himachal Pradesh Speaks Out – ActionAid India
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CLIMATE JUSTICE FOR PASTORALISTS – The Gujjar Community of Himachal Pradesh Speaks Out

Update: Update: June 4, 2023

Nomadic pastoralism is where livestock are herded to seek new grazing lands and pastures. Among one of the oldest occupations, nomadic pastoralism continues to be a way of life and livelihood for millions worldwide and in India. And the challenges pastoralist communities face continue to increase. As a result, there is a real danger that this century may see the demise of the pastoral way of life and nomadic pastoralism. That is not a desired future.
Pastoral people are ecological defenders, conserving our bio-diversities. Their cattle convert native vegetation directly into food without the intermediate stage of cultivation. They help in cross-pollination and farming practices in a symbiotic relationship. Their regular migration ensures the dynamic use of resources, selection of breeds and symbiotic linkages with farmers.
This study is the product of action research to investigate the effects of extreme weather events on the Gujjar community’s livelihoods and their capacity to adapt to climate change in Himachal Pradesh, India. A perception-based study, its purpose isn’t to add to an ever-growing body of data on climate change but to inform the agenda and action for climate justice at various levels through the lived experience of the pastoralist Gujjar Community. The action research sought to gather insight into how the community understands climate change and what they have experienced of its impact.
The report is part of our efforts in ActionAid Association to draw communities who are least responsible for climate change and bearing the brunt of its impact into the movements for climate justice. There is a need to recognise that pastoralism is a healthy, viable system essential for sustaining millions of our people who otherwise, given the situation of employment worldwide, are likely to join a large pool of precarious wage labour. Nomadic pastoralism offers a way of life dignified for its followers and sustaining for our planet.
We would like to show how pastoral people and many other communities dependent on natural resources are ecological defenders, conserving our bio-diversities. Therefore, we need to celebrate, enable and pay for their service as custodians of environmental resources.