Women at the helm of climate adaptation efforts

One of the key factors in climate adjustment is sustainable habitat, which affects women most because most of them spend most of the day in their homes. But how much do they say in the construction and maintenance of their homes? The Center for Science and Environment (CSE), through its investigation into the tribal areas of West Bengal and Odisha, has come up with information on how women shape the pulse of rural communities and lead the fight for climate change. In most of these villages, the construction and maintenance of houses is mostly done by women. These places are dominated by grass, bamboo and mud houses. From sourcing materials to grass, wall and plastering, women take the lead, leaving men with only one roof.

Women make a mixture of red and black clay with water to form a sticky clay called “daub”. The dab is applied to the interlocking frame of wooden strips that form the wall panel. It is through these techniques that these communities withstand the harsh, hot and humid climate of the region.

Climate-sensitive materials and residential play an important role in creating a thermally-comfortable living environment. High exposure to heat is directly proportional to the frequency and number of health problems. Women recognize the importance of their homes made of locally sourced materials. “Mitty Ghar Warmer in winter and colder in summer, ”says Radhika, a resident of Semiliguda in Koraput district of Odisha. , Mental health problems and complications in pregnancy.

Traditionally prevalent climate-appropriate housing has economic benefits. The insignificant need for locally sourced natural materials and mercenary labor can reduce the cost of building such a home. Such accommodations reduce operating costs by eliminating the need to buy equipment such as fans, coolers and refrigerators.

Climate-appropriate housing develops a sense of ownership and belonging to women of the tribal belts of Odisha and West Bengal. These houses are painted annually by the women of earth and natural colors. It strengthens the sense of identity among them. “However, we can see the beginning of the transition from mud houses to cement and mud brick homes in these areas, fueled by expanding financial support under government housing projects. Pucca Ghar”Says Mitashi Singh, Program Manager, Sustainable Habitat Program, CSE.

While women may have to travel a short distance to get a variety of soil and trees, sourcing locally and affordability is the answer. “Climate-appropriate housing is critical for India to meet its thermal comfort goals under the India Cooling Action Plan 2019,” says Rajneesh Sareen, Program Director of CSE’s Sustainable Habitat. Women need to specialize in using new materials and building techniques that are more resilient. This should be internalized by projects such as the Prime Minister Awas Yojana (Rural) or Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Rural Kaushal Yojana.

In this way, women do not lose their autonomy and can play an important role in the village community. They gain alternative skills and livelihood while contributing to India’s climate goals.


The opinions expressed are personal

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