Last updated: 30 november, 2010 - 10:36 GMT

The Climate Connection: Lost in Translation

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What's stopping us from taking action on climate change?

Can research from other fields help us find solutions where conventional thinking around environmentalism might have failed?

The second part of the Climate Connection looks at how language, religion and culture influence our understanding of climate change.

Lost in Translation

Earlier this year research by the BBC World Service Trust revealed just how poorly understood the concept of climate change is in many African countries, through a project called Africa Talks Climate.

It is partly a question of cultural or religious outlook, but in many cases it is also question of vocabulary. Many indigenous languages simply do not have the equivalent words or concepts to adequately translate the scientific message of climate change.

As a result, people tend to view year-on-year warming or unpredictable rains as a localised effect rather than a global phenomenon. But the now over-familiar truth is that those nations least responsible for climate change are set to suffer most from it - and Africa and its people will need to adapt.

In this programme, Josphat Makori reports from Kenya where research has revealed just how far the urban population has to go before it truly understands the scale of the problem that is facing it.

Meanwhile, Ed Butler travels to southern Ethiopia where, conversely, environmental awareness has become a key political tool for the Mursi people in the preservation of their traditional way of life. And there is much here to teach the West.

And Dewi Safitri from the BBC's Indonesian Service has been to see a rural community in the jungles of western Sumatra who use Islam to guide their approach to conservation and adaptation.

First broadcast on 30 November, 2010

The Climate Connection 2010

Related links

  • Exposing the information gap on climate change

  • How would you persuade people to start taking action on climate change?

  • Acting on environmental issues? Add your voice to the Creative Climate diary project

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