How do Urban Communities Perceive Climate Change? An enquiry on use of Indigenous and Local Knowledge in Silchar, Assam

  • Rajib Gupta, Dr. Arup Barman


Climate science research in cities reveals increased risk exposure to citizens due to naturally
occurring variations in climate conditions and unsustainable human developmental activities. The
drivers of unplanned urbanisation and climate change impacts are interrelated and complicated to be
understood by scientific models and analysis only. Thus, integration of scientific knowledge with well
researched and documented traditional knowledge may fill the gap for developing useful city-specific
mitigatory and adaptive strategies for urban climate change risk governance. The accomplishment of
Sustainable Development Goal of the United Nations to “make cities and human settlements
inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” would remain distant unless climate change indicators like
local weather change pattern are not integrated with indigenous observations, experiences, beliefs
and behaviour of people living in cities defining their perception and attitude towards it. Silchar,
being the second-largest city in the state of Assam in India houses people of diverse ethnic natives and
migrants of India-Pakistan political partition (now Bangladesh), thereby creating a convergence of
very rich and varied resource of traditional knowhow of observing and interpreting weather changes
which are not only interesting but challenging to study particularly in the context of the unplanned
spate of urbanisation the city is undergoing. This paper reports the findings of a study conducted on
the urban population of Silchar Town, Assam, India aimed to assess the level of perception of citizens
on climate change impacts and to examine the influence of indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) on
climate change perceptions