"Climate change poses a powerful challenge to the idea of freedom": Amitav Ghosh, before the CSE-Penguin release of his latest book, The Great Derangement

Down To Earth, the environment and development fortnightly, celebrates 25 years of its existence by launching Ghosh’s book on climate change; publishes exclusive excerpts and interview

CSE director general Sunita Narain will be in conversation with Ghosh at the launch of the book

New Delhi, July 19, 2016: It is a sign of the times – that one of India’s best known writers writing in English has done one of his rare non-fiction works on climate change, probably the biggest threat the world faces today. And he is launching it jointly with Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). 

Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement - Climate Change and the Unthinkable is a comment on the history and politics of climate change. Living in a time when impacts of climate change are being experienced more than ever before, Ghosh has used the book to give a call for immediate action. “It is very hard to understand why we do not seem to grasp the immensity and urgency of climate change that is already unfolding around us,” says Ghosh in an exclusive interview to Down To Earth, the environment and development magazine that CSE helps publish.

The book will be released here today at an event which will see CSE director general Sunita Narain in conversation with Ghosh. The release has been jointly organised by CSE and Penguin India, which has published the book. The event is part of the 25th anniversary celebrations of Down To Earth. The magazine is partnering with CSE in organising a number of workshops, conclaves and other events across the country to mark the year.

Speaking ahead of the release, Narain said: “Climate change is about sharing economic growth within and between nations. The weather is becoming more unpredictable, more extreme and we are all at risk. Worse, the world is failing to negotiate how it will share economic growth that is intricately linked to CO2 emissions.” 

In his interview, Ghosh laments the lack of writers talking about developmental and environmental issues through contemporary literature. On being asked why creative thinkers are vacating the ‘thinkable spaces’ he says, “We are teetering at the edge of a new era in which many of our past habits of thought and practice have become blinders which prevent us from perceiving the realities of our present situation.” 

He also talks about how of late, climate change is being looked at as a ‘moral issue’ rather than placing the onus on collective action by organisations and governments alike – “the individual conscience is now seen as the battleground of choice for a conflict that is self-evidently a problem of the global commons... ,” says Ghosh.


  • Book release at 7.15 PM, Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi

  • To read more about The Great Derangement and Amitav Ghosh’s views on climate change, please click here 

  • For any media queries: Parul Tewari, Media Resource Centre, CSE,  parul@cseindia.org / 9891838367