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What did we learn about Climate Justice?

A summary of the views expressed in the preceding video
Demonstrators in Melbourne, Australia, carrying a banner calling for climate justice
© Wikimedia Commons: Photographer: John Englart from Fawkner, Australia; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

I heard a number of issues that I think are crucial to decide how we can go forward as a world in tackling the climate crisis.

First, we heard several people say that the solutions need to be fair for everybody. For example, Kevin said that the impact of what he buys should not mean that other people’s climate or environment is destroyed.

This is a really important point. When we decide to fly abroad for a holiday, the CO2 emissions that the plane puts out will play a significant role in accelerating climate breakdown. This means that people in the Solomon Islands may see their whole land washed away. Or that people in Somalia or Ethiopia may starve because of drought and famine. Climate justice means taking our responsibilities seriously as a global community.

Then I heard some people say that those of us living in the richer world have more responsibility for sorting the problem out. Nettle used the word privilege when talking about this, and sometimes people use the phrase ‘while privilege’. If we have more power, either because we’re better educated, or perhaps just because we speak English well, we have a greater responsibility to ensure that the world acts on the climate crisis.

For some of those who gave their views, this responsibility went beyond the human community, So Alison told us that she thought there should be safety for all people and all beings we share the planet with. And John told us that Climate Justice is about restoring humankind’s damaged relationship with nature. And Heledd said that we shouldn’t be separating ourselves from the environment as if we were somehow outside it.

Quite a few of the interviewees said that Climate Justice is linked to social justice. We have to address these issues together. We can’t have a climate solution in one part of the world that makes people in other countries worse off. And we can’t allow the more powerful countries of the North to dominate the discussion; they must listen to the needs of the countries of the Global South.

People did not agree about who should act. Alex thought it was the responsibility of those in positions of power to act on the climate crisis, to really take it seriously. But Heledd thought that the global capitalist economy is actually the problem and that only by rebuilding strong local communities can we build a sustainable world. Well, it’s a difficult and complex question, so it is not surprising we got lots of different answers! What’s your answer to the question? What does Climate Justice mean to you?

© Molly Scott Cato
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