Climate Justice

Climate Justice explains how climate disruptions unequally affect communities, nations, and regions. Women, indigenous peoples, developing regions, communities of color, and marginalized individuals are more vulnerable to the effects of climate disruption.

Photo by Kaitlyn Tolin Productions

Why are women more vulnerable to climate chaos? Women inhabit a different social position that puts them at greater risk to the effects of climate change. In many societies, women are the primary caregivers for children & the elderly; possess limited land rights and lower social status; comprise the main drivers of subsistence agriculture; and live and work for low to no wages.

Why are developing nations more susceptible to climate change? A massive rift exists in the responsibility and impact of climate change. The developed world’s industrial rise to power was fueled by histories of colonialism, land evictions, genocide, militarism, & resource extraction from marginalized communities. In what experts call “ecologically unequal exchange,” the Global North (developed world) siphons resources, goods, & services from the Global South (developing world), and in return, transfers polluting industries, contaminated environments, & social instability abroad. This unequal extraction of wealth from the Global South has made sustainable development a slow & difficult process, as communities struggle with social instability, systemic poverty, corrupt governments, & demand from the Global North. The developing world is less responsible for emissions, yet suffers a disproportionate burden of costs, suffering from food insecurity, political conflict, & a growing refugee crisis.

Why are indigenous communities more vulnerable to climate disruption? Histories of forced removal, colonialism, resource theft, genocide, & dispossession have institutionalized poverty & political impotence of indigenous peoples. Extractive, polluting industries infringe upon territory, while legislation jeopardizes sovereignty & deepens environmental injustice. To combat climate disruption, indigenous communities must be given control over their land, resources, & ecological wealth; be granted freedom from extractive industries, deforestation, & industrial food production systems; and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) must receive official recognition from the U.N.F.C.C.

What strategies work? While market-based solutions dominate international climate negotiations, they are useless in combatting the root problems of poverty, overconsumption, & global inequality. The Anthropocene rests upon an economic foundation rooted in histories of land theft and forced subservience of marginalized people. Solutions to climate change must address fundamental inequalities, encourage less consumption in wealthy nations, & promote a more equitable exchange of resources between developed & developing regions.

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