When we say “climate justice,” what do we mean?
Climate injustice is the proposition that climate change impacts the world’s population inequitably, including the urban and rural poor, communities of color, Indigenous people and tribes, women, and people with disabilities. These groups disproportionally bear the negative consequences of climate change, while having done the least to contribute to the high levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Compared to the wealthier and most industrialized nations of the world, these communities often lack the resources needed to mitigate or adapt to climate change. Few possess air-conditioning for hotter summers, or the resources to move away from areas frequently impacted by extreme weather such as flooding. These communities also tend to be systemically shut out from decision-making opportunities.
Climate justice is fighting for a sustainable, cooperative, people centered, and regenerative future. As the Climate Justice Alliance puts it, “Frontline communities have the solution to the extractive industrial systems” that are threatening human survival. We must fight to dismantle racism, colonialism, and extractive capitalism while also building systems from communities up, systems that value human rights and a healthy planet for everyone.
Climate justice follows a “Just Transition,” fundamentally transforming the systems of economy and governance from racial capitalism to global democracy centering people over profit and the well-being of all beings and ecosystems. This framework, building off the Principles of Environmental Justice and Jemez Principles for Democratic Organizing, were developed by Movement Generation with the Climate Justice Alliance.
References and groups leading in Climate Justice:
NAACP Environmental & Climate Justice
Indigenous Environmental Network
Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice: Principles of Climate Justice
Changing Planet, Changing Health by Paul R. Epstein, Dan Ferber – University of California Press
The Climate Reality project: Climate and Environmental Justice
Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE)
GreenRoots in Chelsea and East Boston
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