Thursday, October 1, 2015

Climate Justice

By Anton Antonio
September 30, 2015

The other day, I came across this Greenpeace article on the subject “Climate Justice”.  But what exactly is climate justice and how do we get to the “end goal”?  Here is a repost of that article…

By Diah Abida
September 24, 2015

I admit, when I initially encountered the term Climate Justice, I found it quite abstract.  All I knew was it would look at climate change in a different light – a more human light – and for the first time, the ones responsible for the climate disasters that have robbed many Filipinos of basic human rights will be held accountable.  September 22 was a significant day for Filipinos and climate advocates as we filed the world’s first climate change and human rights complaint at the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines.  It was there that I met Elma Reyes, one of the petitioners from Alabat Island, survivor of typhoon Glenda.  She is married to a fisherman with whom she has two kinds, and fishing and farming are their livelihood.  I had previously seen her in a video, narrating how her community faced the wrath of typhoon Glenda.  She recounted the day when the typhoon hit their town, and said all she had at the time were immense feelings of fear and days of distress.  I was dumbstruck when she asked, in a downhearted tone, “how can we ever plan for a future knowing we would have to deal with this degree of devastation?”  It is difficult to lift her spirits after that, but eventually, her face began to light up at the sight and thought of people in solidarity with her from typhoon survivors to civil society organizations. 
I could only hope that our presence would always be enough to strengthen her resolve in reclaiming our fundamental rights that continue to be abused by fossil fuel companies responsible for climate change.  Putting myself in her shoes, I felt like I was learning to walk again, after having been paralyzed and helpless for so long.  The climate survivors and the growing movement have come a long way to get to where we are now.  Sure, the journey is far from over, but now we have a voice and we are asking for an investigation of the perpetrators of climate change.  A day before filing the petition, I noticed that Ate Elma looked nervous.  I asked her how she was feeling, and with moist eyes, she said “peace of mind.”  I asked why, and she said that finally, typhoon survivors like her can have a platform to make a difference and be the voice for those who have none.  However, the road towards Climate Justice doesn’t end with the group of people that filed the complaint at the Commission of Human Rights.  We each have a role to play in securing a future without climate change – I can think of no better legacy to leave the next generation.  The journey to climate justice has just begun.  “Walk” in solidarity with us.”

The article seems vague and could really not explain the “end goal” of this particular ballgame.  So I did some additional research…  “Climate Justice is generally used as a term for viewing global warming as an ethical issue and considering how its causes and effects relate to concepts of justice particularly environmental justice and social justice.  This can mean examining issues such as equality, human rights, collective rights and historical responsibility in relation to climate change.  Recognizing and addressing the fact that those least responsible for climate change experience its greatest impacts is seen by many as being central to climate justice.  The term is also used with reference to legal systems, where justice is achieved through application and development of law in the area of climate change.  Climate justice is a fluid concept; however, there are recurring themes across definitions.  The following definitions taken from “Organizing Cools The Planet” given a picture of the various understandings of climate Justice:

·         Roots in Environmental Justice:  Climate Justice is a vision to dissolve and alleviate the unequal burdens created by climate change.  As a form of environmental justice is the fair treatment of all people and freedom from discrimination with the creation of policies and projects that address climate change and the systems that create climate change and perpetuate discrimination.
·         Climate Justice as Evaluation Model:  Climate justice is a struggle over land, forest, water, culture, food sovereignty, collective and social rights; it is a struggle that considers “justice” at the basis of any solution; a struggle that supports climate solutions found in the practices and knowledge of those already fighting to protect and defend their livelihoods and the environment; a struggle that insists on a genuine systematic transformation in order to tackle the real causes of climate change…Climate Justice addresses four key themes: root causes, rights, reparations and participatory democracy.
·         Climate Justice as Global Justice:  The historical responsibility for the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions lies with the industrialized countries of the Global North.  Even though the primary responsibility of the North to reduce emissions has been recognized in the UN Climate Convention, the production and consumption habits of industrialized countries like the United States continue to threaten the survival of humanity and biodiversity globally.  It is imperative that the North urgently shifts to a low carbon economy.  At the same time, in order to avoid the damaging carbon intensive model of industrialization, countries of the Global South are entitled to resources and technology to make a transition to a low-carbon economy that does not continue to subject them to crushing poverty.  Indigenous Peoples, peasant communities, fisherfolk and especially women in these communities, have been able to live harmoniously and sustainably with Earth for millennia.  They are now not only the most affected by climate change, but also the most affected by its false solutions, such as agrofuels, mega-dams, genetic modification, tree plantations and carbon offset schemes.” (Wikipedia)

Throwing-in these additional researched information still make the concept of climate justice still relatively vague.  Simplifying things, this concept is a concoction of social, economic, political and environmental justice (in relation to climate change) that is collaged into climate justice.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

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REFERENCE:, (2015). “A Step Closer to Climate Justice”.  Retrieved on September 30, 2015 form

Wikipedia, (2015). “Climate Justice”. Retrieved on September 30, 2015 from

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