What is the climate justice movement all about?

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According to Wikipedia, “climate justice is a term used to frame global warming as an ethical and political issue, rather than one that is purely environmental or physical in nature.” 

Climate justice aims to raise awareness and act as a voice for those whose voices cannot be heard. More often than not, those who are least responsible for climate change suffer the most as a result of the environmental consequences that arise from large corporations. 

India is an example of a country with very unhealthy air quality (as a result of pollution). A large majority of the pollution in India can be attributed to industrial activities. It is thought that air pollution contributes to around 2 million deaths in India each year (staggering).

People living in poorer, overpopulated communities, are more exposed to these dangers, and also have less medical assistance and care. The owners responsible for these industrial activities are the same people living abroad or in less built up areas. 

In 2000, the first ‘Climate Justice Summit’ took place. This summit was coordinated by the Rising Tide Network, an international network of groups and individuals who take direct action to confront the root causes of climate change.

This summit aimed to combat the COP6 (United Nations Climate Change Conference) discussions. Many people believed that the agenda and priorities discussed at the COP6 were not only being discussed by under-qualified people, but also failed to adequately highlight and deal with important and relevant climate issues.

This summit aimed to “affirm that climate change is a rights issue” and to “build alliances across states and borders” against climate change and in favour of sustainable development.

According to the UN, “climate justice insists on a shift from a discourse on greenhouse gases and melting ice caps into a civil rights movement with the people and communities most vulnerable to climate impacts at its heart.”

What are climate ethics?

Climate ethics focus on the ethical principles with regard to climate change. Ethics can be defined as the moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity. Climate ethics overlap with climate justice, since both concepts aim to fight for justice against those who damage or contribute to large scale environmental damage.

Many people believe that environmental issues are not taken (and tackled) seriously enough. Questions based on what is right and wrong with regard to the environment are consequently raised by climate justice groups. There are numerous organisations who have embraced climate ethics and help to raise awareness for the lack of climate action being taken by world leaders. 

There are many moral issues related to climate justice and ethics. These issues are often aimed at politicians with conservative views (i.e. not prioritising climate change at the forefront of their political policies). Those with corporate interests are also culprits for climate criticism.

What is climate equity?

Climate equity aims to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to benefit from climate solutions (i.e. solutions to climate related health issues), and therefore not subjected to unequal and unfair climate impacts.

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