What is Climate and Ecological Justice?

Activists and communities in the Global South have long championed the principles of climate and ecological justice when it comes to writing and implementing climate policy.

A wealthy minority of the world’s countries, corporations and people are the principal cause of climate change and biodiversity loss.

Carbon Emissions by Wealth Level
Carbon Emissions by Wealth Level

Climate and ecological justice movements therefore demand that rich industrialised countries now acknowledge their role in the emergency and their own moral responsibility to radically cut global emissions and extractive impacts on the natural world.

In doing so, countries in the Minority World must look again at the principles of reparative justice and climate/ecological debt and to properly address unsustainable production and consumption patterns. Climate and ecological justice is designed to redress and to acknowledge the systems of power and oppression that are, in no small part, responsible for the emergency. It demands that policy can – and must – be shaped by the principles of equality, freedom, and human rights for all people across the world.

In doing so, we need to reform and extend our broken democracy. We must affirm the rights of ordinary people. We must raise the voices of marginalised groups and the historically oppressed. We must recognise the systems of capital and control that oppress and enslave people all across the world and understand that the destruction of our natural world is not an isolated crisis. We need to empower ordinary people to organise, to act, and to educate themselves. We need to find the solutions together.

Mohamed Nasheed, the former President of the Maldives, writes in This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook: “when we can march through the streets, hand in hand with the miners and the rig workers in a protest for climate action, then we will have unlocked the politics for transformative change”.

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