Climate Justice – Our Only Savior!

Humanity has fallen into a deep contradiction. Adamantly self-proclaimed and
proven to be the smartest species to ever exist, the founders of literature, art,
history, science, mathematics and technology is endangering its own survival.
We have conjured it all from the depths of our minds and made it into the
Anthropocene but for how much longer can we sustain our endeavors – and
ensure our survival?

“Economy beat sentiment and benevolence.”

We won but at what cost?

Homo sapiens, essentially hairless chimpanzees, have created societies that have dominated
the world with nothing but cattle, stones and ink. We have forged the grandest legacy of
civilization beyond evolution’s wildest imagination and perhaps the greatest of them all, was
religion, which over time, transitioned into philosophy, which transitioned into ethics. Our
history is admittedly great but has always and will always come at a cost. Over the years
different peoples and places have had to pay these costs, whether it being serfs during the
feudal system in Europe or the slaves in Egypt. A part of our society has had to suffer for
others to prosper, and it has always been unethical. Now, we have a new victim of our
creations, the environment. Earth’s destruction caused by human activity. The difference
now is that it is not able to protest, rebel or start a revolution, its response is to inaugurate its
own end.

Why ethics?

You might be asking yourself what ethics is and what it has to do with the state of the climate? Well, ethics is, by definition, moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity.  It is arguably the most significant of all human pursuits and teachings. Moreover, ethics applied to economics and geopolitics paved the way for something called climate justice. Climate justice is, by definition, a concept that addresses the ethical dimensions of climate change combining something seemingly recent with something tremendously fundamental. Truth is that the current climate crisis was caused by and is maintained by negligence from politicians, firms, corporations and multinational companies, governed by profit driven entrepreneurs. An issue arises since profit as an incentive is used to excuse and justify exploitation and depletion of laborers and their resources in the name of “economic growth”, the one that can lead to catastrophic consequences for the environment. However, the companies cannot take full responsibility for the side-effects of over-consumption. Every politician elected demands the reputation of the contribution of national capital, companies demand higher numbers than competing corporations, we demand higher living standards. Where there is demand, there will be supply. 

Photo by Tarif Khalidi

What now?

When a virus enters the human body, it alerts our immune system to increase the body temperature in order to make its residing in the body continuously distressing to the degree that in the end the virus meets its demise. Some people say that this is what the planet is doing to us, but we still have time to avoid meeting its demise. Thus, it is crucial that we stop global warming, deforestation, rising of the sea levels, natural catastrophes, logging, overgrazing, overfishing, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, etcetera. In regards to economics, there is a recognition that resources are finite, but human wants are infinite and therefore, producers will produce and consumers will consume. Even economists recognized this as a problem and as a consequence some new concepts were enforced. Today we have, sustainable development which entails meeting the needs of current generations without sacrificing the needs of future generations and a concept of green GDP (gross domestic product) which is GDP minus the environmental cost of production. Sadly, instead of the improvement of a dire situation, these new concepts only led to corporations partaking in greenwashing, indoctrination and further negligence. 

Photo by Mary Robinson Foundation

And then what?

We need to allow for climate justice encompassing sustainable development and overall diligence for the environment. Climate change is historically documented, scientifically proven, seen and experienced. There was a time before climate change, as seen in different civilizations, where land was respected, nurtured and worshiped for supplying our means of survival. How come that humanity lost those values?  Politicians need to listen to the youth, corporations need to see long term benefits in renewable sources. They need to realize that the trends will change and that the masses now factor sustainability into their consumption. Social media has formed a platform for injustices to come to light– and little by little, it is becoming harder to ignore our moral obligations to be just. Climate justice has its roots in ancient moral philosophy and yet, when it is practiced it has the potential to solve the immense problems including the one of climate change. Moreover, morality, tolerance and benevolence are the solution to a wide range of societal problems that we face nowadays. We need to be led by and lead with humanity.  It is what we owe to each other. It is what could save us! 

“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance”

Socrates

Written by Mogendi Magala, Lund, Sweden

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