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Climate Justice: A Basic Introduction

Climate change can influence anyone’s daily life in countless ways. However, not all climate impacts are created or distributed equally. From extreme weather to rising sea levels, the effects of climate change often have different and unfair effects on marginalized or underserved communities.

“Climate justice” is more than a term used to frame global warming as an ethical and political issue. It is also a movement that acknowledges that climate change can have differing social, economic, public health, and other hostile impacts on underprivileged populations. Disadvantaged groups will continuously be burdened as climate change persists due to inequalities that arise, such as gender, race, ethnicity, age, and income inequalities.

Underprivileged groups are least responsible for causing climate change but are the ones who have to tolerate the impacts of the errors that we have created. If we do not fix our errors immediately as one global community, then those impacts will continue to worsen, and as a result, many lives will be at stake.

Some causes of Climate Injustice:

  • Changing weather patterns → leads to poor agricultural performance which can cause food insecurity .

  • Rising CO2 levels → has direct effects on the decreasing level of nutrients in food crops (rice, wheat, soy, and corn).

  • Extreme weather related disasters → reduce the yields of major crops, increase in food price, income losses.

Who is more affected by climate injustice?

  1. Developing countries

  2. Indigenous tribes

  3. Farmers

  4. Herders

  5. Fishers

  6. Families living in poverty

They all rely mostly on the climate and natural resources for food and income.

Can We Do Something About it?

Yes of course! You don’t need to be an environmental activist or advocate to contribute to climate justice! Fret not, here are some ways you can do to make a change!

  • Recognize the victims of climate change

To start, you need to know who are the victims of climate change. Do some background research before doing anything else. Google is only one click away!

  • Know what you are buying

Next step! You need to know what you are buying. Are you supporting companies that extract their materials illegally? What are their agreements with the government concerning the extraction of the materials? If the company’s ethics and actions go against your belief, choose products that are created more equitably and sustainably!

  • Think wisely when choosing your food

You are what you eat! This saying can be applied when it comes to climate injustice. Why? The food that you eat might be the product of destructive farming that uses pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, and genetic engineering! Over consuming food in many countries can lead to deforestation in the Global South, which contributes greatly to climate change. Reflect and think about what you eat in a day. Are you helping or harming the lives of communities in the Global South?

  • Travel smart

What transportation do you mainly use on a daily basis? Car? Motorcycle? Public transport? As we all may know, the increase of CO2 emissions puts pressure on our lands and food production. This can greatly affect countries that rely mostly on food crops. The next time you hop on that motorcycle for a ride home, kindly ask yourself if you are making the right decision or not. Why not go on foot for a change?

  • Educate yourself and others!

We need to decrease the use of our reserves of coal, oil, and natural gas to prevent catastrophic climate change to occur. This means that we need to do our utmost best to speak up and educate those who are unaware of its effect. Every voice counts!

  • Say yes to new habits and support organizations fighting for climate justice!

Last but certainly not least! In the era we are living in right now, there are so many organizations and campaigns that try their best to end climate injustice! With the ever-growing development of technology, you can easily find them! The solutions are all right in front of your plate- it is your choice to acknowledge it or not.

Did You Know That Food Can Play A Role In Climate Justice?

Fact #1

The food system makes up about 30% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, to which animal-based food covers a large portion of it!

Fact #2

With more people switching to a healthier diet, it can help developing countries that depend on agriculture as a source of income as they will produce a more economically sustainable form of production (e.g. legumes)

Fact #3

Switching to a healthy diet will not only benefit you but also the health care system and the environment as they are directly proportional! Health care costs may significantly decrease as well as greenhouse gasses if only we start a healthy diet!

Some Tips on how to eat responsibly!

  • Eat your greens

The livestock industry alone is responsible for 15% of greenhouse gas emissions. Meat consumption increases each year. To compensate for this, we need to start prioritizing plants and reduce our intake of animal products. 

  • Diversify your diet

More than half of the world's food supply percentage derives from 12 pants and 5 animal species. A lack of diversity in our diets can lead to a severe threat to nature and food security.

  • Don’t waste your food!

Food waste can lead to serious consequences for the environment as it accounts for the loss of 1.3 billion tons of food that causes economic losses and needless hunger.

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