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Issue 1754
The student newspaper of Imperial College London

Keep the Cat Free

Why is climate change a social justice issue?

1754 0044


in Issue 1754

This topic isn’t news to anyone interested in worldwide justice issues, but this question seems to get on the nerves of climate change deniers, so I feel like we should address it.

When we conceptualise the climate crisis in the Global North, we primarily see the effects of climate change as environmental. Still, since we, the people, and the environment are inextricably connected, the impacts of climate change are also social and economic. More frequent extreme weather events and climate changes affect the local agricultural production, safe water access, productivity, and end up forcing people to migrate to other regions and sometimes other countries.

The consequences of climate change, such as flooding, rising sea level, drought and increased temperature, are disproportionately affecting low-income countries and poor people in high-income countries. People who can move away from at-risk areas are already moving, but those who cannot afford too are left but eventually are forced to move and can be put into an unstable living situation. By the end of the century, we expect that more than 180 million people will be displaced due to climate change.

Furthermore, the climate crisis will disproportionately affect people of colour, as more people of colour live in areas vulnerable to environmental degradation (as a result of climate change). This is in addition to the effects of environmental racism from polluting systems and corporations.

So, what can we do? We can reject this destruction of the planet as the norm. The status quo serves to displace people and creates significant uncertainties already in countries in the Global South. We in the Global North haven’t felt the same level of effects as the south, but we continue to uphold the systems of oppression that create the problems. Support climate justice now by joining your local community action group. No movement or community network is too small.

Some examples of climate actions that you can take are: Switching to renewable energy, improving the energy efficiency of your house, swap to a climate- friendly bank, eating a plant-rich diet and reducing food waste.

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