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Advocating for Climate Justice 

16 Maart 2012 07:49:57

Advocating for Climate Justice


Anusha Sherazi


Climate Justice is generally used as a term for viewing climate change as an ethical issue and considering how its causes and effects relate to concepts of justice, particularly social justice and environmental justice. For examining issues such as equality, human rights, collective rights and historical responsibility in relation to climate change, climate justice is one such topic which needs extensive comprehension. Climate Change has hit various regions of the world at alarming rates. This injustice to the fragile ecosystem of the mother earth is not tolerable.

Climate change has already imparted those unequal burdens which need to be alleviated and dissolved. The execution of climate justice like that of environmental justice may involve fair treatment of all people and freedom from discrimination with initiation of policies and projects that address climate change and the systems that create climate change and perpetuate discrimination.

The human rights involve climate change as one major issue which needs immediate attention. Mostly, the causes of the climate change are evolved at the countries which are more developed and more industrialized. While the most affected are least responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions that cause the problem. The climate impacts are more eminent with the countries which are relatively poor, and developing, and do not have the capacity to adapt and mitigate the climate change events; including floods, droughts, cyclones and famines. With rising temperatures, human lives– particularly in people of color, low-income, and indigenous communities– are affected by compromised health, financial burdens, and social and cultural disruptions.

Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable regions of the world which has been hit hard by the climate change impacts. The most tragic of these events are the recent floods of 2010. In 2010, Pakistan battled the worst disaster to hit the country with an estimated 20 million people driven from their homes, left without clean water, without food or without livelihoods. Similarly, there are several other events which are responsible for devastating the normal life in the developing world. Some of them include floods and mudslides in Indonesia, typhoons in the Philippines and drought in Southeast Asia. These disasters had the most noticeable impacts and devastating effects on rural and indigenous communities in Asia and the Pacific.

Climate justice organizers are working strategically at the centers of injustice, in cities and communities across the globe. Climate injustice affects communities both locally and globally. As a movement, climate justice advocates are working from the grassroots up to create solutions to our climate and energy problems that ensure the right of all people to live, work, play, and pray in safe, healthy, and clean environments. We envision a just transition to a future free from fossil fuels that protects the most vulnerable from the impacts of climate change.

To gain a voice in policy debates over climate it is important that rural and indigenous communities of Pakistan document their own practices and experiences and become the authors of their own research. Community lead participatory research promotes democratic participation of local population in policy making around development at local, national, regional and international levels.

To equip our rural and indigenous members to have a voice in local and international policy making around global warming, a two pronged approach should be adopted through climate justice. First is to work with rural and indigenous inhabitants to document their own practices ensuring they become the voices of their community. Second is to find advocacy spaces at national, regional and international level to ensure rural and indigenous populations get heard.

(The writer is the Climate Change Analyst of Infochange News and Features Network (INFN) and can be reached at +001 647 629 6355 and Email: anushasherazi@yahoo.com)

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