Climate Justice

The climate has been changing ever since the Earth was formed, so what is the hype around ‘climate change’? To understand this, we need to first realise that while change is constant, the rate of change is not. Ever since the dawn of the industrial revolution, this rate of change has been accelerating and over the last couple of decades we have seen an exponential increase in the rate at which our climate has been changing. To understand this clearly, let us review our past.

The industrial revolution was a boon to mankind. It heralded an increase in production of goods that was unseen in the history of our species. This was all because of the shift from man power to coal power and then to steam power. With this increase in production of goods came an increased demand for the raw materials needed to make these goods.

The increase in demand of raw material to always keep the factory machines working only ever grew as the years went by and continue to do so even till today. On one hand, these materials or resources are extracted from Earth at a never-ending rate and on the other hand the factories burn fossil fuels, releasing toxins into the air, water and soil just to keep on producing the goods from the resources. And today, they have eventually made the consumers hooked on to ‘Shopping’ only to sell their produce while they produce more of it.

This continuous demand for resources has led to over mining, deforestation and the release of toxins into the air and water and is contributing to increased carbon levels in the atmosphere thereby increasing the global temperature. The effects of climate change is now seen everywhere. The melting glaciers, rising sea levels, erratic changes in weather patterns are slowly making themselves visible everywhere.

But who are suffering from this?

The common man and innocent animals! The ones who have done nothing much to impact the climate at such a large scale. In Fact the people who are working in harmony with the environment are the ones hit by the climate change first!

The only Carbon-negative country, Bhutan, has a rule to keep 60% of their country's land forested, and will still be adversely affected by climate change as the glaciers around them are melting rapidly, flooding rivers and streams with gallons worth of ice cold water, posing a risk to human and animal life alike. Another harsher reality is that while communities everywhere will be affected by climate change’s impacts, those in impoverished, developing nations will be hit the hardest.

While we usually measure the level of devastation by looking at how we humans are affected, we need to remember that we share our planet with other species as well. Species who are paying the price for our irresponsible consumption habits. The recent wildfires in Australia which almost pushed the Koala bear to extinction, devastated ecosystems and also affected human lives, is sadly not the first of its kind.

So is this justice? Is it justice that the one who suffer from the ill effects of climate change are those who did not bring us this point? Is it justice that our kids will have to live in a harsher environment than they did but did not contribute to its degradation at all? Is it justice that species afgter species are falling prey to the indirect effects of climate change?

Short Answer - Its not..

But right now we have passed the time when we can afford to make allowances and play the blame game. Now's the time for action. Now's the time for change. After all, It's just all our future that's at stake.

Prakriti Bagdi

Programme Assistant