Welcome to #ClimateJusticeThursday on CleanbuildVoices!
If there is one thing climate change has exposed, it is the gap in resources, development paths, and emissions contributions between rich and poor communities.
In today’s edition of #ClimateJusticeThursday, we are advocating for climate justice on behalf of people who have been disproportionately affected by climate-related disasters.
This injustice is mostly felt in rural communities which, despite contributing less to the growing climate crisis, are often the most impacted. To most of these people, climate change goes beyond environmental problems.
It is food insecurity, drought, diseases, displacement, and vulnerability. It challenges their rights and the essence of living. Coupled with the harsh environmental changes, rural communities also have to deal with fossil fuel extraction industries that indiscriminately drill oil and mine coal, polluting their air and water sources.
It is for this reason that we will be exploring ways to promote climate justice in rural communities so that they know what steps to take in ensuring a safe space for themselves now and in the future. Climate justice includes the following activities:
Involve them in climate conversations
We acknowledge that rural communities are the most impacted but they are rarely ever involved in climate conversations.
Even in the just concluded COP26 conference, only a fraction of affected communities were represented (we’re not talking about the national level representation here!).
Indigenous people need to be involved in the conversational and decision-making process. This will ensure that discussions and decisions are diverse and increase climate interest and effectiveness.
Community conversations and deep listening will build trust around climate equity in these communities and make way for lasting policy changes.
It could be town hall meetings where they are allowed to express their concerns or call-in conversations on radio where they can point out affected areas. There must be room for them to say where it hurts them the most.
Be their ally
We mostly blame these rural communities for emissions and a whole lot of other climate change-inducing activities forgetting that they aren’t the cause most times.
Help these communities call out the industries that are polluting the environment and demand that they repair the damages. Not only that, ensure they follow through with action.
Nothing stops these industries from collaborating with and having conversations with these communities in order to reach a consensus.
Finally, deep-rooted education on climate rights combined with resident-led organizing in rural communities can catalyze advocacy and augment environmental justice efforts in rural communities.
Watch this space as we’ll be back for another edition of our #ClimateJusticeThursday next week.