RACIAL JUSTICE IS CLIMATE JUSTICE
Few people see the connection between climate justice and racial justice, but one cannot exist without the other. Before there is a successful transition to a decarbonized society, we must address systemic racism.
Through the lens of climate justice, climate change is an ethical/political issue which accepts that those least responsible for climate change suffer its gravest consequences. Low income communities and communities of color suffer disproportionately. Black and brown neighborhoods often lack transportation options, tree canopy, and open spaces that help negotiate the hardships of climate change. Race is a prime indicator for the placement of toxic facilities.
Changes in agriculture, threats to livelihoods, and conflicts over land, water, and other resources are multiplying exponentially due to extreme climate events. The resulting social, psychological, and physical distress contribute to the tenuous situation we find in our streets today. Before real progress towards equity and the protection of human rights can be achieved, we must face the challenges on multiple fronts simultaneously.
BRIGHT IDEA: Use Smart Energy & Promote Fair Practices
An entrenched complex of political and corporate power is an obstacle to dismantling fossil fuel empires which have pillaged planetary resources by perpetrating colonialism and expropriation at the expense of indigenous people and minorities.
Racism is a political wedge that divides the electorate, enabling the elite to hold onto power:
It facilitates the exploitation of a class of underpaid labor. And it imposes an economic burden on people of color that inhibits their ability to take action for social change. Also, it stands in the way of bringing about a society centered on basic human dignity and environmental stewardship rather than maximizing economic growth and corporate profit.Commentary by Frederick Hewitt on WBUR
What can we do to address the wider ecological, social, and political emergency we face? For starters…
- Recognize the injustices that have occurred and initiate reparations.
- Shift the economic focus from endless growth to sufficiency.
- Push the government to enact legally binding policies to reduce carbon emissions and consumption levels.
- Stop funding and promoting of fossil fuels.
- Put 100% renewable energy systems into the hands of communities.
- Ensure a just transition for workers.
- Create citizen assemblies to oversee the changes so that everyone has a voice in a democracy fit for purpose.
Racism and climate change demand that we reconsider the social and economic legacies of our past.
Bright Ideas is brought to you by Portland Climate Action Team which, during the pandemic, meets online on the 4th Thursday of the month, 6-7:30 PM. All are welcome to join in. FMI: firstname.lastname@example.org.