On Friday we had a group interview with a sociology professor from the University of California-Santa Barbara. It was a lot of fun - we would be asked a question and then each member of our group answered it. It was really cool to hear what everyone's thoughts were on the last day of the Conference and what we had all gathered and had to say about the previous two weeks. One of these questions that really made me think was what we thought about the justice aspect of climate change.
When I hear climate change my first thought is the environment, not necessarily humanity, but unfortunately the environment isn't the only thing in danger. We need to realize the harm that climate change causes humans and find a just solution. Climate change affects everyone in the world but to different degrees and in different ways. For example in the US, an increase in global temperatures could lead to more extreme weather events like hurricanes and tornadoes, which means we would potentially have more casualties and have to spend money to repair and rebuild. However in a place like Bangladesh, a 2 degree Celsius atmospheric temperature rise could result in a 3 foot sea level rise which would overtake up to 50% of their land. Not only would they lose a lot of land but there would likely be an increase in already frequent typhoons. This is a serious problem for any country but especially for Bangladesh and smaller, less developed countries because they lack the financing and resources to combat the issue. This isn’t the only case where a slight change could result in tragedy. Similar outcomes are likely all over the world, especially in less developed countries. Unless the developed countries make an effort to do something about it, these countries have no choice but to sit and watch as their land, homes, and countries are dramatically impacted by climate change.
The worst part is that their contribution to climate change, their carbon footprint, is minimal compared to developed countries. When one looks at the US, with such a good justice system, it is hard to understand how millions of people can just overlook the injustice behind what we are doing. Climate change is truly a matter of justice and we have the opportunity and the ability to provide justice worldwide. It’s just a matter of whether or not we take action.