What is it about?
Humans cause climate change. This is an issue that has become a part of everyday life in some way or another on both a local and a global scale. We see the climatic impacts in other countries on the news; we hear about how we must choose plastic-free options and reduce our meat consumption, and we read about the ‘code red for humanity’ warning issued by the IPCC to bring climate change to the centre of our attention1.
‘Humans cause climate change’ is a well-versed statement that encapsulates us all. Yet, the effects of climate change are not equal. It has become clear that countries and communities least responsible for climate change are the ones most affected by it, and are often the most vulnerable to these climatic impacts. This is why we need climate justice. It poses questions that ask who is responsible for climate change, who needs to do what, and why?
It is not all doom and gloom though. We just need to shift how we view and think about climate change in order to take steps towards successful climate justice and encourage more pro-environmental behaviour.
Primarily, we need to disaggregate who in the ‘Global South’ is being affected by climate change because using one overarching category is homogenising, dehumanising and can neglect vulnerable communities2. More importantly, this ties in with the UN’s commitment to ‘Leave No One Behind’ where disaggregation of data underpins their approaches to alleviating poverty through identifying the vulnerable in a multidimensional way3. This includes identifying environmental vulnerability, such as from climate change impacts and consequently climate justice.
It is also important to understand how climate change exacerbates existing oppressions2. Women account for 80% of those displaced by climate change2 due to their different socio-cultural norms increasing their vulnerability4. For example, women’s traditional homemaker and caregiver responsibilities mean that their role in caring for children, the elderly and the disabled likely results in them putting others’ well-being above their own, increasing their own vulnerability during a disaster or crisis 4,5. This returns to the idea that although climate change is a universal issue, it has significantly unequal gendered impacts between countries and within countries.
Importantly, more focus needs to be placed upon solidarity and hopefully messages to inspire and motivate collective and individual action2. It is evident that people hold intrinsic values towards the environment whereby they value nature for its own sake, not just for the benefits and resources they can reap from it6. With greater emphasis on recognising how much people do care and the hopeful stories that emerge, this will encourage others to take more action themselves2.
It is now time to reframe how we see climate change. We shall bring forward the hopeful stories and solidarity narrative to collectively and successfully Frame Climate Justice.
Join the discussion: for further information on how to effectively communicate climate justice, learn from the ‘Framing Climate Justice’ team themselves.
Written by Isabel Cadec
- Enarson, E. (2002). Crisis, Women and Other Gender Concerns. InFocus Programme on Crisis Response and Reconstruction, 7, 5-12.