CW: This article discusses climate change which some readers may find distressing.
Social justice is fairness in society.
According to The United Nations:
'Social justice may be broadly understood as the fair and compassionate distribution of the fruits of economic growth'.
It is the view that everyone;
“deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities”.
As humans we should all have the same rights and opportunities. We should all be equal.
Unfortunately, we currently have recognised social justice issues across the globe.
Some of the recognised social justice issues are;
All these issues affect us globally and must be combatted.
But first we must tackle Climate change before it is too late.
Climate change is the change we see globally in weather patterns.
“Climate change is the long-term alteration of temperature and typical weather patterns”.
It is apparent worldwide that the climate is drastically changing, and climate change is an issue. It is a major issue that affects us all globally.
We must act now before it is too late, and the planet is uninhabitable.
How the climate is changing
There’s major evidence globally that the climate is changing rapidly at an alarming rate.
It is having a major impact worldwide. The earth’s temperature is rising, the ocean is warming, the ice is melting, the sea level is drastically rising, and extreme weather events are increasing rapidly.
According to NASA:
"The evidence for rapid climate change is compelling”.
NASA presents a wide range of evidence that the climate is changing:
‘Global temperature rise- The planet's average surface temperature has risen about 2 degrees since the 19th century,
Warming Ocean- Warming of more than 0.6 degrees since 1969.
Shrinking Ice sheets- NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment show Greenland lost an average of 279 billion tons of ice per year between 1993 and 2019, while Antarctica lost about 148 billion tons of ice per year.
Glacial retreat- Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska, and Africa.’
Decreased snow cover- Satellite observations reveal that the amount of spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased over the past five decades and the snow is melting earlier.
Sea level rise- Global Sea level rose 8 inches in the last century, accelerating slightly every year.
Declining Arctic Sea Ice- Both the extent and thickness of Arctic Sea ice has declined rapidly over the last several decades.
The climate has changed drastically over a very short space of time. It is certainly worrying. So much has happened in a decade, which makes you wonder what will happen in the next decade? Unless we act now and try to tackle climate change, the climate will continue to drastically change.
No good will come from a rapid changing climate.
“It presents the gravest threat to life on Earth.”
Climate change is a social justice issue
Climate change affects us all, so you may wonder how it is a social justice issue.
It is a massive social justice issue because certain groups will be more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
“Millions of vulnerable people face disproportionate challenges in terms of extreme events, health effects, food security, livelihood security, water security and cultural identity”.
Vulnerable people will feel a larger and worse impact compared to the least vulnerable due to the challenges they face. This is simply unfair. It is social injustice. We must tackle climate change to protect vulnerable people.
Certain groups of people are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
“Social vulnerability comes about through the interaction of a number of personal, environmental and social factors”.
Vulnerability can be determined by a mix of factors.
Some of the factors are economic, environmental, health and housing.
Some of the most vulnerable are:
Young children- vulnerable to health risks due to extreme temperature, e.g. extreme heat can cause heat stress.
The Elderly- vulnerable to health risks due to extreme temperatures.
People living in poverty- vulnerable to health risks due to extreme weather. People in poverty will be unable to repair damaged housing and may be left homeless.
Low-income households- affected economically. Unable to prepare for extreme weather events, unable to repair housing if damaged, unable to afford food if prices rise due to climate change.
These are not the only vulnerable at risk. There's are many more vulnerable groups at risk and we must protect them. We must protect each other.
It is unfair that numerous groups are still more at risk of the effects caused by Climate change. It is a social injustice. To fight this social injustice, we must strive for Climate justice.
Climate justice is about recognising the struggles of the vulnerable and fighting for solutions for them, and for solutions to help tackle climate change, which will help make a fairer and more just society.
"being radically inclusive of all groups of people, so that everyone has access to clean air, food and water.
To achieve Climate justice, we must all take steps to help tackle Climate change.
We must act now.
Steps you can take to help tackle climate change
Climate change will continue to impact the globe, worsening social injustice.
That is why we must act now and take steps to help tackle climate change.
Some of the steps we can take:
Reduce plastic use.
Reduce your carbon footprint.
Keep talking- encourage others to take part in reducing their carbon footprint.
Reduce food waste- don't buy unnecessary food.
Cycle and walk where you can- this cuts down on carbon emissions.
Car share/ use public transport more- this helps cut carbon emissions.
Cut down on your consumption of animal products e.g., meat.
By Gemma Woolston