“Climate activism is essential in the fight for social justice”

Protesters join the Fridays For Future march on November 5, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images)

By: DAWN BUTLER, Labor MP for Brent Central

WHEN WORLD leaders gathered for COP26 in Glasgow, it reminded us of the sobering fact that we are currently in a climate emergency.

There is climate degradation and globally we need to do more – we need real action if we are to slow and correct the degradation of the climate.

Climate activism is vital in the fight for social justice on a global level. The climate crisis highlights the divisions between the West and the global South.

Although historically they contribute the least to climate change, it is the people of the southern hemisphere who suffer the most. Therefore, intersectional activism is so vital.

While I welcome the fact that the EU, US, China and India have pledged to achieve a net zero emissions target over the next few decades – the US and the EU by 2050, China by 2060 and India by 2070 – the truth is, we need to halve carbon emissions now if we are to keep global temperatures low. We don’t have time to delay the climate.

These net zero commitments are essential to ensure that countries in the South do not continue to feel the dramatic and devastating effects of climate change, as is the commitment to end deforestation by 2030.

Instead of empty promises from world leaders, we need to listen to those who will suffer most from climate degradation: young people. It cannot be just political ambition; it is vital for our survival. We need to watch for changes in insect behavior and become one with nature.

We need to pay more attention to the activism led by MAPA – representing the “most affected people and regions” around the world – and recognize that we are harming those around the world. We are all interconnected globally.

Edwin Moses Namakanga, 27, from Uganda; Maria Reyes, 19, from Puebla City, Mexico; Farzana Faruk Jhumu, 22, from Dhaka, Bangladesh; and Jakapita Faith Kandanga, 24 from Namibia – these young people live miles apart, but are all connected as they live on the front lines of the climate crisis.

They made almost impossible trips to Glasgow to influence COP26. It was complicated to get visas and develop laws on Covid-19 when the countries from which they were traveling did not offer vaccines to young people. But they were there.

dawn butler

Unlike their European comrades in the youth climate strike movement (also known as Fridays for Future), their knowledge of climate change does not
do not come from textbooks or social networks. It comes from their backyards, from their very real lived experiences. And that’s not a future concern – it’s
is happening right now. They do not have the privilege of blocking the roads because many of their roads have already been washed away.

In Bangladesh, climate change has resulted in cyclones and floods every year, which displace millions and kill thousands. Because of the floods, seawater has destroyed the soil, which means those whose livelihoods depend on the agricultural industry have no way of earning money. Climate degradation is the root cause of economic poverty.

In Uganda too, there is flooding. In 2020, the Kasese floods displaced hundreds of people and the prolonged draft in the north of the country resulted in poor harvests.

Due to climate change, people are forced to migrate and cannot meet their basic needs. The scarcity of water in Namibia means they are suffering from drought. As a country dependent on agriculture and agriculture, children have to drop out of school because their families can no longer afford to send them.

These are just a few stories. Poverty is a political decision – if global politicians have decided on an intersectional approach to ending poverty, it will happen. We can fight both against climate degradation and against poverty.

Climate change has not only killed people in the south of the planet, it is also responsible for the deaths of children in London. Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah died from pollution. Her mother, Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, founder of the Ella Roberta Family Foundation and World Health Organization activist for health and clean air, said: “The coroner’s inquest into the death of my daughter made it clear that all levels of government must work to get dirty. cars off the road, to protect human health. Children suffer the most from air pollution, as their lungs are still developing until they are 10 years old.

Workers in power care about the climate, as shown by actions taken by City Hall (London Mayor’s Office) to reduce carbon emissions.

However, the Conservative government is hypocritical. They make empty promises about climate ambitions but fail to act, resulting in further global injustice and irreversible climate damage.

The near absence of the climate crisis in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s budget was astounding. Halving taxes on domestic flights, rather than investing money in much cleaner rail infrastructure, was shocking. Only £ 1.5bn has been invested in public transport in the UK’s urban region, while the Green Marine estimates £ 7.6bn per year is needed. It is appalling.

This is not a game. How can we trust this government to act on the climate emergency when Prime Minister Boris Johnson flew a private jet back to London from Glasgow to go to dinner with a climate skeptic friend? And he plans to cut funding for London transport and has not invested in rail infrastructure in the north of England.

It’s time to unite in the UK and the world – climate activism is political activism. I especially hope that the young people will get involved. It’s time we started working together to protect our planet.

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