Climate Justice Cannot Wait
When 15-year-old Greta Thunberg addressed world leaders at the COP24 in December 2018, she bravely and unapologetically voiced what so many of us are thinking: That our planet and our future are being sacrificed for the opportunity of a few individuals to make a profit. That many are suffering to allow a small minority to live in luxury.
That today’s lack of climate action stems from political cowardice and the inconvenience of imposing potentially unpopular policies. That we lack policies to challenge the current neo-liberal corporate status quo. That the poorest, most marginalised, and most vulnerable will continue to suffer from climate change’s adverse impacts. That future generations will be further burdened by our ongoing inertia and apathy.
That climate injustice is alive and thriving, despite the urgency of our environmental crisis.
And let’s face it: ‘crisis’ is actually becoming a euphemism. We, as a species, as co-habitants of this planet, as ‘stewards’ of this Earth, are sleepwalking into widespread and irreversible ecological catastrophe. We are essentially racing ourselves to extinction, decimating millions of other beings in the process. It is now widely accepted (and for the climate-sceptics out there:scientifically proven) that climate change is and will continue to wreak havoc–whether it is through extreme weather events, man-made environmental disasters, climate-induced migration, major biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, or water and food crises.
In January 2019, the World Economic Forum released its 2019 ‘Global Risks Reports’ and, not surprisingly, for the third year in a row, environmental threats dominated the risk list, both in terms of their potential impact and likelihood.
Sadly, not everyone can withstand these threats. The capacity to adapt to and even survive climate change is far from universal. The ramifications of climate change are not equally distributed. Climate injustice permeates our societies and economies, operating globally, regionally, and locally across our institutions and industries, with quasi-impunity. Those who are socially, economically, politically, institutionally or otherwise marginalized are impacted the most, yet have a limited ability to manage climate change’s impacts due to their diminished circumstances. And when some people have access to resources that help them escape the reality of the situation while others do not, climate change becomes more than a climate justice issue. It evolves into a social justice concern.
At RHI, social justice is the cornerstone of our values and work. As social justice champions, we feel it is our duty to advocate for climate justice, which is why we have declared that 2019 is the year for our firm to focus more fully on climate justice.
Young Greta Thunberg reminded us that you are never too small to make a difference, and that it is never too late to take meaningful action. Launching in Sweden the first-ever student strike for climate, she inspired more than 20,000 students to do the same in more than 270 cities around the world. And she is inspiring us to truly embrace our year of climate justice.
This is the year where we, as individuals and as a firm, educate ourselves more fully about climate justice. This is the year where we reduce our plastic and paper usage, encouraging our clients to follow in our ‘carbon-neutral’ footsteps. And as always, our clients themselves inspire us! We are proud to list YES! Magazine, a non-profit journalism organisation that brilliantly covers the linkages between justice, poverty, and climate change, as one of our recent clients. 2019 is the year we collaborate with more such organisations that advocate for climate justice and encourage environmental action.
“Pretty much all the honest truth telling there is in the world is done by children,” said author and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes. And Greta truthfully proclaimed that change is coming. We aim to be part of this change. We hope to inspire people, people like you, and we invite you to join us in committing to an eco-goal this year, in honour of climate justice.
Vice President of Strategy