There is a tendency in the public debate on climate change to present the use and development of green technologies as a miracle solution or panacea. We often forget one aspect: it is crucial to ensure that their development goes hand in hand with social justice. “The realization that it is not just global warming that we are dealing with, but global warming in an unequal and unjust world, has yet to sink in,” according to Thiagarajan Jayaraman. Without equality and equity – in other words, without peace and security – we cannot effectively fight climate change, the Indian climate policy expert insists.Thiagarajan Jayaraman, interviewed by Shiraz Sidhva https://en.unesco.org/courier/2019-3/climate-and-social-justice
“Generally the people most affected by climate change tend to be the poor, older adults, children and families, and people with a history of mental health problems — populations that are typically the focus of social work practice.”Lawrence Palinkas, the Albert G. and Frances Lomas Feldman Professor of Social Policy and Health at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work https://news.usc.edu/115889/understanding-climate-change-as-a-social-issue-how-research-can-help/
The unconscionable examples of racism over the last weeks and months come as America’s communities of color have been hit hardest by the coronavirus and catastrophic job losses. This is a perfect storm hitting black Americans.https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/04/george-floyd-protests-riots-rebellion
Let’s just speak of America, although climate justice, like Covid-19, is a global issue.
Black and brown people were disproportionately on the front lines of “essential workers” before white people felt safe enough to venture out. The stress of living while black in America, living disproportionately in food deserts without access to fresh food, having toxic businesses located near them because rich white people won’t allow those businesses in their own back yards, and having little or no access to decent and affordable health care make black and brown people more vulnerable to Covid-19.
Never mind the morality for a moment: Does it even make SENSE for these courageous, essential people to be treated as expendable? Aside from the immorality of it, how is it even LOGICAL? How can we be angry about the destruction of property in the face of the long-term destruction of black and brown health, rights, and life?
I’m no damn fun today. #SorryNotSorry.
A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: Imagine, if you’re white, what it must feel like to be an “essential worker” and not even be safe asleep in your own bed in your own house.