Intergenerational Climate Justice

Currently I’m reading “This changes everything” by Naomi Klein and let me tell you – it is an amazing book. The courses I have taken so far were mainly focused on the environmental consequences and causes of climate change. This book opens the perspective to think about the deeper roots. Our consumption. Capitalism. It challenges the values we have accepted to be true for so many decades. Endless growth is not possible with finite resources and a finite capacity of our earth to store carbon. Endless growth is not possible when it makes those most vulnerable suffer even more, when it undermines the social system. We do not only need to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies but we have to change our perspective on our energy consumption.

The issue of climate change is one of international justice, intergenerational justice. Developed countries have been able to grow through the use of fossil fuels. Developing countries are now facing the consequences of this behaviour, while also not having made the same development as industrialised countries yet. Which makes them even more vulnerable to the effects of global warming.

How will we explain to our children and grandchildren that we were busy saving the oil and coal industry because they so clearly reflect the great and noble values we stand for?

There is a way out of this whole dilemma. We need to find both a political, social, and economic solution.

If we spent less time and energy tearing each other down and instead focused on building each other up, we would be far better off. We need to not only think about the environment but about other people. Not as bodies, not as religions, not as races, not as parties, but as people. The central message of all religions is one of love and compassion. That’s what we are aiming for and capable of. Why don’t we start there? We need to address our common humanity. Climate change is a social issue before everything else. And until we accept this as true there will be no long-lasting sustainable change. We need to celebrate our identities, but we also need to celebrate our oneness. Our unity is our strength as a people.
We need to listen to marginalised voices to be able to include them in our picture of the world. We are more alike than we are different. Those who were excluded from the narrative were perceived as something very different. This enabled others to take advantage of those whose voices were never promoted. Who never had the power to speak out against the injustice. Now it the time to change that. Climate change gives us the opportunity and also the obligation to bring more equality to the world. When we shift our view away from the borders that separate us and instead to the cultures that connect us, we would be able to solve climate change and to avoid the devastating consequences it will have.

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