Blog 5: Solutions

The last blog… Climate change and the social inequality it brings about is a major issue in our world today. The solutions are out there and ideas are being conjured up, but it will for sure be a difficult process to accept and embrace. Many small scale projects are chipping away at the processes that are destroying our planet. This week I want to focus on one most of us are familiar with, the Leap Manifesto and possible solutions. The Leap Manifesto is a Canadian document that is calling to action radical restructuring of their economy as the use of fossil fuels comes to a close. Fossil fuels are a considerable greenhouse gas emitter and contribute to climate change in a noticeable amount. Extraction and processing of fossil fuels have disrupted the lives of many peoples while benefiting others in an unjust fashion. The release of the Leap Manifesto was during the time of a national election campaign and struck up a lot of discussion about its possibilities and future potentials.

With the Canadian election campaign focusing on the Leap Manifesto there is a large amount of media coverage on the issue and people’s ideas about it. The Canadian New Democratic Party (NDP) are the main supporters and are seriously debating and looking into the Leap Manifestos potential. An article in The Guardian stated, “If we act according to deep principles of justice, combatting climate change can simultaneously address many other problems: creating hundreds of thousands of good, clean jobs; implementing the land and treaty rights of Indigenous peoples; reducing racial and gender inequalities; welcoming far more refugees and migrants; and localizing agriculture so that people eat healthy” (NEWS) with regards to the acceptance of the manifesto and the NDP’s views. The manifesto was written by the people being impacted by climate change and recognize the social unjust that has come from it: labor unionists, migrant rights activists, feminists, indigenous leaders, environmentalists and many more isolated groups. A local Vancouver news article stated the implications with the Leap Manifesto in that it openly rejects pipelines which is an issue for the province of Alberta whose economy heavily relies on the use of pipelines. The article then points out the NDP’s defense for this struggle with the idea that, “A progressive reduction in our carbon footprint does not mean elimination of pipelines and fossil fuel production. It means we must develop them with lower emissions, water use and greater benefits for our population” (LOCAL NEWS). The attention the Leap Manifesto is getting on media sources and through political debates is important for spreading the awareness of solutions towards climate change and social inequality.

Naomi Klein is a social activist who also supports the Leap Manifesto and was one of the initiating signatories for the document release. Klein has done a lot of work with regards to climate change and social inequality including here book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate. In this book Klein discusses how we need to deal with a “savagely unjust economic system” which has been the sole mover of climate change. She suggests we need, “game-changing [policy battles] that don’t merely aim to change laws but change patterns of thought” and, “a space for a full-throated debate about values—about what we owe to one another based on our shared humanity, and what it is that we collectively value more than economic growth and corporate profits” (BOOK). It’s the idea of respect for lives and our planet, the ideology of stewardship and unselfishness that will bring about a solution. The paper Global Inequality and Climate Change by Roberts concludes with the idea that, “issues of equity will have to be dealt with at the same time as the environment” and that, “equity and ecology must be dealt with together” (REPORT). These ideas are the frameworks for altering the minds of the people in control towards halting climate change and social inequality. The presence of the issue and distribution of these ideas to a large scale audience whether through news sources, presidential elections, books, or manifestos is a major step towards a solution by which we begin to understand the planet we share together and the respect for all lives with an unselfish view, neglecting capitalism.

 

Works Cited

Klein, Naomi. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

“Leap Manifesto Dominates National NDP Convention | News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver’s News. Vancouver’s Talk.” Leap Manifesto Dominates National NDP Convention | News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver’s News. Vancouver’s Talk. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.

Lukacs, Martin. “The Leap Manifesto Opens Horizon for Bold New Politics in Canada | Martin Lukacs.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 15 Apr. 2016. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.

Roberts, J. Timmons. “Global Inequality and Climate Change.” Society & Natural Resources 14.6 (2001): 501-09. Web.

 

Blog 4: Indigenous People

Indigenous people are impacted by climate change to the point where in recent years many uprisings and rallies have occurred in attempts for change. These people are often overlooked due to their small population numbers and the land that is desired for which they live on and have rights to. One could insinuate that indigenous people are impacted heavily based on their dependence on the land around them, they live off the land and rely on its production for a livelihood. The fact that indigenous people’s rights for their land has become an issue in the last few decades shows that the land is changing and climate change is impacting our planet and its people who rely on it.

The book Climate Change and Indigenous People by Abate and Kronk discuss how and why climate change disproportionately burdens indigenous people. They first open up by sharing that a history of colonization and oppression is a major reason for lack of respect and increased vulnerability that indigenous peoples have, and that, “many indigenous communities also share unique legal and spiritual connections to their environment” (Abate and Kronk), which together results in depreciation for their environment impacting their traditional sustainable lives and rights. Environmental changes including: severe drought, higher temperatures, deforestation, vegetation loss, ice melt, and species loss; have all impacted indigenous people’s lives because they rely on the land for their livelihood. It is becoming more difficult for indigenous people to continue their traditional farming practice, carry a steady food supply, rely on the same diet, and many more losses in daily activities which are conglomerating to the point where indigenous people are being pushed to their limits unrightfully so.

Last December the UNFCCC came up with The Paris Agreement, which had a heavy focus on indigenous people’s rights when considering environmental projects and climate change. This all stemmed from indigenous people’s involvement in activities to fight for change, so the awareness was brought to the attention of the higher ups making the calls on this agreement. It was stated that, “Parties should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights, the right to health, (and) the rights of indigenous peoples” (United Nations). In the agreement it was also discussed that non-party stakeholders need to take into consideration indigenous people’s knowledge, technologies, practices and efforts when considering responding to climate change. This agreement is the right step into helping the indigenous people deserve and regain the rights that are theirs. Raising the awareness on a large scale like this will make it easier for indigenous people to remain indigenous and one with their land.

Awareness of these issues has been raised and action is settling in to hopefully begin taking place soon. In Indonesia specifically there is a pressure for the government to boost protection for indigenous people’s rights after 40 cases of violation had been identified and brought to their attention. The Dayak Benuaq indigenous people of Indonesia have been struggling since the 1970s to claim rights for their forests as they face the pressure of logging and mining operations which has inevitably, “Violated the Dayak Benuaq people’s rights to a healthy and safe environment, property ownership, cultural activities, education, traditional knowledge and a life free of fear” (Jakarta). These development issues have raised skepticism over the Presidents promise to protect indigenous peoples rights and has resulted in the urge to set up a task force to deal with indigenous issues.

In Latin America there has been illegal mining for gold which has resulted in abuse of human rights and destruction of the environment impacting its indigenous people. Many illegal miners are exploiting members of indigenous tribes and using them as slave style workers. This illegal gold rush in Latin America has led to major deforestation and produces 30 tons of waste mercury every year that is being released into the waterways poisoning fish and causing damage to humans. “Global Initiative, a network of prominent law enforcement, governance and development professionals” says corporations, “must adhere to the UN guiding principles on business and human rights and do a better job of mapping out supply chains and ensuring that gold is sourced responsibly and ethically” (The Guardian). These issues of indigenous people being impacted by environment degradation are happening all over our planet and awareness and government involvement is finally beginning to surface. These are the first steps necessary towards helping the indigenous people of regions around the world become recognized and being respected for what is theirs and their rights.

 

Works Cited

Abate, Randall, and Elizabeth Ann. Kronk. “Commonality among Unique Indigenous Communities: An Introduction to Climate Change and Its Impacts on Indigenous Peoples.” Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples: The Search for Legal Remedies. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2013. N. pag. Print.

Jones, Sam. “Illegal Gold Mining Drives Human Rights Abuses in Latin America, Claims Study.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 07 Apr. 2016. Web. 08 Apr. 2016.

“Pressure Grows on Indonesia to Tackle Indigenous Rights Abuses.” Jakarta. N.p., 28 Mar. 2016. Web. 08 Apr. 2016.

United Nations. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Adoption of the Paris Agreement. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

 

 

Blog 3: The Dandora dumpsite

The issue of climate change stems from many independent factors, one of which includes degradation of our planet. This week I want to focus on the environmental and land degradation that is occurring at the Dandora dumpsite in Nairobi Kenya. This dumpsite is not only impacting climate change but also the people in the area in many ways. Governing Global Desertification a book about land degradation and poverty discusses how, “land degradation usually has the greatest effects on the poorest, who depend on the land for their survival, and this can lead to a vicious downward spiral of poverty and land degradation” (Johnson et al). This is the case for these people in Nairobi living near the Dandora dumpsite.

Nairobi is a city of 4 million people and without an organized waste management plan all their trash goes into a 30 acre dumpsite on the outskirts of town near the slums. As you could imagine this excessive pileup of garbage, “has polluted the soil, water and air directly affecting more than 200,000 people in surrounding settlements” (Concern worldwide). The dumpsite has led to many health issues for those living in the area. There are large amounts of respiratory issues in the area, and an overwhelming number of people with high concentration levels of lead in their blood. Quite simply, “these poor communities, while contributing the least to the problem, are bearing the burden of an environmental catastrophe” (Concern worldwide). Overall the Dandora dumpsite is harming the health of those living nearby and this is an issue because they are the people who want the dump to stay.

The Dandora dumpsite has many legal troubles making it illegal to operate, but due to lack of waste management plans Nairobi has had no other option but to keep dumping the city’s waste. To the poor living in the surrounding area, this is great news because they are the ones who use it. Anywhere between 6,000 and 10,000 people scavenge the dump for recyclable items that they can sell to make a living off of. It’s a tricky situation because, “the mountains of garbage that sustain them are also endangering their lives and those of their children” (Pulitzer center). What is more important, removing the Dandora dumpsite to take care of the health and environmental issues at hand or keep the dumpsite so the poor can scavenge and make a living which they wouldn’t be able to do elsewise? Getting rid of Dandora would hurt the financial stability of many people who relied on the site for a livelihood including one scavenger, Tiger, who said, “They don’t recognize us as people. They don’t care what happens to us, and if they relocate this place, then we will have nothing” (Pulitzer center). What Tiger deserves to see is the Kenyan government initiate the clean-up of the dumpsite but also provide jobs for those who need them and are relying on the dump. With no waste management plan, the ideal solution would be to create one and employ these people in a waste management program and recycling center, and Nairobi is on their way towards initiating this.

According to a local newspaper from December 31, 2015 the Nation Youth Service (NYS) took control of the Dandora dumpsite and were subcontracted by City Hall at a cost of 5 million Kenyan Shillings (50,000 USD) to clear the dumpsite before the end of the season. The NYS plans to do this using youths from around the area who had once scavenged, only now they will be paid 500 Kenyan Shillings (5 USD) a day which is double what they made before (Nairobi news). This isn’t the ideal course of action for those 6,000 scavengers and there was no information on their thoughts in the newspaper but at least the government is tackling one of the issues.

This is an interesting subject to study because it isn’t what we are used to learning about in the case where the poor would prefer to improve their health and environment conditions by reducing land degradation. But here the poor are feeling like they need to risk their health in order to make a living picking through garbage. They were willing to sacrifice their environment and health in an attempt to survive. The solution still isn’t solved and there still remains a major issue with what is going on in Nairobi. What the city needs now is a program to develop and initiate jobs for those who were digging through trash a year ago living off just $2.50 a day. Jobs in the waste management sector should be considered first, as an attempt to start a recycling and waste program for the city of 4 million. Clearing the Dandora dumpsite is a major first step but there is still plenty more to be done to reduce the poverty which at the moment is growing.

 

Works Cited

“Https://www.concern.net/resources/trash-and-tragedy-nairobi-city.” Concern Worldwide. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2016.

Johnson, Pierre-Marc, Karel Mayrand, and Marc Paquin. Governing Global Desertification: Linking Environmental Degradation, Poverty and Participation. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006. Print.

“Kenya Poor Cling to Dump Site.” Pulitzer Center. N.p., 30 Apr. 2012. Web. 31 Mar. 2016.

“NYS Take over Dandora Dumpsite in Bid to Solve Garbage Crisis – Nairobi News.” Nairobi News. N.p., 31

 

 

Blog 2: Social Inequality and Climate Change

Following up with such terrific introductions is going to be hard for our class to produce, but I know we can do it! With that in mind I want to dive right into the issues that I will be focusing on for this blog series, which is climate change and social inequality. The word ‘Anthropocene’ has been floating around our heads the past few years and it is daunting to think an geological era can be named solely after the influence our own species has had on our planet. The issue as a whole is scary enough and we aren’t only impacting the earth but the social equality of our own. It is a disgrace that has been rooted in capitalism and negligence to our home.

A local South African newspaper article titled The Climate is Ripe for Social Change tells us how capitalism has been the main driver for the presence of climate change. Short-term profits, money, consumption, and ignorance of planetary limitations combine together into the capitalistic mindset which has been eroding our planet at a pace never before experienced. The article suggests that “addiction to growth” stemmed from capitalism, has eradicated the image that capital is the master of nature and has turned it into a commodity which we as humans are abusing. Capitalism has been the driver for so many events in recent history, but I don’t think the Anthropocene is one to be proud of.

An article from the ‘New York Times’ called The Inequality of Climate Change explains to us how climate change is going to impact the poorest people in the poorest regions. This is a direct result of these places having the, “least economic, institutional, scientific and technical capacity to cope and adapt” (The Inequality of Climate Change). This lack of ability to cope and adapt is bound to bring about future problems for these regions and it is an issue these regions want the richer nations to take responsibility for. The countries being taken advantage of in the climate change issue (the poor nations) need the resources to cope with the destruction that has been amounting through climate change and they feel as though the developed countries who are the main contributors to the altering of our planet are the ones to pay. It’s a tricky situation that needs a solution because the, “concern for development experts is that extreme weather might stall or even erase years of progress for the developing world” (The Inequality of Climate Change), and this won’t change unless an agreement is made and action is taken.

Scaling the issue of climate change down to one region of generally developed nations (Europe), you begin to see cautionary actions which countries are taking to reduce emissions. In the chapter 6 of Benchmarking Working Europe there is a focus on social inequality from climate change and it discusses some of Europe’s goals for prevention. According to the text European countries are altering their production of goods and greenhouse gas emissions in an attempt to reach the target of 2 tons of CO2 emissions per capita by 2050. This goal is important to the future of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, but there is no outside reach for helping those who can’t help themselves for what has been wrongly thrown onto them. This attempt is a starting point but international involvement and support is the framework that is needed most in the long run.

A report titled Exploring relationship between social inequality and adaptations to climate change dives into, “how social inequality shapes the severity of climate impact” and “how social inequality interacts with this experience to influence responses to these impacts” (Tan 2014). The report focuses on the Yangtze River Delta in China and looks into three aspects of social inequality: marital, social status, and power. The report basically found that households with a high socioeconomic and political status are more adaptive to climate change because they can migrate easier or are able to adapt in place without affecting their daily lives too much. The report then gets into how in situ adaption and migration are important responses to climate change and should be used for strategies of adaption to climate change for the future.

Climate change poses many threats for the face of humanity, but unfortunately in a tilted way. The poorest will be affected the most unless considerable international effort is put into effect. Not only do we have to reduce emissions but we have to consider those who can’t afford to migrate or adapt in situ, and support who needs it most.

 

Works Cited

“6/Climate Change and Inequality.” Benchmarking Working Europe. Brussels: ETUI-REHS, 2012. N. pag. Print.

Tan, Yan, Xuchun Liu, and Graeme Hugo. “Exploring Relationship between Social Inequality and Adaptations to Climate Change: Evidence from Urban Household Surveys in the Yangtze River Delta, China.” Popul Environ Population and Environment 36.4 (2014): 400-28. Web.

“The Climate Is Ripe for Social Change.” The M&G Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2016.

“The Inequality of Climate Change.” Economix The Inequality of Climate Change Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2016.

Introduction to Climate Change and Inequality

Climate change is one of our planet’s biggest issues at the moment and it is an issue that many scientists are studying to get a better grasp on what to expect and how to lessen the impact. For this blog series I want to focus on climate change and how it has been resulting in social inequality. At first glance climate change seems to be affecting those who just happen to be in the region where impacts randomly strike, but there is clear evidence of a social divide of who it impacts the most.

All over the place I am hearing and reading about how climate change is going to hit the world’s poorest the hardest. This is because near the equator, where most developing countries are located, is where climate change will bring about desertification, more intense storms, and a higher sea level rise. In a region where there isn’t always the economic and technical progress to deal with such issues it will be hard if not impossible for these people to overcome the struggles that will occur.

I think this topic of climate change and social inequality is interesting because it is a major pressing issue that the world is facing today. It is often overlook compared to the threatening issue of climate change in and of itself, but inequality is and will become more of a direct result of climate change that should be studied in an attempt to help those in most need.

One of the major issues behind this inequality is the third worlds desire for the first world to pay for its effects. The first world countries are the ones abusing carbon emissions and impacting climate change the most and third world countries like Bangladesh and the Philippines don’t have the economy to support the drastic impacts climate change has been having on their country. (NY TIMES)

Chapter Six of Benchmarking Working Europe sums up the issues in a clear way with one statistic: “As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has pointed out, while Africa accounts for less than 4 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, this continent may well, as early as 2020, have between 70 million and 400 million people exposed to water shortage caused by climate change. This shows the other dimension of inequality, in terms of exposure to the impact of climate change” (Benchmarking Working Europe).

Mail & Guardian is a South African newspaper publisher who recently discussed climate change and points out that capital is the real geological force behind climate change (M&G). This is the unfortunate realistic truth in our society today. Money is the determining factor when it comes to making a lot of decisions. “Driven by the need to make short-term profits, capital, through its organization of production, distribution, consumption and social life, has overshot planetary limits, undermined natural cycles and now threatens human beings with extinction by means of climate change” (M&G).

I also found a report that the World Bank published that brings up the topic of ways we can prevent drastic impacts of climate change and inequality. Later on in this blog series I would like to narrow in on this idea of finding a solution because all too often we just hear about the issue and the problems it causes without learning about ways to solve it. (WorldBank.org)

Works Cited

“6/Climate Change and Inequality.” Benchmarking Working Europe. Brussels: ETUI-REHS, 2012. N. pag. Print.

“The Climate Is Ripe for Social Change.” The M&G Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2016.

“The Inequality of Climate Change.” Economix The Inequality of Climate Change Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2016.

“What Climate Change Means for Africa, Asia and the Coastal Poor.” World Bank. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2016.