Climate Justice

Climate justice relates to the fact that those who are least responsible for anthropogenic greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are the ones most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. There are different ways by which the world may begin to address this challenge. Rich countries could provide support to developing countries for economic and non-economic losses and damages incurred from climate change, provide support for adaptation funds, technology transfers that enable poor countries to implement their nationally determined contributions and develop along low carbon pathways. Critical aspects of responsibilities of rich nations would also include fulfilling their mitigation responsibilities, addressing the challenge of cross-border migrations, and making a sincere commitment to restructuring their economies for degrowth. The planet has only about a decade to move away from a path leading to runaway climate change.

The Climate Justice Digital Lab

The Lab is a non-profit global technology initiative that connects and mobilizes communities towards a more sustainable future. Working alongside leading scientists and technology experts, the Lab develops innovative new media technologies which enable cross-border collaboration, education, and ground-breaking digital storytelling–for journalists, academics, activists, humanitarians, teachers, and students.

At the Lab, we host different project ideas for different kinds of people to become involved and collaborate to build them. Our projects will also help connect people across borders, generations, professional fields and cultures.

Our Projects

https://greattransition.org, licensed under
Creative Commons BY-NC-ND

Not So Virtual Reality
Using VR technology, the Lab’s ‘Not So Virtual Reality’ makes visible the prospect of a dystopian future–where planetary systems have failed, thousands of species have perished, and the structure of society as we know it has crumbled, giving rise to devastating social unrest.
By putting on the VR headset, users will be able to see their exact location as it will be in 25, 50 and 100 years’ time. Importantly, this project aims to make tangible the imminent catastrophic effects of the climate crisis that may not be immediately visible or comprehensible in all parts of the world. For example, in the project, an affluent suburb in downtown LA will be subsumed by tidal waves, or a thriving forest will be burned to the ground. But there is an alternative–if you are able to watch for more than 20 minutes, the headset will show you the sustainable future, where eco-communalism and biodiversity flourish.

https://greattransition.org, licensed under
Creative Commons BY-NC-ND

Freedom of Information for Justice
An unprecedented global initiative, the Freedom of Information for Justice arms investigative journalists with a comprehensive toolbox for addressing climate issues–exposing the interrelated forces of capitalism, colonialism, and corruption that give rise to injustice. The toolbox will include an all-encompassing database of global FOI procedures and policies (including national and local laws for accessing sensitive information), advice and mentorship from industry experts, and introductions to journalists and editors for collaborative projects. It will also include best practice examples of investigative journalism for climate justice, reports on journalists’ experiences and security advice.

Video Dates from the Front-Line
Using open source video software, this project aims to bring together diverse individuals impacted by the climate crisis–enabling cross-border collaboration and sharing of experiences. From scientists researching the extinction of species in remote areas, to farmers in Northern Uganda to activists working in the pacific islands, this project will allow for unprecedented sharing of knowledge in order to create a global shared value system and greater competence in working towards sustainable futures. Taking the form of a video call, this project will connect individuals and communities at the frontline in the global north and south regions, who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity.

Come to the Lab! Let’s build together!

Empty Shelf

Three chapters on radical responsibility

Photo by Dani, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Cuban Miracle

Almost every hurricane that strikes the Southern EEUU visits Cuba first. Despite its comparative poverty, Cuba systematically gets fewer casualties. According to the Center for International policy, it is 15 times more likely to die in a Hurricane in EEUU than in Cuba. Red Cross and United Nations cite Cuba as a global model for risk reduction. After Karina, where 1800 people died, the lieutenant general in charge of military relief after Katrina, Russel Honoré, publicly praised their disaster management strategy as superior to their American neighbor. “We could be learning from them”. What it is to learn is not a technology but a protocol. It is called Ejercicio Meteoro and it is a yearly simulacrum where, since 1986, the government trains with its citizens to be ready for the hurricane and recover from it after its gone. It involves every single person in the island. After the years, they have become a civil army against climate change.

Meteorologists at the National Prognostic center of Cuba’s Meteorological Institute monitor satellite images every day, looking for signs. When a hurricane is coming, they start with two things. First, they switch their communications to radio. Cuba has the biggest radio amateurs community in the world. And radio is more reliable than mobile networks. Among other things, it is decentralized. Next, they evacuate those whith mobility issues: elderly, disables, pregnant women, etc. Children in every building have the task of finding these people and put them in the right spot to be evacuated. Then they go together to their designated city shelters and they look after each other while the rest works.

Everyone has a task: fixing roof and securing doors and windows, stockpiling rations, cooking, removing loose tree branches and cleaning drains in their street, moving animals to safety (where vets are), moving neighbors to a better place. Those living in safer homes take their neighbors in. People are trained in first aid, rescue situations and extinguishing small fires. They know what to do with floods. They don’t have to wait for the emergency services to be rescued or told what to do. And when the hurricane is over, they all come out and fix their homes together. Everybody has a role, no one is left behind. No one dies because it is elderly woman living by herself in a flat. This protocol gives them two fundamental powers: they know their neighbors and trust them to do their deeds. And they know the infrastructure around them and how to fix it. That mixture of system knowledge and community collaboration is the key to its success.

Almost every hurricane that strikes the Southern EEUU visits Cuba first. Despite its comparative poverty, Cuba systematically gets fewer casualties. According to the Center for International policy, it is 15 times more likely to die in a Hurricane in EEUU than in Cuba. Red Cross and United Nations cite Cuba as a global model for risk reduction. After Karina, where 1800 people died, the lieutenant general in charge of military relief after Katrina, Russel Honoré, publicly praised their disaster management strategy as superior to their American neighbor. “We could be learning from them”. What it is to learn is not a technology but a protocol. It is called Ejercicio Meteoro and it is a yearly simulacrum where, since 1986, the government trains with its citizens to be ready for the hurricane and recover from it after its gone. It involves every single person in the island. After the years, they have become a civil army against climate change.

Meteorologists at the National Prognostic center of Cuba’s Meteorological Institute monitor satellite images every day, looking for signs. When a hurricane is coming, they start with two things. First, they switch their communications to radio. Cuba has the biggest radio amateurs community in the world. And radio is more reliable than mobile networks. Among other things, it is decentralized. Next, they evacuate those whith mobility issues: elderly, disables, pregnant women, etc. Children in every building have the task of finding these people and put them in the right spot to be evacuated. Then they go together to their designated city shelters and they look after each other while the rest works.

Everyone has a task: fixing roof and securing doors and windows, stockpiling rations, cooking, removing loose tree branches and cleaning drains in their street, moving animals to safety (where vets are), moving neighbors to a better place. Those living in safer homes take their neighbors in. People are trained in first aid, rescue situations and extinguishing small fires. They know what to do with floods. They don’t have to wait for the emergency services to be rescued or told what to do. And when the hurricane is over, they all come out and fix their homes together. Everybody has a role, no one is left behind. No one dies because it is elderly woman living by herself in a flat. This protocol gives them two fundamental powers: they know their neighbors and trust them to do their deeds. And they know the infrastructure around them and how to fix it. That mixture of system knowledge and community collaboration is the key to its success.

Approaching soil

MST with the perspectives of agroecology

Do we believe in the corporate monster agreement, who is in the institution and government, you woke up in Brazil, and elsewhere, do You doubt the cure will be the poison. Is there a place for You in Rio, is there a place elsewhere, in Kenya, Ukraine and Lebanon, in the outskirts of the city, in Detroit and Lisbon empty food shelves are full to buy, drought with no trees, consume inslave, landless comes far to reach.

You can imagine the gardens, you can find people, ask for help within yourself, stand with the land and stay. It builds when it grows, it resist when it heals, in Brazil and elsewhere, it learns when it teaches – approaching soil.

Agriculture is responsible for 37% of GHG emissions, states in the latest report of IPCC, August 2019. This UN body of scientists acknowledged for the first time that indigenous communities land management is a possible solution for adaptation and mitigation processes with climate change. On the other hand, short showers in electric cars, personal responsibility, impossible burgers and smart agriculture are being promoted as an option, but as a profit-driven solution with shared consumer responsibility. Eco-friendly pack, a mix of green energy and calming conscious products are part of the culture that comes now as carbon-neutral, accessible to those who can afford it. Can we expect these market-based solutions to be present within the indigenous communities and to the Global South vulnerable population, where access to electricity and clean water is not constant and food security is in question. Under the circumstances, if we do not question the capitalistic structures which are driving these models of economy and inequality, we will not reach to the point of joint solidarity, no matter what we impose with our agendas.

We have continuity of struggles and community-driven solutions in one. We can recognize the pattern where self-organized movements exist out the needs and necessity, and to prosper, not as one, but as many. It comes with a long history and different forms of self-organizing. In the past, we were witnessing discontinuity of many. What could be the model of organizing community in the times of climate change, in slow-burning and shrinking world, as trusted science emphasize?

While we talk about all the other, we could talk about food and soil stewardship and biodiversity: Global South rural population is directly affected by the climate crisis. Damaging impact is present and it`s here to stay.

Based on promoting global goals, agendas by the end of the decade, and the end of next decade and so, and with similar papers and policies we have rolling and trying to implement – there might be that is missing stronger link with ground-level initiatives in promoting solutions with mitigation in agroecology. It is at the edge of policies, and reversed green politics. Shaped installments of green capitalism together with renewables that bring economic growth are still in focus, with forms and ways of maintaining the system structure as it is. And making possible to expand green business in the new era. All that is presented as a solution – costly, but affordable to some.

Soil is obscured, as a living organism – it is in the blind spot with land grabbing process and monopolies of big agriculture corporations and resource control.

We found Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra, MST, Landless Workers` Movement, to refer it here. That is an inspiring movement that comes with a strong social justice base of the underprivileged and oppressed. And with acknowledging agroecology as a form of ecological and, we may say climate justice praxis. 

MST in Brazil brings together peasants and rural landless workers in the processes of occupying farming land, to live on it and work with it. This strategy as a declared movement of landless started in the early 80`s, and it has been a social and economic form of existence in rural Brazil for decades. There are experiences from occupy camps in the fields, with schools and knowledge, in communities at the front line of inequality. In some cases, occupied land is that government is declared as unproductive! Workers build the soil, they create life and living. On the shores of dead rivers, they bring the fish back.

– The most important is Terra, rural workers say. Terra grows seeds of sovereignty. With the memory of indigenous Terra preta – dark soils rich with nutrients is one of the most efficient solutions for CO2 mitigation. Low-cost and low-tech. And now, centuries later, in the camps on the occupied land of the forgotten and excessive latifundias, there are schools of agroecology with MST. With the teaching and listening of the knowledge of peace with the land and nature. Food is in rich soil, food is the forest, as it has been. Simultaneously, and in tune with what another community says – network of trusted science known as IPCC. 

This way is present with community-based solutions, with self-organizing on the ground, in the fields. MST in Brazil is working this for decades now. This is a long history of struggle and fight of the underprivileged, fight for the land, in occupation and disobedience. Out of needs, out of necessity, fight for social justice. Away from the state, away from the institutions, as progression of the oppressed. Fight for the Agrarian reform, long-awaited right to land. We can look closer – MST is progressing with agroecology. Land means survival, soil means life.

Our strongest interaction with nature is agriculture. And we have it in method of agroecology, as a possible inspiration for the adaptation and mitigation processes, as well as for food sovereignty. So people can stay on the land, and so that communities can be and exist in the time of climate change, in the trust of climate justice. It could bring together – strategies, knowledge praxis and sense.

Landscapes of everyday are shaped by dominant paradigms and they are nightmares for many – for those without voice, for those speaking another language, for non-humans, for flora and animals, for memories and imagination, future and creativity. The landscapes of dominant paradigms are underlined with oppression and exploitation. Trusted science states that one-third of greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture. Corporate methods, controls and monopolies generate capitalist singularity with tight exits. When you do wake up in the shrinking world, like billions today, what is the way to resist, inspire and cooperate towards solutions.

There are two competing narratives with polarization on several levels. It is an agroecology vs industrial food system. That brings up further questions. The new paper of The Grand investment fund promotes business with precision agriculture, entitled – cheating Malthus, worth hundreds of billions. Who is, to feed the world with investments and profit. Is it the one who drives inequality, as we witness.

MST and agroecology practice is gathering communities around movements that propose ground base justice and right to land. Agroecology by the book would consist of action, and of change that brings resilience and sustains social, cultural, economic, and ecologic modes of food production. It has to join the science, practice, and social justice movement.

Dealing with climate induced migration

Research says that up to 300 millions of people will be forced to leave because of climate change until 2050. This will be an unprecented challenge for Europe. That this can happen in a constructive and not-violent way, we have to develop new concepts of how to deal with this situation beyond asylum processes and maybe even beyond national borders and national citizenship.
Here I want to just outline some ways to go:

  • End passport discrimination
  • Create save passages, so that nobody has to risk his life on their way to a save place and nobody depends on trafficking
  • Enable migration in dignity, meaning that people can decide where to go, their skills and knowledge are recognised and they get equal rights in the host country
  • In the last consequence this means free movement for everybody, independent from where he or she comes, end of national borders and end of national citizenship.

To achieve a transition to this state, societies have to undergo fundamental changes. For example

  • An education system that is not based on the knowledge of one Language but can deal with the diversity of languages and use it as resource.
  • New models of democracy enabling political participation independent from ethnicity, religion or nationality
  • No discrimination of local marginalized groups against newcomers, eg on the labour market or regarding to housing, but rather improve the infrastructure and social safety net for all
  • By these structural changes it might be possible to dismantle racicsm etc and rethinking migration.

There are some places, where bottom up movements start try to go in this direction:
Solidarity Cities in Europe https://solidaritycities.eu or sanctuary cities in the US Sanctuary Cities https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanctuary_city
They give citizens rights to undocumented people, allowing them access to healthcare and education, either by giving them an “urban citizenship” or simply by “not asking” (for an ID or passport) and thus suspending the difference between inhabitants and newcomers.
In contrary to these local initiatives the Nanseninitiative is a state led program for disaster-produced crossborder displacement. https://www.nanseninitiative.org

Credits

The participants of the Justice workshop at Berliner Gazette’s 20th Anniversary Conference “More World” were: Sujatha Byravan, Rosamund Brennan, Jose Miguel Calatayud, Fran Ilich, Anja Kanngieser, Brigitte Kratzwald, Dušica Parezanović, Marta Peirano, Kevin Rittberger, Maria Stenzel Timmermans, Mihajlo Vujasin, Sotiris Sideris.
Facilitators: Masha Burina, Nina Pohler.

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