Climate Change, Human and Social Justice

İklim Değişikliği, İnsan ve Sosyal Adalet

“Climate”, as a geographical term, is defined by the Turkish Language Association as follows: “The state that is based on the average impacts of many years, which occur depending on weather conditions in any place of the earth”.

Today, even though this technical meaning is not known much, there is a special (compulsory) sensitivity regarding the issue of climate. And it has to be this way. Because, today, sudden and various climate crises may occur all around the world; therefore everyone is already practically forced to learn what this concept is and what it is like. In this article, let’s try to discuss human-based climate change, and the topic of social justice within its relationship with humans.

Jonathan Neale, an American academician-activist, scientifically explains what climate change is, particularly in the first chapter of his book titled “Stop Global Warming”: Climate changing differently than the ordinary and normal changes, as a consequence of the models put forward by people.

Particularly, the changes that have been going on for the past 200 years. The emphasis on the past 200 years is actually another method of saying that it is the infancy of the age of industry, which saw the start of the changes in mainstream production-consumption-public sphere forms in the entire world. What’s attempted to be put forward here is the climate change, which is the main reason of excessive natural events occurring in various places, and which is caused by humans as a consequence of several things put forward as preferred by humans. These are not the types of changes that occur within the ordinary borders of the climate itself, without any human interference.

First and foremost, we should remember and keep in mind that today’s environmental problems are caused by social, economic and political preferences in a way that is not possible to be denied by anyone, and that some of them are directly and some of them are indirectly resulted by those.

This situation being encountered is the result of extraordinary human interferences made on the ordinary course of nature, along with gas emissions, systematic deforestation. Acting like humans are not responsible for those is the most fundamental sneakiness on this field; it is, in fact, no different than hiding the truth.

Climate, both in the first and second meanings of the word, is an integrity that surrounds almost the entire world of humans. In this case, humans are inevitably born as a part of the environment, and they are supposed to live that way. What I’m trying to say is the fact that this is the story of all of us; we all have to be a part of the climate system. So much so that there is no outer part of this circle.

People, who are affected the most by the problems caused by the global climate change, are at the same time the ones who made “the least” contribution to the human-based impact of the global climate change. Those, who emit the minimum amounts of carbon-dioxide and greenhouse gases, are the people who do and will suffer from the biggest damage. This is a major social dilemma. This topic’s close relationship with “justice” starts right at this point.

A justice-based collective movement’s ties with climate, although it seems irrelevant at the first glance, arise from this. There is a major problem of justice within this framework, in terms of getting affected and damaged by the climate change. Social distribution injustices ironically show themselves as a difference even in the issue of getting damaged in the current world.

This injustice problem caused by humans is a serious problem. The excessive production model and production process that threaten the planet is the principal method to get away from this situation, and in order for the planet, and thus for humans, to take a calm breath. The accurate determination of the roots of the problem and where it is arising from is an essential first step for a serious solution.

Let’s sum the article up by a point reminded through a striking emphasis made by Brian Tokar in his book titled “Toward Climate Justice”. It can also be called a description of situation, or a projection of near future. According to Brian Tokar: “It is obvious that the capitalist developments in the past two hundred years, and unprecedented pace of increase in the consumption of resources particularly in the past 60 years, cause conditions that threaten the future of all. (…) unless we reverse the patterns of exploitation, those, who have drawn the maximum benefit from the unsustainable pace of the economic growth and expansion since the 1950s, will encounter a future that will unseat them in an unprecedentedly miserable way.”

All creatures living on earth are the direct witnesses of climate changes; there is not a single entity that can say they live independently of them. Therefore, in the face of this most urgent vitality crisis, it is obliged to do some things that are as urgent as it is. The results of wildly attacking the nature in a mood of “mastery” manifest themselves as great humanity crises. Forests, which are being burnt and destroyed all over the world, will affect everyone’s life in some way. The contributions made by forests to the world ecosystem and to entire humanity are of dimensions that are incomparable to any other financial criteria.

Starting from these points, young people spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate activist, are trying to do something all around the world, primarily for their own future. They are doing it in quite a precious and inspiring manner. We must take heed of the youth, and support what they are doing.