15. February 2022

What Does Climate Protection Have To To With Social Justice?

February 20th is the World Day of Social Justice.

The aim of this day is to draw attention to inequality and to work for a diverse society in which there are fairly distributed opportunities, living conditions and respect for everyone. Poverty, exclusion, discrimination or racism are just a few examples of how differently the chances of a healthy and happy life are distributed. "Ok," you might be thinking, "an important topic. But this is about climate protection, what does that have to do with social justice?"

Climate change is fundamentally a global challenge that affects the whole world and humanity as a whole.

Climate change is increasingly a cause of extreme weather events such as floods, droughts or heat waves. But also changes in rainy and dry seasons, the rise in sea levels, the melting of glaciers and polar ice caps or the thawing of permafrost soils are already having a direct impact on how well or badly people, animals and plants still live there in many regions of the world be able to live.

In Europe, too, we are now often experiencing the negative consequences of global warming right on our doorstep: Extreme temperatures such as the increasingly frequent heat waves, which cost the lives of around 70,000 people in Europe in 2003, for example, or floods such as the floods in western and central Europe in 2021 , in which more than 180 people died in Germany alone.

Different groups of people around the world are affected to different degrees by the consequences of climate change.

Socially disadvantaged people suffer more from these negative consequences of climate change than those who are better able to protect themselves from extreme weather, for example, and who are better protected financially and through state support in an emergency. Social inequality is often exacerbated by the climate crisis. This is true within our societies. But also from a global perspective, the effects of the climate crisis are affecting us to varying degrees:

The people who live in countries of the Global South are usually much more directly dependent on agriculture, vegetable cultivation or animal husbandry than we residents of Europe. This requires reliable climatic conditions. In addition, they usually have no or fewer opportunities than we do to adapt quickly to climate changes or to protect against extreme weather. The climate crisis is thus amplifying social problems and inequalities.

Those who are already suffering the most from the effects of climate change or will suffer in the near future are those who have contributed the least to it.

While we in Europe make up less than 10% of the world's population, more than a quarter of the CO2 emissions of the last two centuries come from us or our ancestors: "If you add up all values ​​since the beginning of the systematic recording of CO2 emissions around 1850, land the USA in first place and the EU in second place. The EU, which is responsible for about 16 percent of carbon dioxide emissions today, is responsible for almost 27 percent of historical emissions," writes Christof Arens for the Federal Agency for Civic Education.

The concept of climate justice has therefore become increasingly important in the discussion on climate protection measures, sustainable solutions and climate policy transformations in recent years.

How do we achieve more climate justice?

Many people are already getting involved and demanding more justice in political issues to solve the climate crisis. However, climate justice will not simply come about through political decisions or international agreements. The ideas and solutions we need to survive and build a more just and fair world can only come through our collective action, through solidarity and cooperation from local communities and across borders.

Volunteer with IBG for climate protection in forests and bogs

Under the motto "Let's take action for climate protection", we will be dealing with the topic of climate protection in forests and bogs in 2022, both in our camps and in our staff and with our voluntary group leaders and teamers. We are convinced that the international exchange across borders is not only enriching, but also necessary to discuss just solutions to the global climate crisis.

Especially in an international group we can get to know different perspectives and look beyond our national horizon. Will you join us?