Why does the Chair in Education for Social Justice attend the climate change demonstration?

On Friday, September 27, 2019, the UNESCO Chair in Education for Social Justice participated in the demonstration for climate change in Madrid on the occasion of the current climate emergency situation.

Following the latest events, multiple organizations and entities have joined the global movement against climate change, exposing a boom in grassroots activism and direct nonviolent action. Thousands of demonstrations and strikes have been called around the world, adding to a call to action. Our leaders still do not seriously address the phenomenon and, therefore, the necessary measures are not being taken to minimize or prevent the serious repercussions that it is already having and that global warming can have. Along these lines, the Chair joined, by means of an official note, the group of organizations that demand a drastic change in the way of addressing the phenomenon. Note that you can check here.

But why? Because climate change is a matter of social justice.

Science has been warning for decades about the possible consequences of global warming, such as the fusion of the poles, the rise in sea level or the increase in the intensity and periodicity of natural catastrophes. Not only is there talk about the possible impact of a rise in the global average temperature, but the impact it is having today in each and every one of the spheres of our lives.

The phenomenon worsens even more as it permeates the social sphere in a perverse manner, constituting a threat with direct consequences that, in addition, are unevenly distributed among the different strata of society. Climate change affects those social strata with greater number and severity of deprivation, aggravating their already vulnerable situation at extreme levels. Some of the most visible consequences are the alarming number of displacements caused mainly by conflicts and by events of disaster and climate change. For more information on this specific topic, you can consult the report of the Internal Displacement Observatory (IDMC).

Why do we talk about Climate Justice?

Climate Justice can be understood as a concept related to the intersection between climate change and social justice. Climate Justice as a grassroots movement tries to cover the complexity of the phenomenon by moving the focus to the systemic problem of the persecution of unbridled economic growth, or to other issues such as environmental racism, and induces a deep reflection on concepts such as privilege. In this sense, the role of an education for social justice is extremely useful to understand our privilege and learn to use it in favor of those most exposed and vulnerable to the effects of global warming.

In this line it can be affirmed that climate change is a matter of social justice, as it intensifies the injustices caused by pre-existing situations of inequality and interferes, blocks and degrades the necessary conditions for the development of fairer societies (participation, representation and redistribution).