A lexicon on climate justice was launched last month by Justice Adda, a human rights and legal design social enterprise in an aim to make the terms used in communicating concepts of climate justice accessible to all.
Created in collaboration with India Climate Collaborative-EdelGive Foundation Alliance, the lexicon consists of definitions of terms used to talk about climate justice, the relevance of these terms, a praxis that helps put the term into context as well as an illustration that provides a gist of the concept as interpreted by the creators.
Written by Eklavya Vasudev, Nithya Kochuparampil, and Siddharth Peter de Souza, and designed by Sharada Kerkar, the lexicon claims to be a starting point to understand the new terminology.
“Through the lexicon, we try to feature these developments through reflections on the terms, practical case studies and real-life examples to show how people from different walks of life are presently engaging with climate issues, and consequently also influencing how policymakers are approaching these issues,” says Justice Adda.
There is a growing interest in climate and environment issues, especially among the younger generations, who deserve praise for their enthusiasm and efforts to influence policy from the bottom up.
The writers say that the lexicon is not exhaustive in nature, and will be expanded upon or revised, depending on the future of the struggle for climate justice.
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What is Climate Justice?
Climate Justice falls at the intersection of environment, politics, human rights and ethics, shifting the understanding of climate change from a scientific perspective to a socio-economic and justice-based perspective.
Climate justice focuses on equity, at the root of which lies a key recognition — that people and communities around the world are disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change.
At an individual as well as collective level, the unsustainable exploitation of resources has benefited a select few. At the same time, this unsustainable system of development has led to adverse events around the world, such as rising sea-levels, floods and extreme weather among others.
The effects of these events are borne by marginalised and vulnerable communities whose survival depends on natural resources and access to clean air, water and food. This makes climate change a human-rights issue. Efforts to reduce social-inequality must go hand in hand with the efforts to mitigate climate change and its adverse impacts.
Justice Adda emphasizes on the fact that the climate crisis is a problem of interdependence since disasters caused by climate change will affect life and property which will “ultimately threaten supply chains for everyone.”
Bringing up the COVID-19 pandemic, Justice Adda points to how the worst impacts of the pandemic were felt by poor and vulnerable communities who were affected by under-funded public health systems. “Covid has shown us how crises need to be met and how falling short can result in human tragedies that were avoidable,” says Justice Adda.
The organisation also encourages greater local participation when it comes to decision making and governance, and calls for indigenous, marginalised and younger voices to be included in the discussion.
Also read: Tribal Rights and Ecological Concerns off the Radar for Modi Regime
Environmental Activism on the rise
In recent years, environmental activists across the globe have called for resolute action from policy makers and pollution-heavy industries, advocating for conservation of biodiversity and sustainable models of development and climate legislation.
Groups like Extinction Rebellion and Fridays for Future garnered international attention with continuous and unrelenting protests, while activists in India fought for the protection of the Aarey Forest in Mumbai, the Dibang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Lakshadweep islands, among others.
Read also: Lakshadweep – Aberrations in a Holistic Development Program
On Wednesday, the Bombay High Court’s Goa bench directed the Public Works Department to stop further construction of a paver road from Collem to Dudhsagar through the Mollem National Park. Protests to save Mollem have been ongoing since early 2020, with The Goa Foundation launching its “Save Mollem” campaign and an artist-led movement taking over social media under #mymollem.
(Ishita Chigilli Palli is a journalist and a Young India Fellow. The views expressed are personal.)