Ignoring climate change will undo our Social Justice work

Every day I think about what I can do to make the world a better place. I’m not trying to be cheesy, I’m just at devoted mother thinking about building a better future for her children. Readers of my blog know that I talk a lot about racism and its impact; of course I do – I’m a black woman who’s experienced some pretty bad things and have made the decision to change the course of history by speaking out and educating as many people as possible about inequality and how we all have the power to drive change.

On my journey, I’ve connected with so many incredible individuals who are consciously and proactively trying to make a difference across the many issues we face as a society today. Two people on this list are Jo Lorenz (writer, podcaster and activist) and her husband. This husband/wife duo give a f*ck! Their work focuses on climate change, intersectionality, social justice and sustainability. Jo is currently authoring a book about the intersections of justice as well as hosting her podcast GAF Is The New Black and her husband recently bossed (with Distinction) his Masters in Climate Science. It’s this I’d like to speak about today… Climate Change.

Climate change is one of the most urgent crises we face today. Yes, there are a lot of other things going down, but if we don’t swiftly address how we tackle climate change, there may be no point of fighting for social change as we may not have a planet well enough to see the fruits of our activism labour.

Some groups of people will likely face greater challenges than others. Typically poor, immigrant and minority groups are more impacted by the result of climate change than others. What makes this even more frustrating to me is seeing how much corporate greed has drastically accelerated the devastation that climate change brings. Natural disasters are becoming the norm, and let’s face it; we cannot win against Mother Nature. How is it that the rich can continue to massacre the rest of us at pole vault length? The answer? Policy; that’s how.

As easy as it was to lock us down in a pandemic should be as easy as it is to legislate new laws that protect the environment and people, but as we know, CASH IS KING to these people. Profit continues to supersede life – human, animal, plant and sea.

This week I became a Patron of Jo and her husband’s project ‘Give a F*ck About This’ and I immediately took the opportunity to tap into their expertise. I got involved in a Q&A session and threw in question, hoping for an answer I’d be able to share with my audience. I wasn’t let down.

Dionne asks:

The climate crisis is immense, but what do you think is the single most important thing we all need to do right now?

Answer:

There are two ways to address this: they are called Top-Down and Bottom-Up. Bottom-up action takes place with you doing things and one of the most important things you can do is TALK about the climate crisis with other people. For example, most people have no idea about: the flooding in Bangladesh displacing millions of people EVERY year; the largest locust invasion ever on the eastern horn of Africa (they eat food crops); coral reefs dying at unprecedented rates; and I could go on. So talk to people and make them aware, because the way we can truly solve the climate crisis is with Top-Down solutions and those come from government legislature. And we have to vote people in that are going to put in place these Top-Down measures. For example, a bill could be passed that says a large company has to use a certain percentage of its energy from renewables by a certain date or they are fined. All of the technology and the knowledge is already in hand to solve the climate crisis, but there is no political will. Two reasons for this: massive disinformation campaigns from oil and gas companies that create the idea that there are “two sides” to the climate change discussion (there are not, there is only one side and that relies on science); the other is as humans we see this as something that can be solved in the future because as humans we think we can solve any problem.

Side note: One hundred corporations are responsible for 70% of all greenhouse gas emissions and have started an underground campaign of shaming individuals into thinking that you as a single person can solve the crisis, if you were just more green. This is bullshit. While of course recycling and eating less red meat will help, we need major Top-Down legislation.

So the best thing you can do is talk about the climate crisis with others. Read books on it.

Thank you to Jo and hubby for taking time to respond.

So you’ve read my article, but what are the next steps?

The solutions to the climate crisis are numerous, but ultimately we need to cut greenhouse gas emissions and speed up our migration to new renewable energies like solar and wind.

That being said, there are several things you can do right now. I borrowed and slightly adapted a list from Friends of the Earth because they pretty much captured all my thoughts:

  • Influence public policy. You hold more power than you realise. Lobby your government to introduce policies based on climate science. Communicate the impact of climate change on the vulnerable to amplify their (our) voices.
  • Take action in your community. What ever happened to love thy neighbour? Coming together at the local community level will help see real changes you and your family can benefit from quickly.
  • Support existing climate change organisations. Donate to those who have dedicated years of work into science and research. These solution builders are integral in this fight.
  • Power up on plants. Reduce your meat intake; meat and dairy production is responsible for 14% of global climate-changing emissions.
  • Leave the car keys at home. Walk, run, cycle, bus it, train it – there are lots of varying methods of travel. Motor vehicles = pollution, pure and simple.
  • Staycations are on the rise – that’s not by accident. People are discovering the beauty of their surroundings. The UK is no Caribbean island, but there is plenty to do on these shores. I recently experienced one of my best girl’s trips and we were in Kent!
  • Save energy at home. Turn off lights, unplug appliances, insulate your gaff, monitor your usage.

All that’s left to say is START NOW.

Sending love and light always.

DiDi x

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