Climate justice - why is it important?
Climate justice calls for a recognition of the interlink between environmental issues and global inequity. Climate change has, is and will affect different people and places variably. Solutions must therefore work to make the world a fairer place by understanding the injustices caused by the crisis.
There is a disproportionality with who contributes and who faces the impacts of our changing climate. It highlights the crisis’ perpetuation of existing inequalities. It is mostly the case that those vulnerable to climate impacts have contributed the least to cause these environmental changes; while the richest and most developed countries are the highest emitting nations. Mozambique, for example, was shown in the 2021 Global Climate Change Performance Index to be at most risk. However, the East African country produces one of the lowest global emissions.
The Potato Eaters, 1885. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Climate justice is imperative to our understanding of global inequalities. It allows for an exploration of the historical, systemic and structural imbalances that we should seek to unearth and fix. Within this, we can pinpoint three main areas that overlap with climate injustice: economic injustice, racial injustice and gender injustice. Throughout history, artists have sought to expose societal inequalities. From Vincent Van Gogh’s review of poverty in The Potato Eaters to Jacob Lawrence’s honest portrayal of 20th century African-American experience. Today, artists face a new challenge in exploring climate change and its entanglement with inequalities that have existed for centuries.
Kristian Buus, Hands of a Climate Activist
Kristian Buus displays the honest realities of protest in his Climate Activism series. The photojournalistic narrative shows both the struggles and wins of being united with others that wish to see change, but set against those with power who do not.
Belinda Chlouber, Choose
Belinda Chlouber, a climate change artist, has chosen to visualise the crisis within a more symbolic framework. Her art pieces render the climate change as a choice between two paths: one which seeks justice or spirals into a crisis (Choose). While, simultaneously, Chlouber’s Air of Earth works to show the harm that has, is and will be inflicted on some communities more than others.
Belinda Chlouber, Air of Earth