Climate breakdown is happening because rich countries build their wealth by exploiting
people and ecosystems. That wealth leaves them better able to adapt, whilst countries in the global south face the brunt of climate-related disasters. According to Oxfam, the
carbon emissions of the richest 1% are more than double the emissions of the poorest half of humanity.
The richest 10% of the global population are responsible for over half of all carbon emissions, whilst the poorest 50% account for just 7% of global emissions. We must join with workers in the global south, linking internationally with indigenous groups, trade unions and groups resisting ecological assault. Capitalism and climate change know no borders: neither should our solidarity. Whether your focus is protecting the Amazon rainforest or ensuring that our “green” tech really is green, the most effective way to do that is to support the struggles of the people on the ground.
Fridays for the Future and Black Lives Matter have shown the power we have when we work across borders: imagine what we could achieve by joining up our struggles in the workforce. Climate Justice means fighting to ensure that our counterparts in the global south are able to adapt as the planet warms. It also means recognising climate refugees’ legal rights to asylum. Until that happens, the victims of climate disasters will continue to be stigmatised as “economic migrants”. If we want to shift the discourse, we have to start by acknowledging the realities that are driving people from their homes.