Climate Justice

While the climate crisis affects us all, marginalised communities feel its effects the most. And while we know that the struggles for climate justice and racial, social, and economic justice are inherently interconnected, the vast majority of climate work in Europe has yet to take an intersectional perspective.

For example, the climate emergency most adversely affects those lacking access to resilient or secure housing, and extreme temperatures can disproportionately affect people with a disability. Communities placed in polluted or toxic environments will experience illnesses that could have been avoided, and bear increased health costs as a direct consequence. Tragic cases like that of Ella Kissi-Debrah, a nine-year-old girl from London who died after repeated asthma attacks due to living close to a polluting highway, and who is the first person to have air pollution as the cause of death on her death certificate, foreshadow what awaits us all unless we take urgent action.

The current field of European climate activists is white and middle-class-dominated, and priorities in campaigns, policy efforts, and litigation reflect this. While there are great successes in climate litigation, current work does not take an explicitly intersectional approach that foregrounds the disproportionate impact the climate emergency has on marginalised communities. The combination of the absence of this work, the urgency of the crisis, and the explicit call for action expressed in the community consultation underlines the need to build work in this area as soon as possible.

Our Europe-wide Roundtable series between April and July 2022, brought together community activists from across the region, and our climate justice roundtable deliberately moved away from the white, middle-class climate space. And the reflections shared say it all. Key opportunities for action—that will help shape our future litigation projects—came out from those discussions, including how accountability must form part of our solutions to climate injustice. That includes redistributive reparations that address intergenerational harms, and directing resources to communities most affected by climate change. Other opportunities for action focused on collective evidence and raising awareness of disproportionate health and well-being impacts of the air, water, and soil pollution for marginalised groups. You can read more about this here.

We are currently in the process of building cases with communities and connecting the dots between movements and communities so that together, we can co-create litigation projects that truly benefit those who need it most. Keep an eye on our Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, to hear about updates on this and more.

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