The Human Cost of Poverty and Climate Change

Applying the Dharma to social justice issues – race, religion, sexuality and identity
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Kim O'Hara
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The Human Cost of Poverty and Climate Change

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sat Aug 31, 2019 5:51 am

Looking at climate change as a human rights issue -
...A billion children in developing countries will never grow old. This is today's most important issue, and hardly anyone is talking about it.

My climate heroes are not talking directly about the right to life of a billion people. At least not directly, in a way that hits the headlines. Not Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Oreskes, James Hansen, Michael Mann, Bill McKibben, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or Bernie Sanders. Greta Thunberg did mention that people in the future will suffer terribly but not that the suffering will mainly be linked to poverty in developing countries. ...

A billion children in developing countries will never grow old. We are responsible for this unprecedented crime in proportion to the amount of carbon we burn, and we know it. That's indirect mass murder. ...

I am a human rights activist, defending the rights of the bottom billion: people living in poverty in developing countries. Given the steadily increasing wealth of the top billion, it is scandalous that many thousands still die every day, and millions die every year, from hunger, preventable disease, or curable disease (more). This ongoing tragedy seldom hits the headlines, but if you consider the total number of preventable deaths per year or decade, poverty is killing far more people than either violence (e.g. war and genocide) or natural disasters (e.g. storms and tsunamis) (more). Other things being equal, during this century alone global warming will gradually increase the death toll by exacerbating food and water shortages, causing hundreds of millions of deaths (more); further hundreds of millions of climate refugees will die (more). The 22nd century will be even worse (more), even if greenhouse emissions completely stop in a few decades. These predictions are based on mainstream climate science (more); they are not exaggerated. This unprecedented emergency has largely been created by multinational corporations for whom profit is more important than people (more).

Solutions include:
tackling the causes of poverty, which include corruption (tax havens, authoritarian government, exploitation of natural resources by multinationals) and conflict (hawkish politics, international arms trading);
raising official development assistance to the globally agreed level of 0.7% GDP;
taxing the burning of all fossil fuels by global agreement, gradually increasing the tax rate until global communities of climate scientists agree the problem is under control, and spending the proceeds on sustainable energy (more);
aiming for a new balance between competition and sharing (more) and for economic sustainability and "green growth" rather than traditional concepts of economic growth (more);
improving democratic systems, both globally and locally, in both the public and the private sector (more - more), and
prosecuting influential climate deniers for crimes against humanity if they are causing millions of future deaths by blocking solutions to global warming (more; more).
To make these things happen, we need worldwide peaceful protest (more). The findings of leading climate scientists (more) suggest that we must break out of this deadlock and implement radical solutions in the next few years. If not, our grandchildren can expect a global catastrophe later this century, and they will rightly blame us for having caused it. The window of opportunity is gradually closing and there will be no second chance. ...

There's a lot more to read on the site, but that's enough to give you the core message.


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