One of the most urgent aspects of climate action is environmental justice. At the ChangeNOW event in Paris, an entire session was dedicated to the fact that the people, who have the least impact on climate change, are the ones who are impacted the most – as the moderator, Lovelda Vincenzi, put it. The panel‘s discussion was around that the climate urgency is a global crisis, but its effects are not felt evenly around the world. The least polluting populations are the worst affected by climate change. International changemakers and political leaders must protect the rights of the most vulnerable and ensure the burdens of climate change are shared equally and fairly.
After Simon Kofe, Minister for Justice, Communication & Foreign Affairs, highlighted how Tuvalu, a small island state, tries to handle the threat of drowning in the rising ocean, the panellist discussed approaches for addressing the issue.
Jonathan Jennings, Executive Director of Health In Harmony, stressed that we need to break down the silos of “health for humans” vs “health for the ecosystem” vs “health for the planet” and start to improve the system as a whole with all the facets. This can be done most effectively by “radical listing,” i.e., listening to the local experts, who have immediate insights into the impacts. Whereas one of the key statements of João Victor Queiroz da Silva, Head – International Cooperation Office of Salvador, Bahia, was that the most important stakeholders for any program are the individuals. Finally, Dominique Palmer, Climate Justice Activist, demanded that everybody does have the right to a healthy environment, particularly to clean air and clean water.
The panel made very touching insights aware of a topic that is only just to be noticed.