Anika Molesworth, INTO Farms program manager, wrote an article that was published on April 21st in Australia.
Climate change is one of the principal threats to quality – and equality – of life on our planet. Beyond environmental problems, climate change threatens food security, water availability, health, housing and self-determination. In essence, it confronts our basic liberties and pursuit of happiness.
But the burden of climate change impacts is not distributed equally. The poor, women, children and indigenous people face disproportionate risks. For people with no safety net, one drought can mean a tumble into further hardship.
Those hit hardest by climate change are generally the least responsible for causing it, and have the least capacity to adapt. The idea that vulnerable people, particularly in developed nations, should be fairly considered was enshrined in the Paris Agreement, which opens for signing in New York this week.
The preamble notes the importance of “climate justice”. To give effect to this, the agreement emphasises the need to aid developing nations reduce emissions and adapt to climate change.
As an agricultural scientist working in developing countries – and a farmer myself – my work has explored climate justice in terms of the rural poor, a section of our global community hampered by mounting ecological calamity and limited ability to adapt.
Rural climate justice has four key elements.