What is Climate Justice? A Video by Fossil Free Yale

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Fossil Free Yale throws around the term "climate justice" a lot, but what does it actually mean? This video is A Political Primer On Climate Justice The term "climate justice" has its roots in the term "environmental justice," which sprouted out of the Civil Rights Movement. There is no really specific founding point for the environmental justice movement, but it is deeply rooted in the organizing strategies and the racial critique of the Civil Rights movement, Native American resistance, and the analysis of the anti-toxics movement. An important landmark in the movement? In 1978, over 30,000 gallons of waste transformer oil contaminated with toxic chemicals were illegally dumped on the side of the highway in North Carolina. The state of North Carolina chose to relocate the waste to a landfill in the small, rural community of Afton, North Carolina. The toxic waste dump was unconsentually forced on Afton, a town with little political power and where in 1982, more than 84% of the community was African American.

And this was where protesters in Warren County, North Carolina, catalyzed the national environmental justice in a big way. Climate Justice builds on the principles of environmental justice as they intersect with the current climate crisis. Climate change will continue to lead to unprecedented changes in then atural environment, which will in turn affect the way we live, our health, energy sources and food production systems. These impacts are already being felt disproportionately by people living in already precarious conditions. Climate change, directly and indirectly and on many levels, worsens and reinscribes existing inequalities faced by people of color poor people and people made vulnerable by the "profit over people" logic. It's unjust that those who suffer most from climate change have done the least to cause it. A climate justice framework says that if the needs of the most impacted and marginalized can be met, everyone will be better off.

This framework says that if we center communities most impacted by climate change and least responsible for its cause, then we can get at the root of what has caused both racial injustice and the climate crisis in first place. The climate justice framework acknowledges that because the world’s richest and most industrialized, countries have contributed most to the problem, these countries need to work hardest to take action. Yale also needs to feel a stronger obligation to work for climate justice. By profiting off of the fossil fuel industry, the industry most responsible for climate change (not to mention political corruption and environmental racism) Yale has a direct hand in climate injustice..

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