By now, it’s clear that we are in the midst of a global climate crisis. Actions that we take now, as individuals, as communities, and as nations, have enormous impact on how our planet will fare. Climate justice pays attention to how the impact of climate change is uneven: Poorer nations and communities, and communities of color, suffer disproportionately from climate crises, while folks with greater wealth and privilege are more able to take mitigating steps for themselves and their families. This is not simply a matter of unequal resources: Long-term social, ethnic, racial, and economic forces have structured our world in a way that perpetuates the privilege of some and the damage to others.
(As one example, we learned that, in the early days of the pandemic, when so few were driving to work, the communities in Tacoma that benefited most from the cleaner air were the poorer communities of South Tacoma – the very communities through which our major thoroughfares pass. Now that we’re back to driving again, those communities have seen their air worsen once again.)
To seek climate justice, then, is to come together humbly, ready to listen and learn. We seek to listen to communities that bear the brunt of climate damage, to rediscover our common humanity, and to come alongside one another for just solutions.