Young activists are breathing new life into the long-running debate over climate justice – the framing of global warming as an ethical issue rather than a purely environmental one.
When world leaders took to the (virtual) stage at President Biden’s climate summit, they were given a gentle telling off by 19-year-old climate activist, Xiye Bastida.
“Solutions must be aligned with the fact that climate justice is social justice,” she said, echoing the words of Greta Thunberg.
The Mexican-born teenager is among a new generation of climate activists drawing attention to environmental and social injustices they say are blighting lives worldwide.
Her words cut through the noise in a video that has been viewed more than a quarter of a million times.
If you missed my speech, you can watch it here 💚 https://t.co/UpO4mO1x2m
Harriet Lamb of the climate solutions charity, Ashden, says people have been talking about the problem of climate injustice for decades but young activists are giving it new momentum.
“It has undoubtedly changed the agenda,” she says.
For her, climate justice is about making sure we address historic injustices over emissions, including the carbon footprint of the wealthy, whose lifestyles have contributed most to global warming.
At the same time, climate change is predominantly impacting those who’ve done the least to contribute to carbon pollution and who have the least resources to deal with it because they are living below the poverty line.