What is climate injustice?
Climate injustice refers to how certain areas of the world or even communities within the same country, will experience different effects and severities of climate change. The injustice in this, however, is that countries of the lowest socio-economic and political status – those that have done nothing to ignite climate change – are those that will suffer the most from it. Conversely, the wealthy western societies comprised of European, American, British and Oceanic countries that have burned the greatest share of fossil fuels are those whose wealth will support the best mitigation efforts.
What is capitalism?
Capitalism is the political and economic system that is controlled by private ownership – dictating shipping, manufacturing and distribution – to gain profits and divorce control from the state. The main principles of capitalism include capital accumulation, private control of operations, competition, voluntary exchange, wage labour and property rights recognition. The race for larger distribution of goods has led companies to flatten the global environment by extracting natural resources at completely unsustainable rates. Over the past decade it has become clear to leading scientists, journalists and economists, that in order to halt climate change, we must change our relationship to work, capital and ownership.
The USGS (United States Geological Survey) explains that climate change is the long-term effects on the climate – from precipitation levels to wind patterns and temperature. The UN (United Nations) mentions that climate change can also be caused by environmental activity – disassociated with humans – and in fact, there is evidence to suggest nature, too, plays a role in altering the climate. Conversely, global warming is one element of climate change as it only represents the average increase in surface temperatures.
What is light pollution?
According to National Geographic, light pollution is the excessive or poor use of artificial light outdoors. Types of light pollution include but are not limited to, glare which is the excessive brightness, causing visual discomfort; skyglow which brightens the night sky over populated areas; light trespass when artificial light is directed into not intended or irrelevant spaces; and clutter which is the combination of different light sources that is too bright, excessive or confusing. Light pollution is a huge but often unrecognised global issue.
What is bilge dumping?
Bilge dumping is an illegal practice where cargo vessels and tankers release bilge water into the ocean. This ‘bilge water’ is present in most modern vessels fueled by heavy oil. These toxic liquids are thick, oily sludge – extremely hazardous to marine life. Bilge tanks are located in “the lowest compartments of the ship” where the waste is transferred. In order to operate the ship, bilge water has to be produced and directed into the tank. On a sanitary and ecologically-sensitive vessel, the bilge tank is emptied and filtered offshore regularly. Large vessels providing goods via global shipping routes can go for weeks, however, with nowhere to adequately dispose of the waste.
What is illegal wildlife trade?
Illegal wildlife trade is one of the most horrific yet discrete industries in the world. The mulit-billion-dollar industry transports animals around the globe alive or dead, for pet markets, medicine, jewellery etc. The demand for valuable items like elephant tusks or Rhinosorus horns is presumably the driving force behind poaching and other illegal activity. Poaching practices have implications beyond individual animal suffering, and threaten the existence of entire species like the Western Black Rhinoceros. According to study.com, “[the] main reason the West African black rhino is extinct is because of poachers, or illegal hunters”.
According to the Science Journal, eliminating meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental footprint! If the world was to end meat and dairy consumption, farmland around the globe could be cut by over 75%. For context, that’s as much land as all of China, the United States, Australia and the European Union combined! Not only would that allow for massive reforestation projects and support greener industries but still feed the entire world. Meat and diary contribute to 83% of all farmland globally and make up 60% of all greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural industry.
What is desertification?
Desertification is a form of land degradation where productive and fertile land alters into arid landscapes, incapable of supporting biodiversity. This can occur through natural land ‘evolution’ or human activity increasingly impacting the climate and natural habitats. Farming cattle can often cause deforestation and overgrazing, two prominent contributors to desertification. Other practices/operations like large pesticide and herbicide application, urbanisation, natural disasters, tillage and excessive use of groundwater are all leading causes of desertification globally.