Climate Justice Is Social Justice
The effects of the climate and ecological emergency are falling more heavily on disadvantaged and marginalised communities around the world, including in the UK. Any attempt to address the climate crisis must seek to bring justice to these communities.
The City and County Councils have declared a climate emergency – yet business as usual continues. Cambridge University has accepted that it must divest from fossil fuels, yet remains deeply entwined with the fossil fuel industry.
Starting on 1st January, XR will engage in a series of non-violent actions to put pressure on local government and Cambridge University. If our three demands are not met, we will form a roadblock in central Cambridge, causing major disruption in the city. This will put more pressure on these institutions to act, and highlight their inaction so far. It will also be a place of peace, learning, and above all a commitment to social and climate justice.
Our three demands are:
- The University of Cambridge must cut ties with the fossil fuel industry.
- Cambridge City Council must hold a Citizens' Assembly on climate justice.
- Cambridgeshire County Council must work with other relevant regional authorities to provide a plan for a just transition away from an inadequate transport system reliant on fossil fuels.
Why is the struggle for climate justice also a struggle for social justice?
As the first country to industrialise, the UK bears a huge historic responsibility for the climate and environmental crisis. Our exploitation of the natural world goes hand in hand with our exploitation of communities around the globe and our history of colonialism and capitalism.
Today, it is the poorest and most marginalised people in the world who are bearing the brunt of climate catastrophe – which results largely from the actions of the most wealthy. Here in the UK, it is the least advantaged who suffer most from the effects of flooding, summer heatwaves and air pollution.
Institutions like Cambridge University bear great historic responsibility for the climate crisis and have huge power to reduce the effects of environmental crisis and climate injustice. Despite their power, they act too slowly or not at all.
Local government too has the power to change things radically and rapidly - by standing up to central government inaction and austerity, but also by using their powers now to tackle the emergencies we face in a socially just way.