Why Climate Change Matters

Climate change is a justice issue.

Does that seem far-fetched? Should "social justice" be confined to feeding the poor and housing the homeless? Or is it bigger than that? On this Blog Action Day focusing on climate change, it's something worth considering. Here's a list of a few climate change issues, and why, in my eyes, they're social justice issues too:

  • Mountaintop removal: Just a few states away, my neighbors are dealing with poor air quality and contaminated drinking water, not to mention the destruction of their local treasures. When I think about using more electricity in my home, this comes to mind- my actions are affecting the lives of my neighbors. Our neighbors are suffering, and this matters.
  • Island nations: I used to live on an island in the middle of an ocean, so I get it when leaders from these nations plead with the bigger nations to notice their plight. If the globe warms up just a little, if the ice starts to melt... these people lose their homes, their country. It's not fair that, thanks to those in large countries who live as they please, the smallest countries will suffer. Our neighbors are losing their homes, and this matters.
  • World hunger: As the climate changes, those that live in already-dry areas will find it even harder to grow food. As the world's temperature rises, growing seasons will change, and precipitation will shift. Areas that are barely able to grow anything right now may become completely barren. All the while, those of us with plenty insist on trucking our food from thousands of miles away- contributing even more to the problem. Our neighbors are going hungry, and this matters.
  • Water shortages: This is related to the shift in weather and growing seasons- droughts, storms and floods will intensify if nothing is done. Global warming will continue to cause our neighbors in the third world to go without clean drinking water. Our neighbors are thirsty, and this matters.

Climate change isn't something I choose to ignore, because I see climate change issues directly relating to the plight of my neighbor- and loving my neighbor matters.

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