Climate justice: the great multiplier

Pianist, saxophonist and singer performing at Union Chapel

A series of free music and discussion events at Union Chapel

“Climate change takes any problem you already had, any threat you were already under, and multiplies it. Climate change is not the great equaliser, it is the great multiplier” – Mary Annaise Hegla

‘Climate justice’ recognises that the climate emergency has been created by the same system that oppresses people and causes inequality. The effects of climate change worsen inequalities: those who are responsible for the majority of the causes of climate change are not the ones who suffer most of the effects. This programme of free events explores the impact of the climate emergency on justice issues and how we can respond.

Climate and colonialism today
Wednesday 2 November, 6.30pm
Union Chapel, 19b Compton Terrace, N1 2UN
The colonialist mindset can still be seen in the fast fashion industry, with people seen as workers to be exploited in hazardous conditions for little pay. Natural resources are polluted, and land is seen as a dumping ground for our waste.

In the fast fashion industry, only around 60 percent of clothes are sold. Of these items that are donated or sold second-hand, just ten to 20 percent will be bought. Everything else is waste. The exporting of waste clothes to foreign landfills has its roots in colonialism, with schemes starting in countries under British colonial rule and continuing today. Imported second-hand clothing prices-out local industry, and clothing landfill poses an environmental danger with a risk of fire and pollution.

To discuss the impact of the fast fashion industry on the climate and colonialism today, we’ll be joined by Bel Jacobs, former style editor to the Metro who, following the Rana Plaza disaster, became a campaigner on the climate emergency and the toxic fashion system.

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Climate and power abuse
Wednesday 7 December, 6.30pm
Union Chapel, 19b Compton Terrace, N1 2UN
Some multinational companies will do everything they can to silence protesters who are trying to protect their land. Indigenous activists and people of colour are more likely to face criminalisation, physical violence, and death.

In the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, local communities have suffered as their farmland and drinking water has been polluted by thousands of oil spills since Shell began operations. Protestors have been shot and thousands have had their homes burnt down. Nine people were hanged following their protests.

Nimmo Bassey, speaker at this event, is the co-founder of Environmental Rights Action, a Nigerian NGO which leads lawsuits against oil companies on behalf of many communities in Nigeria. Bassey co-ordinates Oilwatch International which mobilises communities to resist destructive oil and gas extraction.

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Climate and refugees
Wednesday 4 January 2023, 6.30pm
Union Chapel, 19b Compton Terrace, N1 2UN
The impacts of climate change can already be seen in places where rising temperatures threaten natural resources and create conditions where crops struggle to survive. Extreme weather events are becoming more common and cause at least 20 million people to leave their homes each year, with countries needing to adapt to a new spread of the population – or ‘internal displacement’. Where people need to cross borders, they are particularly vulnerable, as seeking refuge due to the climate is not protected under international law.

Dr Jin-ho Chung and Dr Bernardo Bolaños Guerra are researchers in climate migration. Dr Chung will be discussing internal displacement in Ethiopia and how cities like Addis Ababa are responding to the dual challenge of climate change and civil war. Dr Guerra will be discussing climate migration across borders in Central America and the legal status of climate refugees.

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Climate and gender inequality
Wednesday 1 February 2023, 6pm
Union Chapel, 19b Compton Terrace, N1 2UN
Women are disproportionately affected by climate change. They are more likely to work in jobs that are likely to be negatively affected by climate change, such as agriculture, but far less likely to be involved in decision-making about how to respond to this challenge, owning only 15 percent of the world’s land. Following climate-related disasters, it is girls who are most likely to be taken out of school and women who experience trafficking and gender-based violence.

Mwanahamisi Singano is senior policy lead at the Women’s Environment and Development Organisation, where she works to bring women’s voices into climate change policy making. She will discuss the impact of the patriarchy in creating the climate emergency and how we should respond. There will also be music from Mazzy Dee.

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