Thursday, December 17, 2009

Climate Change Undermining Human Rights on An Unprecedented Scale

One of the major stories coming out of the Copenhagen COP15 conference, many say, is the rise of the Climate Justice movement.

It is lead by island nations, countries whose agricultural and drinking water supplies are dependent on glaciers that are rapidly disappearing, and others whose livelihoods are being affected by climate change now.

The Archbishop Desmond Tutu is among those who are speaking out on this human rights dimension of climate change:

Archbishop Desmond Tutu drew on his own experience of climate change and called on world leaders not to let the voices of the most vulnerable fall on deaf ears.

He said: "I too, stand before you as a witness. I have seen with my own eyes the changes in my homeland, South Africa. The Southern Cape is currently experiencing the worst drought anyone can remember. There is not enough food. There is too little water. The situation is becoming increasingly desperate. "This is our only chance to succeed in the word's most important battle. 

I trust that those with the power to influence will have truly listened today.  Justice cannot wait." The international climate hearing was the culmination of thousands of Oxfam-supported hearings carried out in 35 countries this year.  Over 1.5 million people joined the hearings to testify that climate change is destroying their lives and livelihoods.

It's good to see this movement rising now, as the climate change impacts that are inspiring these people to action only beginning.  We could be witnessing the start of something very very big here -- Civil Rights movement big, scaled out around the globe...

China, which is currently acting as a roadblock to an agreement, is in reality right in the thick of climate impacts. As Reuters reports, many of its farmers are already struggling with the changing climate. The L.A. Times chimes in with a piece about the rapid disappearance of China's glaciers, which threatens to pose serious problems for the country's water supply.

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1 comment:

  1. Interesting article.

    I have been thinking for a while now about whether human rights is the best discourse to tackle climate change with? I think that it is. HR's are perhaps the nearest thing we have to a valid global framework in which to tackle this issue.

    If you are interested, I have blogged about this issue here:

    Check it out if you like.