13 October 2013

Blog Action Day: Climate Change and Human Rights

Blog Action Day is this Wednesday, October 16 and this year's theme is human rights. So you can probably already guess what my questions to you are going to be.

Is a safe climate a human right? Do we have a right to a safe climate? Do we? Conversely, do we humans ("we" as in EuroAmericans and those who have adopted the Western economy that we've globalized) have a right to make the climate increasingly unviable for other species? Indeed, isn't the climate change crisis a perfect point of overlap between human rights and the rights of all other living things?

And when we talk of human rights, which humans are we talking about? When it comes to climate disruption, are we talking about people in developing parts of the world? Today's children and future generations? Or just old white guys? 

And which rights are we discussing? I swear, some capitalists (the ecologically illiterate ones, and that seems to be most of them) believe that they have the right to "earn" (I use that term loosely) as much money as they want, damn the consequences. That's the whole basis of the neoliberal agenda.

If we can't decide, globally, as a species, that food and water — and the stable climate upon which both depend — are basic human rights, then the rest is moot. If we don't get this one right, then by default we're saying that we don't have the right to life.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?