Credit MonikaP

The authors discuss barriers to justice and equity and how they can be removed – such as through re-organising energy systems, targeting energy consumption in both low- and high-income households, and designing more just and innovative housing schemes.

Culture shift needed to tackle climate crisis

Tackling the climate crisis will require embracing new ways of thinking and challenging dominant social and economic practices, a new book suggests.

Experts from multiple fields argue that alternative approaches – beyond technological advances which do not challenge existing inequities – must be pursued in order to achieve transformational and effective change.

The book – Environmental Justice in the Anthropocene: From (Un)just presents to just futures – focusses on the important connections between fairness and equity in society, and concern for the environment and climate change.

These are two crucial aspects of focus of the G7 summit in Cornwall, which begins on Friday.

"This moment is an opportunity for leaders to reimagine and redefine our relationships with one another and between people, the environment, our energy and food systems, and climate change," said lead editor Dr Stacia Ryder, of the University of Exeter.

"Colonialism and capitalism have created unequal power relationships which persist in policymaking and continue to hamper our efforts to deal with the climate and other environmental crises.

"Alternative approaches are clearly needed.

"These could include considerations of rights for nature, de-growth, cultural diversity and inclusion."

Co-editor Melinda Laituri, Professor emeritus at Colorado State University, said: "Identifying and understanding how inequity is embedded in society is an essential first step to addressing change and determining new ways to adapt to a challenging future.

"This book describes such inequities and identifies responses and strategies to move forward."

The new book highlights global socio-environmental challenges, and suggests ways to "justly navigate" out of them.

The authors discuss barriers to justice and equity and how they can be removed – such as through re-organising energy systems, targeting energy consumption in both low- and high-income households, and designing more just and innovative housing schemes.

It includes the idea of "conditional freedom" which encourages individuals and organisations to reflect on how their actions – particularly consumption – may affect others.

"It's clear that a rethinking of the status quo of socio-environmental relationships and governance is long overdue," Dr Ryder said.

"This book demonstrates how, in the context of the climate crisis, we can both act now and make the time and space to pursue more transformative approaches to climate change, equity and just transitions.

"This has implications beyond simply environmental justice, as we can consider how shifting our ways of being, doing and relating is important in an environmental sense but also in terms of equity in the context of other important policy issues of concern to world leaders, such as equitable access to vaccines during a global pandemic."

Environmental Justice in the Anthropocene: From (Un)just presents to just futures is a collective effort of scholars, practitioners and activists, organised by several founding members of the Center for Environmental Justice at Colorado State University. It is now available to buy.

Date: 9 June 2021

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