Climate conversations in the UK tend to revolve around technologies, targets and tips. Little changes we can make to our lifestyles. Bigger changes that somebody else (the government? businesses?) will make to our energy and transport systems.
In other parts of the world it’s all a lot more visceral. Climate change is a matter of life and death, of survival. It is experienced as loss and damage – destroyed harvests, flooded homes, land turned to desert.
This summer has reminded many of us that no part of the world is immune to the effects of climate change, but the greatest harm often falls on those least responsible. The continent facing the highest risk is Africa, which has emitted a grand total of 3% of cumulative climate emissions. Having contributed almost nothing to the disaster, don’t some regions of the world deserve compensation for the harm of climate change?
‘Loss and Damage’ is the name that the UN is using for the conversation around how to “minimize and address loss and damage associated with climate change impacts, including extreme weather events and slow onset events.” It’s something that’s been kicked into the long grass by the richer countries, who don’t want to accept any kind of responsibility for the crisis. But it’s one of the most important tools for working towards climate justice, and so you’re going to be hearing more about it in the coming months and years.
Here’s a useful video introducing the idea – provided you ignore the lazy footage of ice melting and polar bears that inexplicably features at the start. Below it are two campaign actions you can do to help get loss and damage higher up the agenda.
Two things you can do:
- First, Christian Aid are running a campaign on loss and damage at the moment. Visit their campaign page for links to their petition, or to write to your MP.
- Secondly, put September 22nd in your diary. It’s a day of action for loss and damage, with a variety of protest actions you can take part in, including demonstrations in London and elsewhere, as well as online actions that will boost the profile of the issue as people all talk about it on the same day.