Can fairness create a green future?

By Lydia Messling, University of Reading

Is it fair that climate change has the worst effects in areas that contributed to the problem the least?

It isn’t just polar bears being affected by climate change – people all over the world are already being negatively affected by changes to the climate, from droughts, flooding, and ruined harvests.

That’s not fair. Particularly as these communities had no role in making the problem in the first place. Fast forward a few years, and the environmental situation for our children’s children is not looking too peachy either… but could it look green?

If we changed the way we thought about climate change instead of it being ‘just a problem for science to solve’ to a problem about social justice, could we come up with a solution that addresses injustice that would help these communities and climate change at the same time? Can fairness create a green future?

As part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science, the Leverhulme Climate Justice Scholars from the University of Reading will be hosting an afternoon exploring different climate justice topics through presentation-slams, interactive posters and challenges.

The scholars will showcase their work as a poster display and will be ready to answer your questions. They will then have a series of presentation-slams where they will have to give a two-minute pitch using only the 1,000 most commonly used words in the English language – which is not as easy as it sounds, particularly when the word ‘sea’ has to be described as ‘the big wet thing’!

To top it all off, there will be a screening of the thought-provoking film Greedy Lying Bastards – which exposes the deceit of the fossil fuel industries affecting vulnerable people – followed by an audience discussion chaired by university academics. This should help us to dive more into an issue that is very much alive and kicking, and something that all of us are a part of in our energy consumption. How should we act? What can we actually change? And how can we change things to make them fairer?

The free event on Saturday 11 November runs from 2.30pm-6pm, and drinks and snacks will be provided to fuel the fun and debate! Find out more and book your place here.