SPONSORED BY GUAYAKI YERBA MATE
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“Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth… these are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security, and women’s empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.”
– Ban Ki-moon, Former UN Secretary General
At first glance, climate change might seem like an issue that affects everyone equally. How can hotter temperatures or rising sea levels affect one gender, race or community over another? However, when you dive deeper, you discover the myriad ways that climate change disproportionately affects marginalized peoples and communities.
Developed countries emit the highest levels of greenhouse gases, because of a highly industrialized society. Developing countries that emit relatively small levels of greenhouse gases are most vulnerable to climate impact. While developed nations have more advanced solutions to the adverse impacts of climate change, such as strong infrastructure and political capital, developing countries often lack these resources. Studies show that more than half of the highest-emitting countries are among the least vulnerable to climate change and nearly two-thirds of countries with low emissions are extremely vulnerable to its effects.
From industrial polluters consolidated in poor neighborhoods in US cities to commercial waste shipped from developed to developing countries, marginalized and minority populations face disproportionate environmental burdens, exposures, and risks. Communities of color are often on the frontlines of the climate crisis, yet lack adequate access to resources and information to prepare for its negative impacts, leading to health concerns, food scarcity, even death. One example of this inequity is Hurricane Katrina, where government assistance was distributed inequitably, with a disproportionate share going to wealthier white areas.
Climate change also exacerbates gender inequality. Globally, women experience higher levels of poverty than men. It is estimated that 60%of the world’s chronically hungry are women and girls. As climate change worsens, resources will become scarcer and the number of impoverished women and girls will increase. 80% of those displaced by climate change are women. Women also have less economic and decision-making power worldwide and thus, less of a voice in critical climate decisions. However, research done by the UN suggests that when women are included in the climate discussion, they support policies more beneficial to the environment and more equitable for all.
Indigenous peoples are powerful voices in the fight against climate change and injustice. In fact,indigenous peoples control one quarter of earth’s land and much of that land is undeveloped and rich with biodiversity. However, their right to land and tribal sovereignty is constantly ignored or violated in today’s systems, which threatens their ability to protect those natural lands in the future. When voices are ignored, indigenous peoples face countless negative impacts, displacement and lack of access to sacred, traditional ways of life.
Youth are another group unfairly impacted by climate change. The decisions that led to current environmental degradation and global warming were made by older generations. However, we are the ones who will have to live with the consequences; this is a fight for our future. Even though our generation will face the intense impacts, our voices often aren’t heard or considered in the global climate debate. This is why youth globally are rising up, speaking out, and striking for the climate.
By considering the multifaceted ways that climate change impacts diverse populations and communities, we can start to create equitable climate solutions that benefit everyone.
From the Civil Rights movement to March For Our Lives, youth have long played a key role in social justice, and the climate movement is no exception. Now more than ever, youth are calling on leaders to act on this critical issue. Empowered students on campuses globally are fighting for their lives and our future.
Youth activist, Greta Thunberg, has led School Strikes for Climate, with millions (!!) of students globally striking to fight climate change weekly (Fridays for Future!) and with designated mass activation days. Learn more about these climate strikes here and write a 100 word reflection. How does it feel to be a student during this time in our world?
Upload your responses in a PDF document. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.
What does ‘climate justice’ really mean? You may have a general idea, but it’s time to dive deep into the nitty-gritty. Get to work!
Upload your responses in a PDF document including a screenshot of your social post. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.
If you had an opportunity to demonstrate the importance of climate justice to your generation and your future, what would you say?
Watch this inspirational video where lifelong activist and hip hop artist Xuihtezcatl Martinez,Youth Director of Earth Guardians, calls for the United Nations to take action on climate change.
Picture yourself in Xiuhtezcatl’s position. You have the opportunity to affect massive change! UN leaders are there to hear you teach them how to build a better world. Write a speech that you could read at a UN meeting which poses solutions to massive climate justice challenges. Record a video reading your speech to a group of friends, peers or family members. Keep it under 4 minutes. And pack it with power!
Upload your responses in a PDF document including a video of your speech. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.
5 submissions will be randomly selected to receive:
Guayaki Yerba Mate
Loose Leaf Mate, Camp Mug, Organic Cotton T-Shirt,
Mate Drink, Sparkling Mate Drink
Each time you submit a challenge, you get an entry. Complete Green, Greener, and Greenest to triple your chances!
Extended deadlines and extra credits do not apply.