Climate Justice

Recent discourse around climate change—including debates about the Anthropocene, Green New Deal legislation, the plight of climate refugees, the dire warnings of the IPCC 1.5°C report, to name a few—increasingly make evident that climate change is much more than a technological problem of carbon mitigation. Taking recent geological and climatic changes as symptoms of deeper structural challenges, this class will address climate change as fundamentally a problem of social and environmental justice. The class will therefore combine study of theories of justice, inequality, and structural violence with a deep dive into climate science, policy, and international diplomacy. In our search for climate justice, the class will trace various forms of climate activism within the history of environmental movements, explore non-Western forms of knowledge as key critiques and logics of action, and evaluate concrete suggestions for radical reform. We will discuss how climate justice as a framework of concern is both universal and specific, and we will critically engage ideas of justice at different scales, from the local to the global, with careful attention to context. We will ultimately ask what new kinds of practices, knowledges, and collaborations are necessary to build more just and responsible relationships between people and the nonhuman world, and with each other.