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Shift the narrative on the climate crisis – climate justice demands it

At the close of the World Economic Forum’s annual get together in Davos at the end of January, a few young climate activists posed for a photo. What followed encapsulates why the mainstream narrative on the climate crisis just doesn’t do it justice.

Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate was cropped out of the photo she had posed for alongside fellow activists Greta Thunberg, Loukina Tille, Luisa Neubauer and Isabelle Axelsson after the group had given a news conference in Davos.

The Associated Press apologised shortly after and published the original uncropped photo, but the very fact that this happened in the first place reveals how those on the front line of the climate crisis can be forgotten, sidelined or even deliberately ignored.

This is problematic not only because it distorts the severity of the problem we all face, but also because it can affect how we respond as a global community. It enables collective ignorance about the the fact that those who have done least to cause the climate crisis across the ‘global south’ are the most affected by it.

People are having to deal with changing weather patterns, floods, droughts and storms on an unprecedented scale. They have no choice but to find innovative ways to adapt and survive, but their stories can so easily go unheard. And in the poorest communities around the world, the climate crisis impacts nearly every aspect of people’s lives – threatening to undo all the progress that has previously been made on tackling global poverty.

If climate justice is not central to our global response to the climate crisis, then people will get left further behind in the world’s poorest places as the effects are felt more and more.  The aftermath of Cyclone Idai across southern Africa in 2019 highlights this point only too well, and further stories of unprecedented hunger in the region show that the climate emergency is not some distant threat.

With the UN climate talks coming to Glasgow in November 2020, there is an opportunity to raise awareness in Scotland and beyond of how the climate crisis is affecting people across the world, building support for action.

At the Alliance, we want to help change the narrative to one that has climate justice at its heart to build support for urgent climate action here in Scotland and overseas as part of a broader commitment to the UN SDGs.

We want to give voice to those our members work with across the world – sharing their stories, highlighting challenges faced and celebrating new and existing responses to rapidly changing climates across the world.

Check out our dedicated COP26 page to find out how you can get involved.

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