Amplifying marginalised voices on the climate crisis

A new publication spotlights the perspectives of academics and activists in the Majority World, unified in their aim to achieve climate justice.

Neil J. W. Crawford from the School of Geography is one of three editors of the newly published book “Climate Justice in the Majority World: Vulnerability, Resistance, and Diverse Knowledges”.

The other editors are Kavya Michael of Chalmers University of Technology and Michael Mikulewicz of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

This was published on the 31st of July 2023 by Routledge, as part of the flagship Routledge Advances in Climate Change Research book series. It is an edited collection, featuring 14 chapters and over 30 contributing authors.

What is climate justice?

Climate justice acknowledges climate change from a social and political lens. Its aim is to rectify the inequalities and injustices perpetuated and highlighted by climate change.

For example, countries and communities in the Majority World are suffering of the impacts of climate change (such as extreme weather and increasing natural disasters), despite having contributed less to climate change than wealthier places such as the US, the UK and the EU.

Over the last 20 years, academics and activists have developed an understanding of these injustices and ways to resolve them.

Their collaborative work has shown how important it is to see the inequalities of climate change and how urgent it is to combat them rather than maintaining the status quo or making it worse.

This is the main goal of climate justice.

“Vulnerability, Resistance and Diverse Knowledges”

The book contributes to efforts to diversify the body of knowledge on climate change and climate justice.

Dr Michael said: “As co-editors we have anchored the book in the question, “Whose knowledge is valued and whose voices are being heard?” In the fight for climate justice, this book is our attempt to foreground epistemic justice by amplifying voices from the Majority World.”

The Majority World refers to the places on Earth that are most populated by humans and non-humans. The editors use this term to challenge the normative view of the world through economic, military and technological powers normally expressed through the terms “developing world” or the “Global South”, rather than its humanity and biodiversity.

Some of the book’s chapters include:

  • Southern Climate Justice activism through the case of forest rights over coal in Mahan, Central India, by Ruchira Talukdar and Priya Pillai
  • Resilience to doomsday narrative and possible climate justice futures in the Maldives, by Africa Bauzà Garcia-Arcicollar
  • How climate change and environmental issues are reported in Pakistani media, by Shafiq Ahmad Kamboh, Muhammad Ittefaq, Sadia Jamil and Bushra Hameedur Rahman.
  • How Puerto Ricans were impacted by Hurricane Maria in 2017, by Thelma I. Vélez.

The book interrogates the diverse movements of resistance, protest and community-based action happening in the Majority World.

It testifies to the need to overcome the barriers that those with lived experiences and knowledge of climate change face when trying to influence policies and decisions about the climate.

“As co-editors, we are all committed to foregrounding academic and activist voices from the Majority World,” said Dr Crawford.

Intersectional perspectives

Despite the less-than-ideal responses to climate change and justice concerns by governments, climate justice has unified movements of resistance across the globe, from Indigenous groups, to youth, to gender rights activists.

This intersectional movement for climate justice foregrounds marginalized voices in the climate crisis and demonstrate transformative and just climate action.

Climate Justice in the Majority World reflects the diverse ways that people make sense of their relationships with the climate and their environments.

It captures the perspectives of those who experience environmental challenges first-hand, often with the aftermaths of colonisation, neoliberal economic development models and increasing socioeconomic inequalities.

The editors aim to anchor the collection with an intersectional perspective that emphasises these complex, entangled issues.

“We are calling for more climate justice scholarship from, rather than on, the Majority World,” the editors said.

“This is a step necessary for overcoming the dominance of mainstream climate knowledge frames rooted in the Minority World.”

Note from the editors

“We are incredibly thankful to the authors for sharing their important work with us and for helping to further climate justice scholarship,” said the editors.

“The book is broad in scope and as such cannot hope to capture the breadth and depth of climate justice issues, struggles, contestations and policymaking efforts taking place in the extremely diverse Majority World.

“We hope that it will be joined by other work that continues to address a range of important events and struggles taking place as the impacts of climate change deepen.

“The book also discusses some of the challenges encountered by, in particular, climate justice scholars from (and in) the Majority World.

“Academia, among other places, needs to help address these issues as part of broader processes of decolonizing climate justice research.”

More information

Find out more about the book at Routledge.

There is a 20% discount available on the purchase of the book. Enter the code EFL03 at checkout on Routledge’s website. This is valid until 31 December 2023.

Image: by Bill Wegener, from Unsplash