Calls for media professionals and communicators worldwide to take up the challenge of climate justice and amplify the voices of marginalized people.
Full statement from WACC:
There is only one Earth. It is embarked on the heaven’s seas and Earth’s creatures are its only sailors. If the ship is damaged beyond repair, all is lost.
Humankind’s wisest leaders and most knowledgeable experts agree that climate change is today’s most serious global environmental problem. For that reason, how we respond to climate change has become an ethical benchmark that defines our responsibilities toward each other as human beings, toward future generations, and toward all of Creation.
Climate justice is a visionary principle that will help us to alleviate the unequal burdens created by climate change. It calls for the fair treatment of all people through policies and projects that address climate change and the structures that create and perpetuate inequalities.
Climate justice is closely related to communication justice. In the acrimonious ongoing debate on climate justice, the voices of those most directly impacted by climate change are often unheard, or reduced to the status of colourful bystanders.
A striking example was seen in Copenhagen, where Indigenous Peoples had a strong presence. Their message was ‘First, respect our rights!’ Indigenous peoples around the world are directly and critically impacted by climate change and, therefore, by the outcomes of the climate change conference. Food sovereignty, health, traditional knowledge, land rights, resources, cultural integrity and well-being are all at stake.
The people of the global South – among them the poor, and especially women and children – are also at grave risk. Responsible communicators have been focusing on these marginalized people, urging local, contextualized news coverage.
As a global body, WACC bears testimony to the immediate threat that climate change poses to many of our members, especially those in the Pacific, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Famine, drought, irreparable harm to water sources and the rising ocean levels are not theoretical threats.
Communicators can make a difference. The UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen is the beginning of the struggle, not the end. WACC calls on media professionals and communicators worldwide to take up the challenge of climate justice.
Amplify the voices of marginalized people and communities. Ensure that equity and mutual accountability are at the heart of any response to climate change. Together we can prevent the ship from sinking!
WACC promotes communication for social change. It believes that communication is a basic human right that defines people’s common humanity, strengthens cultures, enables participation, creates community and challenges tyranny and oppression.
21 December 2009