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  • CCPA in Europe for CETA speaking tour October 17, 2017
    On September 21, Canada and the European Union announced that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a controversial NAFTA-plus free trade deal initiated by the Harper government and signed by Prime Minister Trudeau in 2016, was now provisionally in force. In Europe, however, more than 20 countries have yet to officially ratify the deal, […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Twelve year study of an inner-city neighbourhood October 12, 2017
    What does twelve years of community organizing look like for a North End Winnipeg neighbourhood?  Jessica Leigh survey's those years with the Dufferin community from a community development lens.  Read full report.
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Losing your ID - even harder to recover when you have limited resources! October 10, 2017
    Ellen Smirl researched the barriers experienced by low-income Manitobans when faced with trying to replace lost, stolen, or never aquired idenfication forms. Read full report here.  
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA recommendations for a better North American trade model October 6, 2017
    The all-party House of Commons trade committee is consulting Canadians on their priorities for bilateral and trilateral North American trade in light of the current renegotiation of NAFTA. In the CCPA’s submission to this process, Scott Sinclair, Stuart Trew, and Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood argue for a different kind of trading relationship that is inclusive, transformative, and […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Ontario’s fair wage policy needs to be refreshed September 28, 2017
    The Ontario government is consulting on ways to modernize the province’s fair wage policy, which sets standards for wages and working conditions for government contract workers such as building cleaners, security guards, building trades and construction workers. The fair wage policy hasn’t been updated since 1995, but the labour market has changed dramatically since then. […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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Climate Change, Justice and Fairness

On the intersection between climate change and inequality, Alan Durning of the Sightline Institute nails it in this post:

Climate Fairness

  Earth_in_hands_150

Climate change is a universal menace, threatening hardships for everyone. But it’s not an egalitarian menace: everyone will not suffer equally. Perversely, those people and nations least to blame for causing it are most vulnerable to its impacts.

Climate disruption heaps misfortune on the less fortunate, whether in low-lying Bangladesh, the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, or the flood plains around Chehalis, Washington. In climate change, the less you have, the more you’re likely to lose.

“The division of labor among nations,” wrote historian Eduardo Galeano, “is that some specialize in winning and others in losing.” Those left behind in the global economic race will suffer the most from climate change too. Poor nations with tiny carbon footprints are those most threatened. Hundreds of millions of people in low-lying Bangladesh, island nations such as the Philippines and Indonesia, and drought-prone Africa will bear the brunt. Their homelands will become uninhabitable; unlike better-off people, they lack the wealth to move or adapt.

In Cascadia, too, climate change promises to widen the gap between economic winners and everyone else. Here, it’s working families, particularly in rural areas, who face the worst climate insecurity. Low-income families are most likely to live in flood plains or fire-prone forests. (Or, I should say, if they have a home in the woods, it’s their only home, not a second home). Like Bangladeshi peasants, they’re unlikely to have the means to move to safer ground. What’s more, they are least likely to have health insurance to protect themselves from diseases spreading from the tropics.

Woods workers in British Columbia are already losing jobs from the climate-induced plague of pine beetles laying waste to the forests. Reservation-dwelling Native Americans and First Nations are vulnerable because of their dependence on fisheries, forestry, and agriculture. Immigrant farm laborers—among the poorest workers in Cascadia—also face disproportionate hardship. Dwindling supplies of irrigation water will squeeze harvest jobs, and crop failures from more-variable weather will post “not hiring” signs across farm counties.

This epic injustice gives the lie to the argument that stopping climate change is “just” an environmental issue. Indeed, it makes arresting climate change as much a social priority as an environmental one.

And it argues for climate solutions that are not only efficient and effective but also fair. A certain amount of climate change is already unavoidable. Inevitably, it will punish the blameless. Because climate change takes disproportionately from the poor, we should design our climate solutions to help the poor disproportionately. In other words, climate solutions should make working families and poor nations economically whole.

How to do this? Next time.

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