Watching Us Drown

Climate change caused by the actions of humans is a kind of oppression because as environmental conditions shift and resources dwindle it makes unprotected citizens more susceptible to inordinate challenges. For example, if water sources decrease and the price of water becomes expensive then low to middle-class people would potentially be at a disadvantage. In a crisis, certain social groups such as people of color, low-income communities, and the disabled are going to experience negative impacts. I would even go further to describe climate change as a form of environmental oppression. Oppression is described as unjust treatment and so, climate change caused by humans should be actively counteracted by those in privileged positions helping the disadvantaged. If those who are privileged just sit and allow those less fortunate to experience the effects of climate change more intensely then they are actively oppressing others. The key word in this situation is access to resources that those in vulnerable social groups lack. Often people in nonideal situations are unable to make decisions for the betterment of their situation so nothing gets resolved. Climate change can cause subtle and large effects including warmer temperatures, lack of products, irrational weather patterns, etc… 

Imagine a homeless person experiencing irrational weather patterns and extreme temperatures. How would they protect themselves? Where can they find shelter? These problems were not being solved in normal conditions and it makes the issue seem to be impossible to resolve in a society of escalating climate change. Often policies imposed on society to reduce climate change are not inclusive of those disproportionately affected. One example is mandating more available public transport or rideshares which would make the cost higher because the demand would be greater; this would affect low-income households. Overall climate change is a conversation of social inequality and inequity. Throughout history, marginalized groups are negatively impacted by the actions of privileged humans. Yes, climate change is a result of all human daily activity but the disproportionate negative experiences certain communities have due to climate change is a form of oppression. Similar to a person with a float watching a woman drown.

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