Climate colonialism or green colonialism refers to the Global North living at the ecological expense of the Global South for their green agendas. The actions of the already-developed and industrialised nations result in indigenous land takeovers, resource extraction and labour exploitation across the world. The Global North is the main driver of climate change and environmental degradation. 92% of the world’s cumulative carbon emissions come from the Global North while the Global South is found to suffer the most from extreme weather events.
Why is it important?
It is important because it takes advantage of the communities of Africa, Asia and Latin America. There is an increased demand for metals like nickel, cobalt and lithium to be used for greener sources of energy. The miners are found to face dangerous and degrading conditions. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), for example, child labour is used in cobalt mines. The lives of these children are put at risk. In Bolivia, Chile and Argentina where lithium mining takes place, the process uses large quantities of water which accelerates desertification and pollutes the water system. It is said that the EU’s Green New Deal perpetuates climate colonialism as they continue to outsource damage to the rest of the world while taking credit for their green credentials.
What can businesses do about it?
Both employees and customers will not take kindly to unjust and unfair practices from companies. Policymakers and businesses should implement conservation and environmental programmes in consultation with indigenous communities. They should also be held accountable for the injustices that they bring about. These communities have been custodians of the ecosystems for centuries. In countries like Ecuador, Mexico and Peru, indigenous and tribal communities have been paid for their environmental services and this has reduced deforestation. Transitioning to a greener future is an important and worthwhile endeavour. However, this must be done responsibly by taking the rights of every citizen in the world into consideration and including them in the global sustainable future vision.
By Faeeza Khan
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Image credit: Earth Works