“The ‘oxygen of publicity”’ is a vital ingredient of any attempt to tackle the climate emergency and to implement solutions that benefit the whole world,” writes Philip Lee, WACC general secretary and co-editor of Communicating Climate Justice, a new book co-published by WACC’s Centre for Communication Rights and Southbound, an independent scholarly publishing house in Malaysia.
Without accessible, affordable, equitable, diverse, truthful and transparent communication “there will be no climate justice,” Lee stresses in the book’s introduction, Climate Justice Depends on Communication Justice.
Acknowledging that “the climate emergency is the most urgent existential challenge of our time,” Communicating Climate Change has five chapters that explore and illustrate various “people-oriented” approaches to communicating climate change.
In Local Climate Voices Raise a Rising Sea of Protest, co-editor and WACC programme manager Lorenzo Vargas examines climate change from various prisms: its impact on the most vulnerable, the inaction of the world’s most powerful countries, human rights, the climate justice movement, racial justice, Indigenous justice, and communication rights. He concludes that unless the stories by grassroots climate change activists and vulnerable communities are seen and shared widely, and they have the communication tools and skills to organize, “it will be very difficult to generate the political will at the national and international level that will result in swift action to tackle this crisis.”
Dorothy Kidd, professor of media and international studies at the University of San Francisco, examines Indigenous-led anti-pipeline campaigns in North America in the chapter, Practicing Communication Rights, Embodying Environmental Justice.
“Indigenous communities in North America find themselves on the front-lines of and subject to some of the most toxic effects of environmental devastation and climate change,” writes Kidd. “Nevertheless, they are also providing crucial leadership in economic, political, cultural and communications challenges particularly in relationship to the fossil fuel and other extractive industries.”
Vargas also authors another chapter, Integrating Traditional Ecological Knowledge into Climate Policy: A Practical Application of “Epistemologies of the South,” In it, he asserts that, “traditional approaches to climate justice have enormous potential to give direction and meaning to climate policy interventions.”
In Community Narratives on Climate Change Voices and Whispers in the Paramos, Colombian political scientist Carolina Martinez explores the role that community radio has played in in “community eco-education,” of people living in the Andean heights.
“Voces y Susurros de los Paramos (Voices and Whispers in the Paramos) is a network that uses community radio to contribute a pedagogical approach to the fight for nature and for life,” she writes. “In spite of the huge developments in technology and connectivity, people in Colombia still love the radio and it as part of their lives. In the rural world, it is the ideal partner for long hours of work, particularly in the paramos, where farmers settle down on the slopes of this imposing ecosystem.”
Communicating Climate Justice is dedicated to “the millions of people worldwide who are struggling to create a better world by advancing and defending their right to communicate.” It is available for purchase here.