We’re publishing something different this week. This is the third post in Pro-life Political Perspectives, an ongoing series in which people of various political positions make the case for how opposition to abortion fits into their political worldview. The views of the writers in this series are not those of the Minimise Project as a group: over time we hope to feature people writing from wildly different and even opposed political outlooks.
Today Dane continues the series with a post about why intersectional climate justice and pro-life views don’t have to conflict, but are actually natural complements to each other.
Content Warning: Mentions of sexual violence, racism, dehumanisation and suicide
In this blog post, I want to argue that a pair of movements conventionally thought to be fundamentally in conflict are actually natural allies, namely the intersectional climate movement and pro-life movement. The prevailing narrative is that the pro-life movement as a whole generally tends to look on climate protesters as having misguided and fundamentally damaging economic policy at best, and at worst think that climate change is an excuse for coercive population control measures similar to that in mainland China; while the intersectional left as a whole usually tends to view opposition to abortion as the government imposition of sexist religious views, if not a front for the racist narratives of white supremacists.
On first glance, there is a genuine case for thinking these political battle lines reasonable; it is not hard to on the one hand look at America and pick out examples of Republican reactionaries such as Abby Johnson (who has made egregiously racist comments)(1), or LifeSiteNews (which regularly produces radical right-wing homophobic content)(2) who all vocally oppose abortion while also pushing baseless lies about Trump having won the 2020 presidential election, and on the other hand, the list of public figures who have expressed concerns about both overpopulation and climate change is long, including notable public figures such as Sir David Attenborough, Bill Gates, Al Gore and Prince Charles. I aim to correct some conservative misconceptions of intersectional environmental activism, some mainstream misconceptions of pro-life views and then argue briefly that opposition to abortion and the economic systems which drive climate change need not be in conflict, but instead fit naturally together, and demonstrate that when we take a closer look at the power structures and institutions which drive climate change (or militarism), there is a concerning amount of overlap between those and abortion driving institutions, and that conversely, abortion driving institutions have concerning overlaps with the former pair of power structures. I cannot answer every conceivable objection to my arguments in this blog post, but will happily respond to and welcome robust challenges in the comment section, with the provision that I have no intention of replying to arguments which deny climate science, as they are well outside the scope of what I intend to address here.
What is climate justice?
Climate justice is a political framework which seeks to look specifically at the social and humanitarian consequences of climate change, and its specific disproportionate impacts on marginalised groups, and that seeks to ensure that the economic transition away from fossil fuels and towards a sustainable economy is just and fair towards the global south who contributed the least towards the crisis, accounting for the historic and ongoing emissions of wealthy nations. It is an intersectional framework: that is, one which views the liberation of various marginalised groups from oppression as fundamentally connected, and can be briefly described by civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer’s statement that ‘nobody’s free until everybody’s free’. It is distinct from but related to the topic of environmental racism (a form of racism in which environmental damage disproportionately harms minority groups) and is best illustrated with specific examples.
I will start with the mining and commodities company Glencore, which has a long history of human rights abuses, and specifically focus on the Cerrejon Coal mine in Colombia. Documentation by the Global Legal Action Network demonstrates systemic forced displacement of indigenous communities, along with studies (in Spanish) showing that air pollution from the mine also drives increased cellular damage to people living in the region. Other human rights abuses associated with Glencore are common, in light of stories of Glencore funding paramilitaries which murder climate activists and indigenous peoples who protest against their mines, along with having used child labour in the DRC, in conditions which a local union described as ‘no less than slavery’.
While the scale of human rights abuses by Glencore is (even by the low standards of fossil fuel companies) appalling, it is far from unique. Historic reports by Amnesty International show Shell as complicit in murder, sexual violence and torture in Nigeria, while BP is complicit in the ongoing occupation of West Papua by Indonesia, engages in neocolonialism, and has been described by human rights activist Benny Wenda as ‘supporting an illegal occupation [and] operating in the middle of a genocide’. Similarly, ExxonMobil has a history of responsibility for a slew of human rights abuses in Indonesia, and on top of this knew about human-induced climate change as far back as 1977, yet decided to cover up the truth and later funded disinformation campaigns when the evidence of climate change became more widely known.
Similar patterns of neocolonialism and genocide are observed around opposition to the recently cancelled Keystone pipeline; with the police being willing to use lethal force and using dehumanising genocidal language (police referring to the removal of land defenders as ‘sterilizing [the] site’) against peaceful opposition by land defenders to the pipeline, and arresting people during religious ceremonies to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls; actions which take place against a background of coerced abortions and sterilisations.
That systemic human rights abuses exist as the business model of much of the fossil fuel sector seems undeniable. Even if we were to put this aside though, and pretend that they were not a major part of the sector’s fundamental business model, climate change would still remain fundamentally unjust. When we look at the countries which are being worst affected by the roughly 1℃ of global warming above pre-industrial levels, and which will only be hit harder by the negative effects such as rising sea-levels, droughts, crop shortages, increased rates of mosquito-borne disease and dangerous temperature rises, the worst hit people – who will in large numbers inevitably end up as climate refugees – are disproportionately poor, and when compared to the wealthy countries which have the highest emissions per capita, made almost no meaningful contributions to the crisis, a pattern which becomes even more striking when looking at historical emissions. Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate put it best when she said: ‘We don’t deserve this. Africa is the least emitter of carbons, but we are the most affected by the climate crisis.’
Finally, it needs to be said that blaming overpopulation and/or population growth for the climate crisis is fundamentally a racist narrative which blames African countries for the emissions caused by wealthy countries. When we look at annual birth rates and compare them to GDP per capita or CO2 emissions, there is an obvious negative correlation, and it is at that point obvious that the narrative is functionally an excuse to carry on with ‘business as usual’, rather than challenging the power of fossil fuel companies. It is economic, rather than population growth which drives greenhouse gas emissions. China in this regard is a good illustration of a global pattern, in that while its abusive population control policies had drastic effects on birth rates from 1970 to 2012, greenhouse gas emissions drastically rose over the same period, due to massive economic growth. In addition, one can argue that we cannot disentangle China’s current genocide or history of neocolonialist policy (3) towards Uyghurs from aims of controlling the fossil fuel reserves in Xinjiang/East Turkestan.(4)
Pro-life views are ultimately pro-equality
Having laid out the above information about climate justice, I shall now provide reasons to think that opposition to abortion and the pro-life position more broadly ought to be the stance taken for anybody not opposed to equality. To avoid any confusion over terminology, I use the term pro-life to mean opposition to intentional killing of humans for any reason rather than simply being used as conventionally to refer to opposition to abortion, and sometimes euthanasia and IVF but not war, poverty, systemic racism or
state sanctioned murder the death penalty. Such a viewpoint is referred to in most other contexts as the Consistent Life Ethic or occasionally the ‘seamless garment’.
Amnesty International’s description of ‘the death penalty [as] the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment’ is completely correct. A consistent application of universal, absolute human equality leads us to think that all humans therefore have an equal right not to be killed.(5) At this point it is necessary to ask about the moral status of human fetuses, embryos, zygotes and the like; opposition to aborting them would be obviously silly if they had little or no moral status.
When we look at the scientific consensus around when a human life begins biologically, there is actually a very strong scientific consensus that it starts at conception. PhD student Steve Jacobs questioned a sample of 5,502 biologists over 1,058 academic institutions for his PhD thesis to determine if there is scientific consensus about when human life begins. Despite 85% of the sample self-identifying as pro-choice, 91% of the biologists affirmed that life began at conception, suggesting that from a purely biological perspective, denying that life starts at conception is anti-scientific and is in significant ways, comparable to anti-vax views, or climate science denial.(6)
Upon acceding to the scientific consensus that, biologically speaking, human life begins at conception, it seems that arguments that treat abortion as morally justified in varying circumstances regardless usually boil down either to the idea that pre-born humans are not persons, or that something else exists which means that the choice to abort them is justified regardless.
Drawing a distinction between biological humans and human persons is in no other case that I am aware of viewed as anything but in absolute conflict with being intersectional, and is used to justify atrocities such as torture in Guantanamo Bay, and historically has been used to justify slavery or genocide. The practical effects of drawing such distinctions are dehumanisation and discrimination. An obvious class of examples consists of far-right bigots such as Jair Bolsonaro.(7) Relatedly, the background to an Irish Supreme Court ruling that the unborn had no rights other than the right to life prior to repeal of the 8th Amendment was that the government was attempting to deport a non-citizen who was the father of an unborn Irish child, on the grounds that the right to life was their only legal right. Although this was later ruled moot on the grounds that the child had been born and the judgement did require future rights of the unborn to be taken into account, this is undoubtedly a weaker protection than would be granted by treating pre-born humans as deserving the same rights as born ones – suggesting that expansion of deportation is a plausible legal consequence of opposition to pre-born equality. It is reasonable to conclude that drawing a distinction between humanity and personhood is far-right thinking and anti-equality, and that consequently pre-born humans are among the most marginalised groups of humans, being systemically deprived of basic human rights even in places with legal systems which at the time made a significant effort to restrict abortion access.
When made their strongest, the second main set of arguments in favour of abortion tend to concede at least for the sake of argument that life might begin at conception, but that it is necessary for women’s liberation, along with that of trans and non-binary people. As has been pointed out previously on this blog, individual choice-based arguments for abortion are fundamentally in contradiction to left-wing views, and I shall focus specifically on the philosophical issues with claiming abortion as necessary for the collective liberation of women and non-binary people.
In truth, I find it somewhat paradoxical to see the radical left claiming that the direct killing necessary for certain abortion procedures (such as dilation and evacuation) is a form of liberation. By analogy with war, were it claimed that direct killing was necessary to liberate a marginalised group from e.g. the Taliban, this would be robustly rejected by the radical intersectional left as a conservative argument used to justify increased military spending, and something that further entrenches the existing white supremacy of American foreign policy; which leads me to think that the argument that abortion is liberation is obviously flawed.
It can be reasonably objected here that the intentions of people who perform abortions are not to kill, but simply avoid somebody being pregnant who does not wish to be, and I am willing to concede that this may be true for a subset of abortionists conducting certain procedures (e.g. using abortion pills), to say nothing of those who choose to abort, to say nothing of those who choose to abort. However, these arguments ultimately still fundamentally end up treating the existence of a marginalised group (namely, pre-born humans) as a barrier to the liberation of another marginalised group (pregnant people, or persons capable of pregnancy); and abortion is by definition not compatible with intersectionality if it views the oppression of multiple marginalised groups as mutually exclusive, I therefore find it a paradox that expanding access to abortion is viewed as an essential component of reproductive justice. That abortion only enables women and pregnant people to participate more fully in a society designed for cisgender men through not being pregnant or having children demonstrates that it fails to liberate all women(8), and is in the words of Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa of New Wave Feminists, ‘oppression redistributed’. In this light it is far from surprising that wealthy people are more supportive of abortion than poor people, both within America, and also globally, as can be seen when we look at international attitudes towards abortion.
Further evidence for intersectional pro-life views
Now that I’ve laid all of this out, I will argue that the institutions which drive abortion, climate change and military imperialism are closely linked. I do not seek to argue that all abortion-supportive institutions are necessarily in favour of military imperialism or to blame for the climate crisis, as that is demonstrably false, but simply that there exist reasons to think that liberation of pre-born humans and those oppressed by climate colonialism or militarism go hand in hand. Additionally, I will note – for the sake of calling out behaviour that I will demonstrate is hypocritical, and which I criticise a large abortion provider for later on – that along with more or less every Republican politician, there sadly are a number of anti-abortion groups which are willing to take donations from fossil fuel and arms companies, with the Susan B. Anthony List one particularly notable example.(9)
I noted in the previous section that there were some fundamental tensions between the ideas of the intersectional left and the philosophical ideas underpinning abortion as justified, which tend to revolve around the idea that it is a necessary form of violence. This is based on an extremely individualistic conception of autonomy and personal choice, while denying scientific consensus in a similar way to the fossil fuel industry, and drawing distinctions between being human and a person, similarly to the extreme far right. As the country which more than any other is responsible for driving global capitalism and militarism, I shall focus my attention on America, though it is worth noting that interesting connections exist elsewhere. A specific example of this is abortion provider Marie Stopes International, which has as one of its funders in Papua New Guinea the Oil Search Foundation, which describes itself as ‘a key player in PNG’s oil and gas industry’. Specifically, I will consider as case studies the Rockefeller Foundation, the US military, the billionaire class as a whole, and finally look at Planned Parenthood itself.
Moving back to America, I will start by looking at the Rockefeller Foundation, named after the oil tycoon who created it, a man who was, adjusting for inflation, the wealthiest American to have lived, and a co-founder of the Standard Oil company, which was at its peak the world’s largest oil company before being broken up under antitrust legislation. When we take a look at his legacy, his philanthropic foundation was responsible for the design of the atomic bomb and, perhaps most unjustifiable of all, funded the Nazi ‘Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics’, a group which worked with Josef Mengele, who, curiously enough, performed illegal abortions in Argentina in the later portion of his life.
While the foundation has recently made steps to divest from fossil fuels and is now opposed to nuclear weapons, the foundation has directly funded the expansion of RU-486, a more technical name for abortion pills, and the influences of capital in promoting abortion seem obvious. Curiously enough, the abortion pill was developed by Roussel-Uclaf, whose parent company Hoechst AG arose from the breakup of IG Farben, which had links to the Rockefeller Foundation through Exxon, one of the companies which the Standard Oil Company was broken into.
Godwin’s law now demonstrated once more, these patterns of capital and the fossil fuel industry being directly supportive of abortions are far from unique. I will look briefly at the US military.
Were the US military a country it would, as of 2019, emit more greenhouse gases than individual 140 countries, and its role in overthrowing democratically elected governments and promoting the white supremacy intrinsic to the United States(10) cannot be understated.
Alongside the abortions indirectly caused by the humanitarian crises that it leaves in its wake, and those who it murders via bombings (pre-born children included), it also directly funds research which relies on abortion, and clearly pressures its pregnant soldiers towards abortion, despite the best efforts of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg to change this. To be clear though, I think that there is no way to have a military which isn’t hostile to pregnancy, and this is just one argument among many that makes me support unilateral military abolition.
A further potential abortion connection to note is that if John Whitehead of the Consistent Life Network is correct in his historical analysis, the US military bears a direct responsibility for Japan’s legalisation of abortion, through its quite honestly genocidal use of nuclear weapons (something which I have a personal connection to, as my late maternal grandmother was a survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing). Regardless of whether John Whitehead is correct, the omnicidal logic of nuclear weapons, and the willingness of the US military to potentially use and develop new nuclear weapons, combined with its general record of bombing children and pushing people towards abortion, suggests that ‘baby-killers’ is an entirely fair description of the US military – and remains so even if I am completely wrong about the ethics of abortion.
The same patterns tend to repeat when we consider America’s billionaires. This said, I wish to address one objection upfront, namely the Wilks Brothers, a pair of Texas billionaires who set up a fracking company and also donate to large numbers of abortion-opposed groups. As pointed out by this pro-choice source (which rightly criticises the extremism of Texas Republicans, including potentially giving abortionists and those who abort the death penalty), fracking has been linked to increased rates of miscarriage. I think it’s fair to say that the Wilks Brothers are bringing fossil fuel greenwashing tactics over to anti-abortion movements, whether intentionally or not. Claiming them as beneficial to the pro-life movement strikes me as similar to claiming that fossil fuel companies which use tiny percentages of renewable energy to greenwash are therefore part of the solution, so is obviously wrong – particularly since they backed bills which would expand the death penalty.
When we look at the broadest effects of the billionaire class, they fundamentally make their money through exploitation and low wages, and I think it totally reasonable to argue that their unwillingness to redistribute their wealth is to blame for extreme poverty globally – and of particular relevance due to this having risen quite drastically during the current pandemic. Research from 2005 by the (pro-choice) Guttmacher Institute states that in 73% of cases, a cited reason why women seek abortion is ‘that [they] could not afford a baby now’, and further research states that ‘[i]n 2014, three-fourths of [those who had abortions] were low income – 49% living at less than the federal poverty level, and 26% living at 100-199% of the poverty level’. This general pattern also holds globally, and income inequality and the extreme wealth of the ultra-rich is fundamentally to blame.
Of the wealthiest 25 Americans by net worth (as of November 2020 and according to the Forbes 400), I am not aware of any of them having made public statements opposing abortion other than debatably Rob Walton, and some of them have actively spent their philanthropic monies on directly promoting it. While some of these billionaires donate to Republicans, it seems more plausible to think that the political contributions are intended to lobby for conservative economic policy rather than demonstrating opposition to abortion; since as a group, they also donate to centrist or conservative Democrats, presumably to try to ensure that Democrats don’t raise their taxes. If any of these billionaires thought abortion a human rights abuse, we would expect to see them funding either direct lobbying on the issue or else crisis pregnancy centres, as the Wilks Brothers do, suggesting that each of them is either indifferent to the issue or supportive of legal abortion.
Among the list of these 25 billionaires who explicitly support abortion are Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Michael Bloomberg. I will examine each in turn very quickly, looking both at their abortion lobbying and actions aiding the fossil fuel sector, starting with the richest and moving down.
Bill Gates: Best known as the founder of Microsoft and for his philanthropy, Bill Gates remains heavily invested in the fossil fuel sector, despite his willingness to invest in renewable technologies and is a rather firm opponent of divestment, totally missing the point that divestment is designed to starve the fossil fuel industry of cash and political influence. The most immediate word that comes to mind for me is greenwashing.
Despite claims by Melinda Gates in 2014 that their foundation would not fund abortion, this is demonstrably false.
The Gates Foundation has directly funded Planned Parenthood, DKT International and Gynuity Health Projects since 2014, all of which provide abortions. I am aware of no hard evidence that the donations were earmarked for projects which are explicitly not abortion related, and even if this was the case, giving such organisations money frees up more capital for them to spend on projects which are explicitly abortion related, in much the same way that donating to a fossil fuel company with a handful of renewable energy sources frees up its capital to spend on finding new oil reserves.
Warren Buffett: Investor Warren Buffett is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, an investment fund which last year made a $10 billion investment into natural gas company Dominion Energy and within the last few weeks, a $4.1 billion investment into oil company Chevron, which from rough calculations and a comparison with 2016 is a significant expansion of exposure towards the fossil fuel sector, and furthermore, Warren Buffett opposed shareholder resolutions that required disclosing climate risks or setting company greenhouse gas targets. He is also responsible for lobbying against abortion regulations in Texas designed to close abortion providers, spending through his foundation $1.5 billion on lobbying for additional abortion access, from 2001 to 2014, and which was described by a pro-choice journalist at Mother Jones as ‘known for its secrecy’.
Michael Bloomberg: He is perhaps best known for his widely derided run in the 2020 Democratic primary and being the target of sustained criticism by Elizabeth Warren for trapping women who accused him of sexual harassment with NDAs, and his motivations for running were that he wanted to stop the Democratic Party from selecting a left-wing candidate. While he does genuinely have a good record of attacking the coal industry, he is also heavily supportive of fracking and natural gas, and has investments in both oil and natural gas, suggesting his climate credentials are somewhat suspect and his plans to tackle climate change are greenwash. On abortion, he is reported by the Washington Post as saying to his employees ‘Kill it!’ and ‘Great! Number 16!’ after one of his employees announced that they were pregnant. As he is an opponent of universal healthcare but a supporter of repealing the Hyde Amendment (which prohibits federal funds being spent on abortion other than in cases of life, rape or incest) and is otherwise fairly conventional among Democratic candidates in terms of his abortion policy, it seems rather clear that he is only in favour of one choice on abortion; particularly in light of reports that he is concerned about overpopulation, all of which is hardly surprising in light of his racist crime policies and praise of Xi Jinping.
A similar pattern of support for capital, and links to fossil fuel industry in particular, is observed when we look at Planned Parenthood, which is the largest abortion provider in the United States, accounting for roughly 40% of abortions in 2019 according to rough estimates by a pro-life organisation. Among the list of conservative actions by its various affiliates are a long history of union-busting, including siding with the Trump administration in 2018, opposing universal healthcare in Colorado and California, failing to pay their staff a living wage of at least $15/hour, amid charges by staff of systemic racism and other poor labour conditions, a pattern corroborated in part by an internal racism audit. Very quickly looking outside of America, the allegations which are perhaps most troubling of all are the links between the International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF) and the Chinese Communist Party’s ‘family planning’, due to the willingness of the IPPF to repeat lies about it being voluntary there, and actively seeking out new partnerships, something which is obviously of great concern in light of China’s genocide against the Uyghurs, and the pattern of forced abortions/sterilisations in China, both against Uyghurs and more broadly.
The same sorts of unethical behaviour are observed when it comes to Planned Parenthood’s apparent willingness to accept donations from more or less any corporate source. Among the companies which Planned Parenthood has accepted, or openly solicits direct donations from, are fossil fuel funding banks, including but not limited to the Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo; arms company BAE Systems; and oil companies BP (see also here and here), Chevron, Exxon and Shell; along with oil tycoon Lee Fikes. Interestingly, Planned Parenthood expressed alarm at Rex Tillerson’s nomination, saying that he ‘has an international track record of putting corporate profit over the fundamental rights of people’, though this did not seem to deter them from taking donations from Exxon at a time when he was still the CEO, nor has it deterred them from accepting a $1,000 donation from Exxon in the 2020 election cycle. While some of these direct fossil fuel company donations are through employee donation matching schemes, not all of them are, and this raises the question of why Planned Parenthood allows the oil industry to use them as a form of social license, to avoid criticism of its environmental destruction and broader human rights abuses.
Overlap with the oil industry also exists among staff as well, as can be seen from the fact that the current head of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains previously had a long career in Schlumberger, an oilfield services company.
In conclusion, we have seen from America that the largest abortion provider is in the oil industry’s grasp, and that to a great degree when we look at the power structures of capital more broadly, abortion is fundamentally a neoliberal institution. If, as demonstrated earlier, the underlying philosophy behind abortion is also fundamentally opposed to the egalitarian values generally espoused by the intersectional left, we must surely conclude that it remains an obstacle to our collective liberation from capital – and irreconcilably opposed to climate justice.
(1) Examples of Abby Johnson’s objectionable comments include her defences of racial profiling, attendance at the attempted coup of the US capitol by white supremacists, and other more explicit uses of racist language.
(2) I must admit that I do not want to directly link to their website, due to the fact that they seem to have recently gone full-on ‘alt-right’, if not fully Q-Anon; I don’t want to give them ad-revenue (ad-blockers being a good way to avoid this). Two good summaries of their extremism on other websites are here and here. Despite LifeSiteNews being correct on abortion being killing of humans, LifeSiteNews is undoubtedly spreading misinformation even around this topic, such as claiming that Covid vaccines contain cells from aborted fetuses. Although LifeSiteNews is technically Canadian, they do wade into US politics and think my argument still holds – and even if not, the broader point would still apply to e.g. Breitbart.
(3) I don’t wish to get overly sidetracked into proving this claim here, though a very quick note is that Xinjiang can be translated as ‘New frontier’, so it’s not unreasonable to think that the CCP’s policy there is neocolonialist at best.
(4) While I am aware that I need to conjecture slightly and could hypothetically be wrong, I think it perfectly reasonable to conclude that the situation here is similar to what the left will argue was the real motivation behind the Iraq war (due to the lack of WMD found), namely that security/anti-terroism was only a false pretext used to gain control of fossil fuel reserves.
(5) For various reasons, primarily lack of space, I am not going to address obvious objections such as self-defence against lethal force. I’m aware that in taking the above stance, I also open up a whole new can of worms around the ethics of euthanasia and assisted suicide. I don’t think that it can strictly speaking be fully and freely consented to, and irrespective of that, contend that there are still other reasons to think it wrong, but this is an aside.
(6) The statement that ‘[t]he end product of mammalian fertilisation is a fertilised egg (“zygote”), a new mammalian organism in the first stage of its species’ life cycle with its species’ genome’ was affirmed by 91% of the sample.
(7) Examples of Bolsonaro’s ‘distinctions’ include statements explicitly treating indigeneous peoples as sub-human, or comparing black Brazilians to animals.
(8) To be as clear as possible, trans women are women, and non-binary identities are real. To back up my claims, see this and this.
(9) The Susan B Anthony List accepted donations in 2020 from the arms company Lockheed Martin, and fossil fuel companies BP, ExxonMobil and Amerikohl Mining.
(10) I think that the United States has always been systemically racist (one short set of arguments can be found here), but even if this wasn’t the case, and white supremacy specifically within the US was a more recent phenomenon or non-existent, the US military as an institution objectively treats non-American lives as worth less than American ones and has a long, long history of war crimes, so it’s still systemically racist!
Partial climate justice reading list
I’ve taken these references largely from within the climate activist group I’m involved in, and I cannot pretend that I have read everything here by any means. It’s left here for general education about climate justice, and I cannot pretend that I would necessarily endorse every single view put forward. Additionally, a small number of these links are repeated from above, and as in the introduction content warnings around sexual violence, racism and dehumanisation apply.
- New York Times article about forced climate migration https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/07/23/magazine/climate-migration.html?smid=em-share
- Two articles from Amnesty International about Shell’s actions in Nigeria: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/11/shell-false-claims-about-oil-pollution-exposed/ and https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/11/investigate-shell-for-complicity-in-murder-rape-and-torture/
- Two BP related articles: https://mondediplo.com/outsidein/big-oil-s-ethical-violence and https://newmatilda.com/2018/11/05/special-investigation-bp-west-papua-slow-motion-genocide-high-speed-profit/
- Some horrible facts about ExxonMobil’s actions in Indonesia: https://100r.org/2015/07/exxon-human-rights-case-survives-claim-that-execs-knew-all-along/
- ‘Neo-colonialism fuels your car’: An article specifically about neo-colonialism in fossil fuel companies: https://brownpoliticalreview.org/2019/04/neo-colonialism-fueling-car/
- ‘The dark side of coal’: A rather long report around human rights abuses in coal mining – but even the introduction is quite shocking! https://www.paxforpeace.nl/publications/all-publications/the-dark-side-of-coal
- Some reading about the Cerrejon coal mine: https://www.glanlaw.org/cerrejon-coal
- Opinion piece about Canada and neocolonialism: https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2020/02/06/Wetsuweten-Raids-Canada-Chooses-Colonialism-Again/
- Document on settler colonialism in Canada: https://redpaper.yellowheadinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/red-paper-report-final.pdf
- Extraction education – Indigenous perspectives: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJQqk7zLrAI
- Climate Colonialism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7uOGgi3dCM
- Invasion: a short 20 minute film about ‘the Unist’ot’en Camp, Gidimt’en checkpoint and the larger Wet’suwet’en Nation standing up to the Canadian government and corporations who continue colonial violence against Indigenous people’ https://unistoten.camp/media/invasion/
- Gender and Climate Change: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7eltLYV5Dg
- Race and Climate: Compounding injustices – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJ69G5faALQ
- Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future (Mary Robinson, 2018), 163 pp
- The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming (David Wallace-Wells, 2019), 241 pp
- Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate (2014) https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/english/currentstudents/undergraduate/modules/fulllist/special/litenvironecol/syllabus20-21/naomi-klein-this-changes-everything-capitalism-vs-the-climate.pdf
- C.W. Tessum et al., ‘Inequity in consumption of goods and services adds to racial-ethnic disparities in air pollution exposure’, PNAS 116:13 (2019), 6001-6006
- R. Nixon, ‘Pipedreams: Ken Saro-Wiwa, Environmental Justice and Micro-Minority Rights’ in Slow violence and the environmentalism of the poor (London: Harvard University Press, 2011)
- C.E. Hernández Reyes, ‘Black women’s struggles against extractivism, land dispossession, and marginalization in Colombia’, Latin American Perspectives 46 (2) (2019), 217-234.
Thanks for sharing.
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