Our work is based on the understanding that climate change is the result of colonial and extractive ideologies with racial, gender and class hierarchies at their core. Climate change is also experienced highly unevenly, impacting most severely those who have least contributed to the crisis, especially IBPOC, colonized, working class, and precarious communities/people, particularly in the Global South. For these reasons, efforts to address climate change – including technological, political, and socio-cultural interventions and innovations — have the potential to alleviate, perpetuate, or exacerbate existing inequities and injustices.
Climate justice names the fundamental commitment that responses to climate change should advance equity and address ongoing oppressions. A climate justice perspective is therefore relevant to climate solutions and responses at all scales.
With this understanding, we operate based on the following principles:
- Perspectives on climate justice vary, and are not always aligned with one another. We commit to engaging respectfully and transparently with our research partners to identify shared goals and values, and to forge collaborations based on principles of solidarity and accountability.
- Climate justice requires diverse forms of knowledge and expertise, including many not traditionally represented in the academy.
- Climate justice scholarship must be non-extractive. This requires that community-engaged research be guided by and accountable to community partners, with care taken to cultivate ethical relationships and culturally-appropriate processes of accountability and transparency. Theory and concepts from knowledge traditions that are under-represented in academic scholarship must also be engaged in respectful, culturally-appropriate, and non-extractive ways.
- The Centre for Climate Justice is committed to cultivating right relation with the Indigenous peoples on whose ancestral and unceded lands our work is situated, including the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, and the nsyilxcən speaking Syilx Okanagan Nation and their peoples. We are committed to the ongoing accountabilities involved in building our respectful, reciprocal relationships with these Nations, and to ensuring that our actions and principles align with Nations’ laws, priorities, and self-determination.
The overarching impact we seek is to catalyze and support action toward climate justice both within and outside of UBC. Our focus is both local and global, because global North nationalist responses to a planetary crisis are inherently unjust and insufficient to address the scale of the climate emergency.