Skip to main content

Traces of Classism in Climate Activism

Upon the release of the most recent UN report authored by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, NASA climate scientist Peter Kalmus decided enough was enough as he and his colleagues protested humankind’s blatant disregard for the alarming consequences of climate change.

As the scientists’ efforts spread through news sites and social media, you best know that our netizens and climate activists had tons to say. Hashtag #LetTheEarthBreathe hit the twitter trends with about 31.2K tweets, and among those are tweets to spread awareness, ways to mitigate climate change, and the deletion of emails to reduce carbon footprints.

Unfortunately, along with these tweets to mitigate climate change was an undertone of classist viewpoints. Netizens also criticized and shamed consumers who purchase non-sustainable goods like clothes from the fast-fashion industry, which is responsible for 4% of greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide and 35% of microplastics in the ocean.

Fact is: going green is a privilege of wealth. Let us talk practicality- a piece from a non-fast-fashion brand would be equivalent to around three to five pieces of clothing from a fast-fashion brand. So, would you expect a person from the working class to spend their savings on just one piece rather than three for the sake of climate action? Keep in mind, our given scenario was just in consideration for the working class, so what about those in poverty?

It is high time that people threw eco-fascism and sustainability shaming out of the window and started demanding more from the government and big corporations that are responsible for our environment’s ruin. Climate activism should be fighting the big capitalist tycoons instead of shaming ordinary folk. Indeed, our individual changes can be of immense help, but they can only go so far.

The true enemy here is capitalism and for that very reason, the government and big corporations should be held accountable. They can do so much like the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies that not only generate more revenue for other sectors that need attention but also lessens the number of drilled oil and gas reserves that could help lessen pollution. Also, among their many options is the switch to sustainable suppliers, greener infrastructures and equipment, and renewable energies.

We claim to aim for development and yet the very planet we live in is declining, and when all else fails, we pin the blame on those who cannot afford change. However, let us remind ourselves that individual changes and classism will not fight the climate crisis. With that in mind, the fate of our environment mostly lies in our efforts towards adaptation rather than mitigation.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

Scroll to Continue

© 2022 Heleina Taeza

Related Articles