Is causing climate change a crime?

Is submerging entire nations in sea water a crime? Flooding entire cities? Causing death, destruction and disease???!!???

Whoa! Did anyone actually do those things? (Yes.)

Or maybe the question is: has anyone actually let those things happen? (Yes.)  Do we know who they are? (Yes.) Do they know what they've done? (Yes.)  And are they still letting those things happen? (Yes). Knowingly? (Yes.)  Willfully? (Hmmm....) Seriously--seriously--if we're still asking this question, then maybe we're still not taking climate change, well, seriously.

The truth is: climate change is unfair, unjust and oppressive.  The rich countries responsible for this mess will survive: they have money and resources (accumulated, we should add, from 100+ years of emitting greenhouse gases).


As for the poor countries who aren't even half as guilty--let's just say thing's aren't looking so bright: the most vulnerable of them have to evacuate their entire nations, some have to relocate millions of people from disappearing coastlines, some of them are already faced with the prospect intense rains, typhoons, storms, massive landslides, floods, and everything else in between.

It seems there's no justice in this cruel world.

Or is there?

Enter the Asian People's Climate Court.

Yesterday in Bangkok Asian people highlighted this injustice by hosting a historic climate hearing.

The petitioners are the children of Asia, "among them the Children of Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines, and Thailand, acting for themselves and on behalf of their Generations and Generations yet unborn represented by their parents and by their counsels."

The respondents are the governments and peoples of the world's richest countries, the Group of 8 (G8), namely the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, Italy and Russia.

We heard witnesses testify to grave climate change impacts to their communities in Nepal, The Philippines, Thailand, Bangladesh and Indonesia.  The stories of these farmers, fishermen, women--all ordinary folk struggling to survive in the face of extreme climate consequences are very touching, but the most striking part was their courage in the face of these consequences.

The determination of these community people to face climate change squarely despite limited resources and despite being knocked down repeatedly is a triumph of the human spirit.

The evasion of rich countries to face up to responsibility--moral and legal--will be humankind's most disgraceful moment.  Criminal, truly.

Read the full petition here.

Next up: the verdict.

Lea Gurrero