Why Fossil Capital is incompatible with social justice

February 19, 2021

Fossil capital exacerbates the climate crisis and perpetuates a damaged, deeply unfair system that rewards greed at the cost of people and planet.

A global week of action was organized by the Fight Inequality Alliance to highlight the growing gap between the rich and the poor. In the Philippines, national movements, people’s organizations, non-government and civil society groups held an assembly and concert at an impoverished community in Intramuros at the heart of the country’s capital, Manila. © Jilson Tiu / Greenpeace

© Jilson Tiu / Greenpeace

What is fossil capital?

The world we live in has been built around an economic system that prioritizes never-ending growth over the welfare of people and the planet. This system plunders our planet’s resources while oppressing our most vulnerable. It perpetuates structural inequalities and deepens the climate crisis and fossil fuels are at its core. It is known as “Fossil Capital“.

How it works

In 2008, using the financial crisis as an opportunity, fossil fuel companies and governments sacrificed our future in the name of economic growth, punishing the least responsible with “austerity” measures. All while exacerbating the climate crisis and perpetuating a damaged and deeply unfair system that rewards their greed at the cost of the planet and people.

The consequences of this model have resulted in a multitude of interlinked crises, including climate change, social and economical inequality, all of which deepened with the coronavirus pandemic. And as we try to recover from COVID-19, they are trying to do this again.

Why it matters

As with all crises, the people already facing the most oppression and inequalities are the ones paying the highest price—and the only ones benefiting from it are the ones who already have the most power.

To date, thousands of people have already been killed by climate disasters and millions have been impacted, especially Indigenous and marginalized communities. The youth of the planet is suffering from unemployment, low wages, stagnant job markets, and obstacles to building their own future. Women and lower-income communities are also the hardest hit. At the same time, biodiversity loss is increasing at an unprecedented rate.

Dukhdev Tikadar, living in Ghoramara island, is one of the many people affected by sea level rise: “I fish in the river and I love this place.” Scientists estimate that over 70,000 people, will be displaced from the Sundarbans due to sea level rise by the year 2030.

As Togo’s climate justice activist Kaossara Sani states, “Rich supremacy is killing the planet. Every silence and inaction in rich and industrialized countries for climate is a crime against nature, humanity and a threat to social justice in poor countries.”

© Kaossara Sani, co-founder ACT ON SAHEL MOVEMENT

What can we do?

We can’t be silent, we have to act.

It’s time to break the system, it’s time to unite and reclaim our power from the ones who have used it against life in all its forms. It’s time to resist and make them accountable for the damage they have made. It is time for the #FossilFreeRevolution! Stay tuned!

Georgia Whitaker, Lead Campaigner Greenpeace Fossil Free Revolution

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