Monday, November 29

The climate emergency will uncover other social crises

“We know that the climate crisis will end up affecting the entire planet, but that it does not mean that everyone suffers it equally. The ability of a rich country to recover from extreme floods is not the same as a poor country. Nor will an extreme heat wave affect an office worker the same as another who works outdoors “, Iza and Castaño explain in an interview with EL PERIÓDICO, a newspaper belonging to the same communication group as this medium.Against the flood‘, both scientists reflect on climate change as “amplifier of social inequalities“.

“We know that the climate crisis will end up affecting the entire planet, but that does not mean that everyone will suffer it equally”

Maddalen Iza and Antonio Castaño – Members of the platform ‘Against the flood’


Housing crisis

The climate crisis could further aggravate the housing crisis. In countries like Spain, where access to decent housing continues to be a problem, what will happen when the poorest households cannot cope with extreme weather conditions? Iza and Castaño speak, for example, of right to adequate air conditioning both in winter What in summer, and how this will be key in a future in which climatic extremes will increase. Especially in the Mediterranean, one of the parts of the planet most affected by global warming.

“What will happen in humble homes, of poorer quality and worse insulated, when there is an extreme heat wave and they do not have enough to cool off? And in schools in poor neighborhoods? Heat strokes will affect, above all, places not acclimatized to the new temperatures“, they comment. Currently, it is estimated that more than 10% of Spanish households it does not manage to maintain a suitable temperature neither in winter nor in summer. This lack not only uncovers a structural inequality between households, it also exposes the most vulnerable groups to new health, food and even hygiene problems.

“What will happen in humble homes, of poorer quality and worse insulated, when there is an extreme heat wave and they do not have enough to cool themselves with?”


Collateral victims

The advance of the climate crisis will affect everyone, but not everyone will suffer it in the same way. “Just as with the pandemic we spoke of toilets and ATMs as the most exposed to the virus, with the climate crisis the same will happen. people who work outdoors will be the most exposed to extreme weather conditions“, Iza and Castaño explain. These scientists and activists speak, for example, of the temporary as one of the groups most affected by climatic extremes. “The seasonal workers will be exposed to even more inequalities. We are talking about migrants, poor, without papers who, in addition, will end up working with extreme weather conditions“, they explain.

The example can be extrapolated to other groups such as workers, farmers, fishermen, ranchers and even waiters. That is, to all those who carry out their work activity outdoors. At this time, Spanish legislation already prohibits working outdoors with wind chill above 32 degrees and indoors with temperatures above 27. But what will happen in a world that will gradually increase its temperature? Will the work of these groups be stopped or will these people be exposed to extreme temperatures?

“People who work outdoors will be the most exposed to extreme weather”


A study by the International Labor Organization (ILO), published in July 2019, estimated that if the global temperature continues to rise to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century, By 2030, 2.2% of the world’s working hours will have been lost by thermal stress. The entity also estimates that in less than ten years around 80 million full-time jobs as a consequence of the climate crisis. Losses could amount to up to $ 2.4 billion. And, once again, those most affected by this phenomenon would be poor countries and groups at risk of social exclusion.

In search of solutions

Sooner or later, the advance of the climate crisis will put on the table thorny debates. Especially in a society whose lifestyle is unsustainable for the planet. “We have been living with a consumption that goes far beyond what the planet can provide us. The industrialized countries have not only exhausted the resources of the poor countries but, in addition, we have mortgaged the future of the generations to come, here and there. in other places “, Iza and Castaño wield. For this reason, both scientists claim to start “a just ecological transition that leaves no one behind“.

“We must facilitate more sustainable, fair and affordable ways of life for the majority”


But how do you build a collective solution to the climate crisis? From ‘Against the Deluge’ they defend putting the needs of the citizen at the center. “You can’t fight polluting vehicles alone increasing the price of gasoline because, in the end, the losers are the poorest, those who cannot pay the increase, while the rich can continue to allow themselves to pollute. A possible solution would be, on the one hand, to guarantee that public transport works properly and, on the other, that citizens have everything they need within a ten-minute walk from their home “, comment Iza and Castaño.”More sustainable, fair and affordable ways of life must be facilitated for the majority“They settle. The discussion on how to stop the climate crisis is starting now.

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