climate change human rights issue

Last week the United Nations Conference on Climate Change concluded, but now our work begins. I encourage you to learn more about what came of the conference, and look at some of the progress that was made: .

One thing we need to keep in mind is the fact that climate change is largely caused by the nations that will be the last to be most severely affected by it. But since we are causing it, we have a responsibility to help all others affected by it. It is our mess to clean up, and the generations to come will judge us based on whether we realize this in time or not.

Time is already running out. For some countries, their right to self-determination is threatened. Entire countries will become submerged in water, and entire populations of countries will be displaced. We cannot pretend that the reality of dealing with climate change refugees is in the near future, and we must plan to prepare for it now. The costs, both financial and on human life, will otherwise be too much for us to handle. The right to self-determination is the final of six rights that the United Nations Office of the Human Rights Commissioner outlined are threatened by climate change.

In total, we have reviewed six rights that will be threatened by climate change. They are: the right to water, food, health, adequate housing, life, and self-determination.

I hope that these blogs have put into perspective the fact that climate change is not simply an economic or environmental issue: it is a human issue. We are all going to be affected by it – whether or not we care to admit it or care to plan for it, we will all have to deal with the consequences. Let us prepare for the changes we know are inevitable, and let us take climate change, the entirety of it, as seriously as possible as we decide what to do with the years to come.