Comment - Social Justice
The Philosophical Basis of the Green Party - For the Change by Jean Robertson-Molloy.
Why are issues of Social Justice and
Environmental Protection Inseparable?
The recent Green Party Conference in Nottingham voted to strengthen
the Social Justice part of the Greens' statement of basic principles. For me,
issues of social justice are fundamental; first for our reasons for trying to
protect the environment, then for our methods for protecting the
environment, and finally for our policies for dealing with today's clearly
And to look at it from the other side as it were, it also seems to me that
anyone campaigning for social justice must sooner or later accept that our
present way of dealing with the environment is destroying the lives of
many people around the world, but especially the poor.
Caroline Lucas herself made these connections very clearly at a recent
parliamentary session when she stated 'It has been estimated that for the
cost of one nuclear reactor, 7 million households could be lifted out of
And the people who are suffering most from climate change today are not
the rich western countries, but those in many parts of Africa and Asia
where land has been eroded, water has been drained off to promote big
business enterprises, and food is being exported to richer countries just as
potatoes and grain were imported from Ireland to England at the time of
the potato famine.
So how are we protecting the environment today? Do we object to
fracking because of its effects on the environment or because it may well
harm people living near such activities? Or both? And how do we deal
with pollution? Do we put incinerators in leafy Hampstead or Islington,
or dump them in deprived areas where people are too exhausted to fight
And what is our attitude to protecting the future of the environment? Our
government seems quite determined to avoid much thought about
climate change because, frankly, the rich can always avoid the worst of it,
by simply flying off to somewhere more comfortable whenever they like.
Perhaps, now that even the short term effects are staring them in the face,
they will start to get interested? I doubt it. So those of us who do care,
must speak up now, to show people there are better ways of organising
First published in the EGP members newsletter, May 2013