Thinking global, living local: Voices in a globalized world

Can we survive climate change without democracy?

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After watching this video, my first thoughts were, ‘Island nations that emit .06% of global greenhouse gases are the ones that are disappearing…what?’ I think about what climate change means and I start to break it down, it means that our ecological system is changing, are we ready for it and should we want it? I once attended an “Ecology 101″ lecture at a popular music festival in Queensland and the lecturer from Griffith University said, “There are many ways climate change can happen, there is climate change and then there is ecosystem collapse…ecosystem collapse is irreparable.” When we talk about interrelations of global trends, the ecological system works in much the same way. You take away one part and the rest of it collapses.  You dump waste in one part of the ocean, the other part will be affected. This same concept has even been explored by Isaac Newton in his Third Law of Motion, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Our political solutions need to be geared toward this very same approach, we need to be more “ecological” in our approach to climate change and the best way of doing so, is through a system that allows for diversity and equality of parts.

“It looks like in the future…there will be no island…”

Islands in the Pacific are disappearing. Attempts at reaching a global consensus about how best to address climate change are failing and the Pacific is running out of time. We can’t sit around to wait for decisions to be made while others watch as their homes are swept away by rising water levels and our ecosystem is destroyed by warming waters.

The state should respond to it’s local efforts but for global issues, we must all participate.

The process of democracy is to include the many voices of the people and at the moment, the people aren’t being heard.  Voices from the Pacific, where climate change takes its heaviest toll, need to be heard. If the process of democracy separated itself from the conventional top-down notion of governance, we would probably not even need to consult the ‘sovereign’ and start making incredible leaps towards effective climate change solutions. Solutions that are inclusive and truly democratic. Why does the process of democracy need to happen within a situated sovereign territory? Democracy is a lived and shared experience and can be realized by people without the consent of governments. Do we need global democracy more now than ever in this ever increasing interconnected world? YES!

Climate change NEEDS democracy. Global efforts at exploring global democracy are already well underway and it is these key points that highlight the benefits of democracy and the challenging but ultimately holistic approach it presents to a global issue such as climate change.

That’s why I agree with the very last paragraph of this discussion, that it’s ‘us who really know how to make change.’ It is up to ‘us’ to take leadership and come up with fresh ideas. So the question is not, ‘can democracy survive climate change?‘ it is, ‘can we survive climate change without democracy?’

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Lourdes Gomez Twitter: @shmershmezLourdes

I live in Brisbane, Australia where I work as a writer, study Peace and Conflict and International Relations. I have pursued a keen interest in human rights and environmental advocacy, creating The Earthworm as online publications for advocacy and knowledge sharing. Writing for Future Challenges, means that we can explore some of the most significant, transformational and pertinent issues of our world.

Comments

  • Anneliese Guess

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    One of the problems in helping Small Island Nations is the fact that many people do not know they exist, let alone that they are in danger of disappearing. In order to raise awareness of the plight of the Maldives, President Mohammad Nasheed held a cabinet meeting underwater in Male: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/6356036/Maldives-government-holds-underwater-cabinet-meeting.html Actions like these could help raise awareness.

    The Maldivian government is also attempting to raise money for a resettlement fund, which will help future generations buy new land and maintain their cultural identity when their current territory disappears. This, however raises questions like: which country would give up territory so that the Maldives could have their own sovereign territory? And also: would the Maldivian language/culture/community survive a move? (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7719501.stm)

    I agree that “we need global democracy more now than ever in this ever increasing interconnected world” and furthermore we need global governance and IOs that address the needs of the small island states that do not have the resources or might to combat climate change or plan for the future.

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