World Refugee Day Raises Justice Concerns

Protestors with banners bearing climate justice slogans outside a government building. Photo by Lawrence Makoona on Unsplash

On World Refugee Day, June 20th, the United Nations asks us to celebrate the right to seek safety, which refugees seek to exercise.

Whether we welcome refugees in empathy or worry about the huge numbers predicted from the climate crisis, there is one ethical and practical dilemma we must never but frequently do ignore: do our actions through our consumer choices contribute to why refugees must flee their home countries in the first place?

Factory-farmed meat is raised on soya feedstuffs grown on deforested Amazon rainforest land; rare earth metals for mobile phones are mined in the Congo by war lords fighting civil wars; carbon emissions from Europe cause global warming and so droughts across Africa, extreme rains in North Africa and Pakistan, and record-breaking typhoons in the Philippines.

There is no justice in this situation. We should eat less factory-farmed meat, buy our new tech hardware from good manufacturers, and burn less fossil fuels, both for people far away, and for our own good. In general, the smarter we consume, the less damage we do.

By Adam Hardy

Zoologist at heart. Environmentalist by necessity. Stage hand, financial trader, secretary, card payments designer, software developer, fossil fuel big data warehouse consultant. Amateur psychologist. Now climate change salvage engineer.