Recent extreme weather events have provided a stark reminder that ‘climate catastrophe’ is not an abstract concept relating to the distant future, but upon us now and implicating the livelihoods of millions of people around the globe.
Devastating floods in Pakistan have left over 1,100 people dead, more than 33 million people displaced, and one third of the country underwater. This is the culmination of extreme heat, rain and glacial ice melting in what can only be described as a climate catastrophe.
The latest series of IPCC reports signalled that whilst everywhere is affected by climate change -with no inhabited region escaping the consequences – the vulnerability of ecosystems and people vary considerably based on factors including inequity, marginalisation, colonialism and governance. Pakistan accounts for less than 1% of global carbon emissions yet is among the top ten most vulnerable countries to climate change. This is a clear case of climate injustice.
In another instance of acute environmental injustice unfolding right now, flooding in Jackson, Mississippi and a neglected water system has left the city’s 180,000 residents without access to safe running water. Over 80% of the city’s population is Black.
The fashion industry cannot afford to be complacent in the face of these warnings and is uniquely positioned to influence the climate trajectory – its operations take place around the globe and it accounts for up to 4% of global emissions. Going forward it must not only prioritise emissions reduction, but inform policymakers to equip them for appropriate legislation, and ensure all activities are inclusive and equitable. The GFA Monitor report details the imperative steps the industry must be taking in order to reduce its impact. Download for free here.
You can support people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in Pakistan by donating to UNICEF here.