IS CLIMATE CHANGE A RACE ISSUE?

Four people of color die every week for environmental activism and still continue to be sidelined in climate change movements

IS CLIMATE CHANGE A RACE ISSUE?

Four people of color die every week for environmental activism and still continue to be sidelined in climate change movements

IS CLIMATE CHANGE A RACE ISSUE?

Four people of color die every week for environmental activism and still continue to be sidelined in climate change movements

“It made me feel really annoyed, really really annoyed. I felt a lot of anger there personally, from some of the behaviors that I heard about and witnessed myself about race and their relationship to the police like I felt the need to go and say something at them.”

This is what Sofa Gradin, a Swedish born environmental activist said about her experience as an anti-racism workshop leader with Extinction Rebellion (XR), which is an international climate change movement that started in the UK and operates on the basis of civil disobedience.

She had managed to get a slot at their weekly run “Why is environmentalism so white?” and “Know your privilege” workshops among other trainings they provide to their participants but after giving the training, she was met with disappointment and anger form one of the senior members of the organizing team, who felt she was “lecturing” them on their white privilege and their contribution to a history of racism and marginalization of people of color and thus needed to act better as climate change activists.

Her second and last workshop slot was cancelled due to this incident.

Early in May, Wretched of the Earth, a grassroots collective of people of color fighting for climate justice, published an open letter criticizing Extinction Rebellion for marginalizing people of color, neglecting their history of environmental activism and the fact that the Global South is the first and most to get affected by the devastating consequences of climate change, as well as using a strategy of civil disobedience based upon tactics of arrest that disregard the experiences people of color had over time and space with the police.

"In order to survive, communities in the Global South continue to lead the visioning and building of new worlds free of the violence of capitalism. We must both centre those experiences and recognise those knowledges here."

The letter also calls on Extinction Rebellion and climate change movements in the UK to highlight the racialized nature of policing, to center the experiences of those living in the global south in their key messages as not to end up only protecting the white global north population from climate change at the cost of those living in the global south and to focus on climate justice rather than climate change.

"In order to envision a future in which we will all be liberated from the root causes of the climate crisis – capitalism, extractivism, racism, sexism, classism, ableism and other systems of oppression – the climate movement must reflect the complex realities of everyone’s lives in their narrative."

They created a listof demands that were signed by 47 other climate change movements, both local and international.

Early in May, Wretched of the Earth, a grassroots collective of people of color fighting for climate justice, published an open letter criticizing Extinction Rebellion for marginalizing people of color, neglecting their history of environmental activism and the fact that the Global South is the first and most to get affected by the devastating consequences of climate change, as well as using a strategy of civil disobedience based upon tactics of arrest that disregard the experiences people of color had over time and space with the police.

"In order to survive, communities in the Global South continue to lead the visioning and building of new worlds free of the violence of capitalism. We must both centre those experiences and recognise those knowledges here."

The letter also calls on Extinction Rebellion and climate change movements in the UK to highlight the racialized nature of policing, to center the experiences of those living in the global south in their key messages as not to end up only protecting the white global north population from climate change at the cost of those living in the global south and to focus on climate justice rather than climate change.

"In order to envision a future in which we will all be liberated from the root causes of the climate crisis – capitalism, extractivism, racism, sexism, classism, ableism and other systems of oppression – the climate movement must reflect the complex realities of everyone’s lives in their narrative."

They created a listof demands that were signed by 47 other climate change movements, both local and international.

Extinction Rebellion arrested in London and NYC
Photo by Kārlis Dambrāns and Felton Davis on Flickr

Guppi Bola, a social change activist, who organizes with Wretched of the Earth, believes that even after the letter was published and whilst they value the living experiences of people of color, Extinction Rebellion do not hold the latter to priority, “their main goal remains carbon reduction and preservation of ecology. They don’t see the asks that are being made of them to be priority enough to change.”

According to Extinction Rebellion’s website: the three demands they are calling for are:

  • For the government to declare a climate emergency, which it has
  • The government must halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025
  • The government must introduce policies on climate change led by decisions made by a citizen’s assembly
  • However, not everyone has to get arrested, said Jayne Forbes, a press member of Extinction Rebellion’s team, adding there are people of color, who do join XR’s protests, however, they can and they choose not to get the arrested and abstain from acts of civil disobedience. Forbes as well as other XR members are aware of their white middle-class privilege and that is why they get arrested for and instead of others who cannot afford to and the reason they are committed to civil disobedience as a strategy is because according to one of XR’s co-founder’s research, such a strategy has proven to be four times more successful as most other civil rights or other types of campaigning.

    Daze Aghaji giving a talk at the 'Climate Change is a Social Justice Issue' workshop, June 2019

    Daze Aghaji, a 19 year old black woman, who is part of XR Youth and leading the international solidarity group, said she chooses not to get arrested but still believes XR is powerful enough to induce change and that they are cooperating with other XR groups around the world and other international climate change movements, supporting them in their cause in any way they can.

    Such statements and actions undertaken by Extinction Rebellion do not negate, however, the fact that most climate change movements in the UK are white and that in many cases people of color remain sidelined from the frontlines of those movements.

“I am a new migrant, I moved here in 2015 and the first climate march I attended has been Wretched of the Earth trying to claim their space. Although we (people of color) were affected by climate change more than anyone and then we have the middle class environmentalists dressed in panda, polar bear and huggable cute costumes and trying to squeeze out people of color in the march, it happened in the streets of London and that is a reflection as well of how movements look and value the voices from the South.”

Dorothy Guerrero

Head of Policy at Global Justice Now

Dorothy Guerrero, Head of Policy of Global Justice Now

“I am a new migrant, I moved here in 2015 and the first climate march I attended has been Wretched of the Earth trying to claim their space. Although we (people of color) were affected by climate change more than anyone and then we have the middle class environmentalists dressed in panda, polar bear and huggable cute costumes and trying to squeeze out people of color in the march, it happened in the streets of London and that is a reflection as well of how movements look and value the voices from the South," said Dorothy Guerrero, Head of Policy at Global Justice Now.

She agrees that within countries, for example, here in the UK some people are more vulnerable to climate change than others.

Guerrero agrees that within countries, for example, here in the UK some people are more vulnerable to climate change than others.

And some of those people are people of color who live in ethnically diverse neighborhoods.

According to a study released in 2015, neighbourhoods in England, where more than 20% of the population are non-White, had statistically significantly higher air pollution levels than neighborhoods with less than 20%.

The study examined specifically the concentration levels of two green-house gases, namely ambient particulates (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which have been linked to multiple health effects ranging from respiratory irritation to cardiovascular diseases and premature death. The European Environment Agency (EEA) estimated that in 2005 alone five million years of life were lost due to fine particulate pollution across the EU.

In England, neighborhoods with more than 20% non-white people had 32% more NO2 concentration levels and 17% more PM10 than predominantly white neighborhoods.

Another study in 2013 also suggested similar results with a strong focus on London, where NO2 concentration levels are lowest where the white population is highest while in black, African and Caribbean neighborhoods, NO2 concentration is highest.

However, in absolute terms there are more Asian and white people exposed to high NO2 levels.

The reasons for such discrepancies have not been clearly identified but the most general explanation is that most ethnically diverse neighborhoods are economically deprived and thus live in cheap housing that is usually situated near busy roads, factories and industrial areas and are thus more susceptible to higher air pollution levels.

The same disparities between white and non-white people when it comes to impact of climate change are reflected on the global scene between the Global White North and the Global South.

After young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg started protesting for climate change in August 2018 and after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its special report of 1.5℃ in October 2018, did the world or specifically people from the Global North realize that serious action needs to be taken towards global warming .

The report declared that humanity has only 12 years to repair the damage they created with regards to climate change, that we need to reach a net of zero carbon emissions by 2030 and have global temperature contained at 1.5℃, otherwise “we would be contributing to our own demise,” as Bola put it. Thus, various climate change movements, such as XR, were brought to life embarking on monthly if not weekly climate protests.

However, climate change effects are not something new to people from the Global South. As Guerrero puts it, the international community is talking about “the impact of climate change in ten or fifteen years’ time, but people in the south are already drowning in floods or reeling from the impact of drought or looking at the possibility of relocating because their lands may not be existent. For them climate change is HERE and NOW because they already need to leave their territories so that kind of narrative is not really discussed here (UK).”

And the impact of climate change remains uneven between both hemispheres. The IPCC has been writing for years about the disproportionate effects of climate change on disadvantaged and vulnerable populations, including indigenous people, local communities dependent on agriculture or coastal livelihoods, and those living in’ Arctic ecosystems, dryland regions, small island developing states, and least developed countries. Most of these communities are people of color or those living in the global south.

And according to the report, they have to face changing rainfall patterns, storms and floods, ocean acidification, persistent drought and extreme weather conditions, sea-level rise and coastal erosion. This further threatens food security and efforts to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development.

"Developing countries will bear an estimated 75-80% of the costs of climate change although they contribute less than 30% of greenhouse gas emissions."

UN Human Rights Report 2019

Many reports have come out declaring how the richest people in the world produce the most emissions. British charity Oxfam, for example, released a study that found the richest 10% of people produce half of the planet’s individual-consumption-based fossil fuel emissions, while the poorest 50%— about 3.5 billion people — contribute only 10 % and yet they live in countries more susceptible to the effects of climate change.

And evidently, individual consumption contributes in reality 64% of worldwide climate emissions.

Another report was recently published by UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, discussing “climate apartheid” and how the wealthy will pay to escape overheating, hunger, and conflict while the rest of the world is left to suffer.”

Thus, the socio-economic aspect of climate change is very much discussed in the academic world unlike the racial-ethnic aspect.

When it comes to countries’ contribution to global carbon emissions, none compare between the Global North and Global South but rather between developing and developed countries. In hindsight most developed countries are located in the Global North while most developing countries are in the Global South, thus a similar comparison can be made.

The latest dataset available is on the year 2015. It has been proven that developed countries, such as the US and Europe dominate in terms of cumulative emissions, with US at 26% and EU(28) at 22% while China is following rapidly coming in as the world’s second largest cumulative emitter (12%), almost half of the US total and Russia in third (7%). Nonetheless, most countries from the Global South contribute less than 2% each and cumulatively less than 30% of the world’s emissions.

On the other hand, considering per capita (per person) emissions, we find that with a few exceptions, there is a visible north-south divide. Most nations across sub-Saharan Africa, South America and South Asia have per capita emissions below five tonnes per year (many have less than 1-2 tonnes). This contrasts with the global north where emissions are typically double or triple the size of emissions of individuals in the Global South (above five tonnes per person and with North America above 15 tonnes). Generally, the monthly per capita emissions in rich countries are mostly higher than the yearly per capita emissions in developing countries.

And it is those emissions that are disrupting the global carbon cycle and leading to a planetary warming impact affecting the globe disproportionately.

Developing countries will bear an estimated 75-80% of the costs of climate change although they contribute less than 30% of greenhouse gas emissions

Many reports have come out declaring how the richest people in the world produce the most emissions. British charity Oxfam, for example, released a study that found the richest 10% of people produce half of the planet’s individual-consumption-based fossil fuel emissions, while the poorest 50%— about 3.5 billion people — contribute only 10 % and yet they live in countries more susceptible to the effects of climate change.

And evidently, individual consumption contributes in reality 64% of worldwide climate emissions.

Another report was recently published by UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, discussing “climate apartheid” and how the wealthy will pay to escape overheating, hunger, and conflict while the rest of the world is left to suffer.”

Thus, the socio-economic aspect of climate change is very much discussed in the academic world unlike the racial-ethnic aspect.

When it comes to countries’ contribution to global carbon emissions, none compare between the Global North and Global South but rather between developing and developed countries. In hindsight most developed countries are located in the Global North while most developing countries are in the Global South, thus a similar comparison can be made.

The latest dataset available is on the year 2015. It has been proven that developed countries, such as the US and Europe dominate in terms of cumulative emissions, with US at 26% and European Union countries at 22% while China is following rapidly coming in as the world’s second largest cumulative emitter (12%), almost half of the US total and Russia in third (7%). Nonetheless, most countries from the Global South contribute less than 2% each and cumulatively less than 30% of the world’s emissions.

On the other hand, considering per capita (per person) emissions, we find that with a few exceptions, there is a visible north-south divide. Most nations across sub-Saharan Africa, South America and South Asia have per capita emissions below five tonnes per year (many have less than 1-2 tonnes). This contrasts with the global north where emissions are typically double or triple the size of emissions of individuals in the Global South (above five tonnes per person and with North America above 15 tonnes). Generally, the monthly per capita emissions in rich countries are mostly higher than the yearly per capita emissions in developing countries.

And it is those emissions that are disrupting the global carbon cycle and leading to a planetary warming impact affecting the globe disproportionately.

How is the Global South disproportionately affected?

How is the Global South disproportionately affected?

Second Photo by Climate Centre on Flickr
showing Aftermath of Cyclone Idai

How much of the Global South will be affected?

UN Report 2017

84%

Africa

80%

Asia

71%

Latin America and the Carribean

93%

Least Developed Countries

The latest cyclone Idai in Mozambique is grand proof of how detrimental climate change can be to the Global South. It is recorded as one of the worst tropical cyclones that affected Africa and the Southern Hemisphere causing catastrophic damage in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. It left more than 1,200 people dead and thousands more missing, led to a cholera outbreak with more than 4,000 confirmed cases and seven fatalities while the flooding that ensued affected more than 3 million people.

According to a European Union study climate change will have a disproportional impact on developing countries.

Cyclone Idai flooding (Flickr)

In Southern Africa, for example, a longer dry season and more uncertain rainfall have reduced agricultural production and have forced people to adapt through switching crops, diversifying livelihoods and planting trees. In Africa, lower lake levels have been observed in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi. Due to higher temperatures glaciers and mountain snow packs are disappearing and both in the Andes and the Himalaya, the risks of glacier melting floods are increasing.

Also in many tropical countries if the monsoon fails people have to wait at least another year before the next rains come, with devastating effects on agriculture and water resources. El Niño and La Niña cycles have large impacts on rainfall in Asia and Latin America. Most countries cannot manage this current climate variability. For example, due to floods and droughts in Kenya during the 1997-2000 El Niño and La Niña, the economies lost up to 22% of the total GDP.

"It is a historically given fact that low-income countries are generally more exposed to the adverse effects of climate change.""

UN Report, 2017

These are only some of the examples of how the Global South has been affected by climate change especially that many people there depend on agriculture as a source of income and livelihood, which ultimately is highly dependent on the weather. As a result, many people including indigenous communities lose their homes and have to relocate to survive.

In 2017 out of 30.6 million people internally displaced, 39% were recorded to be triggered by conflict while 61% (18.8 million) were triggered by climate disasters. Out of the 61%, those documented highest were in East Asia and the Pacific, followed by the Americas, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa and Europe and Central Asia less than 1%.

It is estimated that by 2050, climate change could displace 140 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America alone.

These figures show how most people affected by climate change are from the Global South apart from the Americas.

While it is true that climate change does heavily affect some parts of the Global North, where rainfall and flooding are likely to increase, especially in rich coastal cities as stated in the World Bank report , they are not as vulnerable as Global South countries.

Vulnerability is measured by the rate of climate change variations countries face as well as their adaptive capacity. So vulnerability can be high because of high exposure (severe hurricanes), high sensitivity (small islands), or low adaptive capacity.

In the case of the Global North, although North America is highly exposed to climate disasters such as hurricanes, it has the means and capital to adapt and to protect itself.

For example, the Netherlands, similar to Global South countries, is also low lying and is exposed to sea level rise. However, it has built sea walls and other structures, so that it is not as susceptible to damages caused by sea level rise as opposed to low-lying, developing, tropical island countries of the Global South. According to a UN report developed in 2017 on climate change and social inequality, losses from weather related disasters during 1995-2015 accounted for 5 percent of the GDP of low-income countries, compared to only 0.2 percent for high-income countries.

California Wildfire 2018 Aftermath

In more specific cases, when Hurricane Sandy hit New York in 2012, the government allocated about $60 billion to compensate for the damages suffered by the people and areas. “The Goldman Sachs headquarters, for example, was protected by tens of thousands of its own sandbags and power from its generator and was thus hardly damaged and when the 2018 California wildfire broke out mansions of high-end insurance customers were saved by private white-glove firefighters.” And although poor people were left behind with no access to health care or insurance, northern countries are more affluent to adapt and mitigate climate change disasters.

Countries, in the global south, on the other hand, are affected more because their economies heavily rely on the climate and when impacted they cannot adapt. Many developing countries lack human and financial capacity to respond to the threads of climate change. People there lack insurance and the countries don't have enough public resources to devote to those affected by climate disasters.

That is why in 2009, for example, the Climate Vulnerable Forum was established as an international partnership of countries highly vulnerable to climate change and global warming. In 2015 they created the Vulnerable 20 (V20) countries, that were later joined by 28 other countries, all from the Global South, all actively seeking solutions to combat climate change, one of which is holding Global North countries accountable for their responsibility for global warming.

Photos by Flickr & Oxfam East Africa
First photo: Cyclone Idai flooding
Second photo: Drought in Africa
Third photo: California wildfire 2018 Aftermath

Why is the Global South disproportionately affected?

Why is the Global South disproportionately affected?

Apart from the geographical location of global south countries being close to the equator and thus much more susceptible to the impacts of climate change, where it is hottest, they have been disproportionately affected because of a history and continuing pattern of extraction of resources.

“Because of the history of colonialism some countries are not able to make changes to account for climate change and because of the continuing corporate colonialism, they are stripped from the necessary resources.” This is one major reason that Danny Chivers, active member of BP or BP, an activist theater group fighting against oil sponsorship of the arts, gave as to why developing countries suffer the most with regards to climate change.

Colonial powers, such as the British Empire, which controlled 23% of the world’s population and 24% of the earth’s total land area between the 16th and 18th century, creating colonies in Asia, Africa and the Pacific, had one goal in mind: To aggregate its wealth by extracting resources and raw materials from its colonies to use and turn into finished goods, and then sell them back to those colonies, exploiting food, energy supplies and labour.

Farmers working on sugar cane plantations Source

Huge lands and forests were cleared for plant commodities – from sugar to spices, cotton to coffee. Such huge masses of land ended up being abandoned after their soil was exhausted and having devastating impacts on the local communities who were highly depended on trees for their livelihood, especially in Africa, where deforestation was prevalent. They used it as a resource for food, firewood, fiber timber, material for crafts, animal fodder, medicinal herbs among other things. Thus, loss of tree cover increased the burden of obtaining forest resources and water, increased soil erosion and decreased agricultural productivity.

“Today nature narrates the colonial story, through its vast mines, its desecrated rivers, and emaciated territories. Across continents, mangroves, grasslands, rainforests, and wetlands were cleared to make way for quarries, plantations, ranches, roads and railways.”

Other environmental consequences of extraction include deforestation, desertification, drought, shortage of fresh and clean water, shortage of biomass for fuel, loss of soil fertility, loss of biodiversity and hence climate change.

And while the era of colonialism has ended, such exploitation from the global north to the global south never ceased to exist. Today’s key players are multinational corporations who have a stronghold on national economies engaging in the business of oil mining, deforestation and waste dumping only to maximize their capital and profits, e.g. logging timber to turn into furniture in Europe or extracting oil to generate energy.

“Many people don’t know actually that all these plastics here in the UK will be sent outside where they will pollute the south so this kind of narrative and the idea of the north and the south in terms of climate justice is not on everyday discourse.”

Dorothy Guerrero

And since there has been a history of extraction, there has also been a history of environmental activists in the global south standing up against corporations, damaging their lands whether as farmers, indigenous or local communities dependent on nature for their livelihood.

Photo by Lon & Queta (Flickr)

And although climate change movements nowadays are gaining huge momentum, the history of environmental activists in the global south, many of whom have lost their lives for their cause, has been completely sidelined from the global narrative.

Chivers explains that in Mexico in 2015 British Petroleum (BP) was pushing for new oil leases with the Mexican government privatizing its oil sector at the time, especially in the Gulf of Mexico, and when climate activists rose to protest the extraction of their resources that may lead to a similar oil spill that BP caused in 2010, "the Mexican government was deeply complicit in the disappearance of tens of thousands of those protestors in terms of killing or vanishing them."

On the other hand, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) had released a report in February 2019 titled “This is a crisis”, where for one of the few occasions, they explained how colonialism is responsible for the environmental breakdown of many countries.

However, according to Bola, the title “This is a Crisis” has been appropriated from Black Lives Matter’s campaign slogan for direct action outside of Heathrow airport a few years ago and IPPR failed to mention anything about the history of environmental activism in the south.

“Like who are you to basically ride off the work of environmental justice movements of the past and take that space and still control what the narrative is without acknowledging those who came before you."

Guppi Bola

According to Global Witness, an international non-governmental organization linking conflict and poverty with natural resource exploitation, 83 environmental activists fighting against climate change have been killed in 2018, with four on average being killed every week and they all lived in the Global South, whereas in 2017, 201 environmental activists have been murdered, the highest total ever recorded.

Environmental Activists (83) killed in 2018

The causes they died fighting against to protect their lands ranged from agri business to oil mining to logging to poaching. Many of the killings recorded occurred in remote villages deep within mountain ranges and rainforests, with indigenous communities hardest hit.

That is why countries from the Global South, who have been disproportionately affected by climate change as a result of the Global North’s exploitative actions, call on them to bear the responsibility for climate change, paying reparations and supporting them financially to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The first international agreement that acknowledged the idea of reparations was the Kypoto Protocol in 1992, where the European Union agreed to finance mitigation in developing countries.

However, since then the issue of differentiated responsibilities was entirely avoided, and “people living in poverty are noticeably invisible, despite being the prime victims in practice.”

“24 years of climate negotiations. Only in the Kyoto Protocol did we talk about who has polluted more and who should carry more responsibility but we are not talking about that anymore, now it’s a matter of volunteering and what countries are prepared to do, so it’s a laissez faire when it comes to responding to climate change and I will say this is not even appropriate,” said Guerrero.

This issue was supposed to be addressed again at the UN’s ‘Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts’ (WIM) meeting in Bonn, Germany in April 2019.

However, financing was removed from the agenda entirely. Faced with criticism from civil society networks, the UN initially defended its decision not to discuss financing or the upcoming technical paper on the same theme. Consistent pressure, however, eventually led to a compromise: financing could be only included within conversations about the other ‘action areas’ – such as co-ordinating responses to sea-level rise and displacement.

Additionally, internationally-brokered loans to pay for damage must often be repaid with interest and are, therefore, issued with a view to making profit. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed, for example, a no-interest emergency loan of $118.2 million to Mozambique following Cyclone Idai. However, it has disqualified Mozambique, the sixth-poorest country in the world, from receiving debt relief for pre-existing loans making it more difficult for the country to adapt and mitigate climate change in the future.

Possible Solutions

Possible Solutions

Source: Flickr

Although the idea was suggested long before in 2009 by UNEP, a proposition of a global green new deal is being made forward by countries, academics and climate change activists especially after US representatives Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez and Edward Markey introduced a five-page nonbinding resolution of a US green new deal to parliament early in 2019.

In line with the US green deal, a global green new deal will not only look at reducing carbon emissions, employing renewable energy and improving the management of ecosystems and freshwater resources, but it will also initiate policies to create jobs, ensure the protection of vulnerable people, reduce inequality and create a system based on welfare and social justice. It will repair climate harms abroad and fund mitigation and adaption efforts in the majority world.

Yanis Varoufakis, co-founder of the Democracy in Europe Movement, wrote about the scope of a possible global green deal. It would focus on three areas.

The first is about the global production of renewable energy, where the Global North can focus on hydro and wind power while the Global South can rely on solar energy.

The second is developing new technology to adapt to new environmental changes by detoxifying the oceans and decarbonizing the atmosphere and such research should be funded by the Organization for European Economic Cooperation.

A third element is reparations where developed countries pay up what they owe to developing countries given their excess production of carbon emissions over time as well as a history of extraction of resources that highly contributed to the current climate change crisis. Thus, a global green new deal would redistribute resources to rehabilitate overexploited regions, protect against rising sea levels, and guarantee a decent standard of living to all those vulnerable, including climate refugees.

For this to happen, Chivers believes that citizens of the West, who have the privilege to speak up and have their voices heard to pressure their governments to support other countries given that people from the Global South do not have the same luxury and as proven lose their lives trying to do so.