Intergenerational Spring Seminar Theme

2022 Climate Justice Focus: Climate-Forced Displacement

Continuing the 2020 and 2021 Seminar theme "All In for Climate Justice," the 2022 Seminar will focus on climate-forced displacement. The UUA Office at the UN and 2022 Seminar Planning Team are still in the process of developing this theme and how the Seminar will address it. To begin understanding some of the ins and outs of the issue, check out this climate-forced displacement resource from UUSC (pdf).

Image of UUs marching for climate justice in New York City.

Why “Climate Justice”?

The term “climate justice” invites us to consider the climate crisis from the perspective of politics, social justice, and human rights, rather than simply a scientific, physical phenomenon. The fact of climate change has far more than meteorological implications: It will change the way that most species on Earth live. We recognize this as a justice issue because of the possibilities to organize and respond to the climate crisis in a way that prioritizes the needs of those people and communities that are most vulnerable. Rather than examining the scientific causes, impacts, and solutions, this theme invites us to explore the human causes, impacts, and solutions.

What’s at Stake?

We all know that the climate crisis is the most significant existential threat to our planet and all its inhabitants. What we don’t talk about as often is how that destruction will play out in real life. As with all crises, those who are most vulnerable, those who already experience the most discrimination, will be – already are – the first and most severely harmed by the effects of climate change. When we talk about acting for climate justice, we must prioritize the needs and leadership of those communities – indigenous communities, Black communities, immigrant communities, people with disabilities, LGBTQI and especially trans and non-binary people, youth, those who are experiencing poverty and/or homelessness, and those who live in crowded, coastal, and/or low-lying areas.

UN Sustainable Development Goal Connection

In 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which included 17 Sustainable Development Goals to achieve by the target year of 2030. The Introduction to the 2030 Agenda includes the ambitious pledge “that no one will be left behind… And we will endeavour to reach the furthest behind first.”

Sustainable Development Goal 6 reads "Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all." So much of the conversation about climate justice – and climate-forced displacement – has to do with water: Communities are facing too much water (flooding), others too little water (drought), and still others are finding their water sources are contaminated either by pollution, contaminated pipes, or salt from rising oceans. Climate justice demands equitable and sustainable management of water sources and systems. Indigenous communities’ rights to protect their territorial land and waterways must be respected and fulfilled.

Prior Spring Seminar Themes

Read more about past themes that have been addressed during the UU@UN's annual Intergenerational Spring Seminar.

View all prior themes.