Concepts and debates in the interdisciplinary field and practice of climate justice; the role of systemic processes and patterns underlying climate change and climate injustices

Faculty: Arts
Subject: Geography
Year / Level: 3
Theme(s): Climate Justice and Social Science


Here on UBC campus the phrase Climate Justice has become somewhat commonplace, used within the institution’s climate emergency declaration, heard within climate strike protests, in your classes, likely. But what does it mean? In the most general sense a “climate justice approach” acknowledges that climate change has disproportionate drivers and impacts and therefore disproportionate responsibility along racialized, gendered, class and often geographical lines. And it also aims to ensure that the strategies to address climate change are equitable. In this class we will “look under the hood” to better understand these disproportionate impacts and to parse the many debates one can find within climate justice, debates often about underlying drivers and strategies for change. What, for example, is the relationship between climate change and social systems, structures, and relations of injustice that have existed in some form for centuries like colonialism, racism, class oppression, gendered violence, exploitation, and speciesism? What would such an understanding suggest about the needed social and political transformations to address climate change and how does that relate to the urgency of climate action?  How are concentrated wealth and power implicated in both climate inaction and actions-taken and what is being done or can be done about it? In this class we will work through these questions on a variety of scales and sites, through examinations of concrete movements, organizations, policies, solutions and strategies.


Check the SSC to see if the course is currently offered and if you meet pre-requisites etc.



Read a copy of the course syllabus to see reading lists, assignments, grading, and more.



Avi Lewis

"In an era of connected and cascading crises, climate justice is not just a moral imperative: it’s a clarifying principle, lighting a path to holistic solutions that are both equitable and effective."