Just Governance – Lessons on Climate Change Justice from People in Poverty

Register for this Event  

Virtual Event


As our world faces catastrophic climate change and related global injustice and oppression, what can those living in the poorest communities most vulnerable to its effects teach us about its causes? Drawing on interdisciplinary and collaborative research in southwestern Bangladesh, this talk shifts the paradigm of responsibility for climate change from the familiar terrain set out by law, economics, and moral philosophy focused on commons problems and distributive inequalities to one centered on the lived experience of climate change.


Those living with environmental degradation that is exacerbating with climate change and that foreshadows the effects of climate change elsewhere offer clarifying insight into the kinds of normative problems that climate change raises for both justice and governance. Relying on community fabric worn thin by the legacies of colonialism, foreign aid experiments, and exploitable social hierarchies, these communities’ experiences and reflections have implications for how political theorists and policy-influencers, especially large global philanthropists and investors, do and should attend to justice and governance in their work for climate change mitigation, adaptation, and survival.


The climate change crisis reveals the full gamut of humanity’s failure to govern itself in ways that do not exploit nature and humans. This talk identifies what those in poverty, most urgently facing the consequences of this failure can teach those must urgently trying to address it. Richly informed by ethnographies, surveys, interviews, and project assessments in 26 communities of those most affected by climate change, the talk will point toward new normative approaches to climate justice and provide a refreshed ethical map to political efficacy.



**Brooke Ackerly, Vanderbilt University



**James Foster, George Washington University



**Trevor Jackson, George Washington University

Register for this Event