Climate Change Is a Human Rights Issue


December 10, 2015

Today is Human Rights Day, a day created by the United Nations to secure justice for all people around the world.

UNF HumanRightsDay 2015 3[1]

The timing could not be better, coinciding with COP21 (the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), where world leaders have gathered in Paris to raise their voices for global climate action and reach a new global agreement to fight one of the biggest issues facing humanity.

Climate Change = Human Rights Issue

Climate change is a human rights issue. Climate change is already causing tens of thousands of deaths every year—from shifting patterns of disease, from extreme weather events, such as heat-waves, lower air quality, negative impacts on food and water supplies and sanitation.

The price of inaction is high. For example, exposure to air pollution—a major risk factor for disease—accounts for 7 million deaths each year. 4.3 million of these deaths are due to exposure to indoor air pollution from the use open fires and related toxic cooking methods.

According to the WHO, more than 50% of premature deaths among children under 5 are due to pneumonia caused by breathing household air pollution.

Inspiration to Create Change

Kumi Naidoo, the International Executive Director of Greenpeace, gave an inspiring speech at the Social Good Summit about the significance of climate change. In it, he called for all of us to stand up and take action, in order to claim back our democracy.

“Change depends on ordinary people to have the courage to say enough is enough and no more and having the courage to believe another way is possible. The story of the future is being written right here, right now. It starts with courage; it starts with each and every one of us; it starts with you.” 

We need the governments of the world to step up their efforts and come together around a strong climate agreement—one that speeds up the global transition to sustainable energy and puts us on the path to a low-carbon future and protects mothers and children. We must stand up and make our voices heard, and there is no better day to take a stand than today.

Take Action Challenge

Get informed: Follow the latest news about climate change. Join #EarthToParis on Twitter and sign a letter of love from the Earth to Paris

Get involved: Take a few minutes to contact your elected leaders, or write a letter to the editors of your local paper, to tell them you want immediate action on climate change. Remind them that reducing greenhouse gas emissions will also build healthier communities, spur economic innovation and create new jobs. And next time you’re at the polls, vote for politicians who support effective climate policies.

Talk to your children about climate change: Read a children’s book about climate change together, watch a YouTube video about the difference between weather and climate, or teach your family how to use a graph to predict future climate.

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