This year’s theme for Open Access Week is “Open for Climate Justice.” Yale Climate Connections assigns three key factors to climate justice:
- Climate justice begins with recognizing key groups are differently affected by climate change. While climate change is happening to everyone on the planet, some communities are more impacted than others. In addition, those most impacted by climate change generally have a small carbon output, specifically children and people in developing countries.
- Climate impacts can exacerbate inequitable social conditions. More people are becoming “climate refugees,” including the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe of Louisiana who were forced to leave their home on Isles de Jean Charles due to rising sea levels and people who have left their homes in California and other Western states due to the increasing number of forest fires. Uprooting your life is an expensive and stressful situation that few people willingly undertake, but with additional factors like natural disasters exacerbated by climate change, many people do not have a choice. Climate refugees have to find new housing, jobs, and support structures. They may have difficulty selling their flood-prone homes or may rely on buyout programs that only pay a fraction of what the owners need to find a new home. For those who are able to stay in their climate change impacted homes, they may no longer have access to the stores, people, and resources that left with the climate refugees, or have to pay higher insurance premiums.
- Momentum is building for climate justice solutions. People of all walks of life are banding together to fight climate change. From climate pledges made by countries to grassroot groups and protests, people are highlighting the need for everyone to get involved to curb the effects of climate change.
So what does Open Access have to do with climate justice? Everything. Everyone is impacted by climate change, so everyone should be able to freely access and contribute to the best scientific research. Iowa Research Online has gathered a collection of theses, articles, books, conference proceedings, and more that focus on climate change. You can find that collection here. Through reading, sharing, and discussing issues, we can make navigate climate change together.