Theorizing for Praxis: Toward a Grassroots Articulation of Climate Justice

Authors: Diego Martinez-Lugo*, University of Arizona
Topics: Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: climate justice ; environmental justice ; political ecology ;
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 2:35 PM / 4:15 PM
Room: Executive Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Climate justice (CJ) is a phenomenon that is theorized, deliberated upon, embodied, and ultimately practiced. CJ incorporates a diverse cluster of definitions, yet there is no universally used definition for climate justice that exists; its agreed upon definition is as elusive as the greenhouse gas emissions that fuel it. In this paper I highlight grassroots conceptualizations of climate justice that are practiced and imagined by young people in the US which in turn empowers people to act meaningfully on CJ. This article explores young people’s conceptualization of climate justice during the 2018 Uplift Climate Conference, which sought to collectively envision a future of climate justice on the Colorado Plateau. Drawing from Bond’s (2011) movements of climate justice from below and infusing Pellow’s (2017) critical environmental justice into CJ, this article incorporates how young people at the 2018 Uplift Climate Conference theorize, imagine, and practice climate justice. Inspired by my participation in the conference, I inject my lived experience and positionality as a climate justice Scholar Activist of Color. I contend that the concept of CJ is being transformed by activists into both a lens for seeing and critiquing struggles and a praxis that resituates the power of change into the grassroots. Adopting a critical engagement with grassroots and young people’s subjectivities and political movements aims to subvert the systems of power that credit hegemonic and established avenues for climate action and in turn (re)place the power of solutions in the hands of young people to fight for climate justice.

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