Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity today. It threatens the very existence of countless living beings on this planet, and its effects are already being felt in many parts of the world. Although climate change is often portrayed as a global problem that affects everyone, it is important to recognize that its impacts are not distributed equally. In fact, climate change is a relic of colonial legacy, with the majority of the impact being felt in Third World countries.
The colonization of the Third World by European powers had many lasting effects, one of which was the destruction of traditional ways of life. Colonialism forced people to adopt Western technologies and lifestyles, which in turn led to a significant increase in carbon emissions. This trend has continued well into the present, as Third World countries race to catch up with the West and build their own modern economies. These economies being set up in a world that has moved way past their capacity as green technologies have been introduced and come at a price way beyond their means thereby impeding their progress while global powers advance with ease and invest in introducing the same. For example, Britain, France and USA have so far introduced innovations that work to reduce climate change from economies that were built from resources acquired through colonialism at the expense of Africa and Asia.
Despite being the least responsible for climate change, Third World countries are the most vulnerable to its effects. These countries lack the resources and infrastructure to cope with the impacts of climate change, such as droughts, floods, and other natural disasters. In many cases, these countries are also dealing with other challenges, such as poverty, conflict, and political instability, which further exacerbate the impacts of climate change. This mainly applies to countries on the frontlines (the Caribbean islands). The Barbados Prime Minister Her Excellency Mia Mottley at the COP decried that they pay the toll of climate change yet they contributed little to none. Frontline islands suffer floods, cyclones and rapid shift in temperatures resulting in deaths and distraction of infrastructure which cripple their economies and incapacitated them as they are left unable to afford enough capital to adapt.
At the heart of the climate crisis is a deep systemic inequality that traces its roots back to colonialism. The partitioning of the world by European powers created deep divisions among societies and fostered a mentality of “us versus them.” This mentality continues to shape global politics today, as developed countries attempt to shift the burden of climate change onto Third World countries.
The legacy of colonialism must be acknowledged if we are to address the climate crisis in a meaningful way. We must recognize that the impacts of climate change are not distributed equally and that Third World countries are bearing the brunt of these impacts. We must also recognize that addressing climate change requires more than just reducing carbon emissions. We must address the systemic inequalities that perpetuate this crisis and work towards a just and equitable transition to a sustainable future.
Overall, climate change is a relic of colonial legacy. Third World countries are suffering from the impacts of climate change despite having contributed very little to its causes. Acknowledging the legacy of colonialism is essential if we are to address the climate crisis in a meaningful way. We must work towards a just and equitable transition to a sustainable future that benefits all people and all living beings on this planet.