“There is Also a Cost for Inaction”, This is How the Witnesses of Climate Change Speak

    Monica Sanders, raising awareness about Environmental Justice

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    Nobody has to explain to Monica Sanders the threats of climate change. She comes from a Honduran family that had to migrate due to the effects of Hurricane Andrew in the 90’s and in 2004 they had to evacuate from Louisiana, United States, due to the impact of Hurricane Katrina.

    For years she was dedicated to journalism and even with CNN she covered the attacks on the Twin Towers and the War in Afghanistan. However, her career ended by taking her to the environmental field, where she is now trying to raise awareness about Environmental Justice.

    She founded “The Undivide Project”, dedicated to the legal and political changes necessary for digital and climate equity. It also works on issues of dealing with catastrophes and technology for dealing with vulnerable populations.

    “I don’t know any other job, for me it’s my lived experience,” she says in an interview the previous Tuesday.

    In the United States, Costa Rica or Africa

    Although the environmental issue has gained relevance in recent years, Sanders explains that it is not really a new fight.

    To explain its origins, she says, you have to go back to the 60’s. At the same time that the United States was developing a movement for Civil Rights, various communities were beginning a struggle over the threat posed by the installation of polluting industries.

    The claims of those towns located in Texas and South Carolina began to plant a seed that served as inspiration for others, in all corners of the world.

    Her diagnosis warns that “whether in the United States, Costa Rica or Africa”, the pattern of the threat tends to be very similar.

    “They are isolated communities for social reasons, for an attitude that has a message of racism, of a negative attitude against immigrants. We are not intentionally thinking about how solutions to poverty can be generated,” she details.

    The threat, however, is also an invitation to fight for preservation because, according to her, the risks surround everyone:

    Environmental concern of young people

    If there is a moment where Sanders changes her tone during the interview and reveals his expectations in a change, it is when referring to young people.

    She is also a professor at Georgetown University and it is in her students that she draws inspiration.

    “They are a powerful resource,” she defines. For this reason, she says that you have to give them a chance, listen to them and recognize how they have all the scientific information at hand to take action.

    At the same time, she brings out her communicator streak to detail how the messages must be adapted so that each population receives it correctly, because they are the ones who will suffer the problems.

    “Politics is very abstract because it has the academic vocabulary, but in reality the effects are very local,” she says.

    Think holistically

    After the lessons that natural disasters have taught, Sanders points out that a change of attitude should come.

    “We have to learn and change our thinking”.

    On the one hand, in the preventive part, it states that there are sectors staying out of the discussion and negotiation rooms. It includes small countries and key groups with essential knowledge, such as indigenous people.

    “They were for centuries before us living together with winter, biodiversity is part of the culture, with all ecosystems. They had methodologies to do that and it is important that at this moment, that we learn from them”.

    At the same time, emphasizing that the small efforts made from home also have an impact and help, because although every transformation has a cost, not doing so will also have serious consequences.

    To do this, she proposes a formula based on attitude.

    “Attitudes become politics, politics change the law and rights and laws change the experience of communities”.

    “With a first change in the vision and the way of approaching the situation, transformation can be promoted”.

    “We have to change the attitude and everything else will follow,” she concluded.

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