Social Justice, Environmental Justice, Economic Justice: The Three Dimensions for a More Just Present and Future
Since 2007, February 20 has become the World Day of Social Justice. Never before has there been such a desire for a concept of justice capable of touching various factors and reducing the great inequalities that characterize our times.
Economic (In)-Justice. The serious global economic recession triggered by a virus that has not yet been eradicated, photographs national economies that are increasingly weakened, polarized, and unbalanced. “The virus of inequality,” is what Oxfam formally called it in the report presented at Davos 2021, in which the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer and more marginalized. With forecasts of 150 million new poor (in extreme poverty) by the end of this year, as revealed by the World Bank, the economic gap seems to be a constant in almost every country in the world.
Environmental (In)-Justice. The concrete signs of climate change are evident everywhere. And yet, more and more often it emerges how, absurdly, those who contribute least to the anthropogenic alteration of the climate are the greatest victims of the most extreme climatic cataclysms. Alongside small islands that risk complete submersion or traditional economies and communities, such as those in the Arctic, that risk extinction, climatic migrations from the South of the world — increasingly at risk of drought — represent one of the deepest plagues of our time, generating displacement and fueling conflict and poverty, at both the individual and national levels.
Social (In)-Justice. The health crisis and deep economic stagnation is slowing countries down and stranding people. In the last year alone, the percentage of NEETs (people not engaged in either study, work, or training) reached 24%. In Italy alone, 50,000 businesses, including bars and restaurants, had to close in 2020, creating deep psychological and social lacerations. A context increasingly aggravated by the difficulty of the labor market to adapt to new professional forms that require constant access to the internet and individuals to make up for an increasingly marked digital divide.
The risk of creating a “digital proletarian underclass” is included among the global risk factors in the Report 2021 of the World Economic Forum, to the point of pushing some countries, such as Japan, to start considering effective suicide prevention as an integral part of public health.
Disproportionate impact and uneven recovery exist within different occupational sectors, as defined by the International Labor Organization itself.
This moment in time is a delicate context, to which we must add other equally deep and widespread global emergencies: the unsustainability of our food system, the health emergency, the widespread precariousness of mental health, and the information crisis.
Deep emergencies that the pandemic has brought to everyone’s attention. Just as it has brought to light the close ties that unite them.
The fact is, we cannot aspire to a fairer economy without social inclusion. We cannot achieve an ecological transition without also taking care of human beings while simultaneously promoting social and economic justice.
This reality has been clearly demonstrated by the price we are paying for climate change, which is not only limited to an environmental issue but touches the economic, energy, food, social, racial, and even identity spheres of peoples and nations. Now is the time for a real multilevel and multidisciplinary collaboration to implement the “Marshall Plan for the Planet,” as Paul Polman declared at the end of last year.
Fortunately, the world seems to be beginning to grasp the need to move towards integrated and long-term visions, more equitable and inclusive, at least trying to encourage a dialogue between the different parties.
The first strong signal comes from the United States. The new President Joe Biden has placed climate at the center of his economic plan, establishing two new figures, that of climate czar (Gina McCarthy), who will be in charge of coordinating federal agencies to fulfill the climate agenda in the United States and climate envoy (John Kerry), who will be in charge of coordinating international negotiations and actions on climate.
A commitment that adds up to the intentions of the second economic superpower, China, which will host the United Nations Conference on Biodiversity this year and has declared its intention to become carbon neutral before 2060.
Even our country, which this year has the honor and the burden of assuming the presidency of the G20 and has been called to co-organize — along with the United Kingdom — the Cop26 on climate change, is showing with the new Draghi government the clear intention to develop a plan for recovery and resilience oriented to environmental protection, as well as inextricably intertwined with progress and social welfare. A restart that sees in the dialogue with environmental associations a first step to the multi-stakeholder approach, in environmental protection the fil rouge of the various government actions, the “different faces of a multifaceted challenge that sees at the center the ecosystem in which all human actions will develop” as defined by the same president Draghi.
Positive signals are also coming from the United Kingdom, which will formally host in Glasgow the 26th UN Conference on Climate Change. The UK Ministry of Finance has authorized a comprehensive study on the economic importance of maintaining the variety of life on Earth (Dasgupta Review) and has declared its intention to become the first country to require the disclosure of climate risk throughout the economy.
Signs of commingling between sectors give hope for 2021, the year of climate and food. Humanity now demands trust. Trust from institutions, policies, national and international, businesses, national leaders, news, for a transition that considers man an integral part of the social, economic, and environmental ecosystem.
“Globalization is good if it is multifaceted, that is, if each people is unique and maintains its own identity. Flattening the differences only hurts and serves no purpose; it is a gigantic loss for everyone.” — Future Earth — Pope Francis
The Future Food Institute is an international social enterprise that believes climate change is at the end of your fork. By harnessing the power of our global ecosystem of learning labs, partnerships, research initiatives, platforms, networks, entrepreneurial projects and academy programs, FFI aims to sustainably improve life on Earth through transformation of global food systems.
Future food advocates for positive change through initiatives in Waste & Circular Systems, Water Safety & Security, Climate, Earth Regeneration, Mediterranean Foodscape, Nutrition for All, Humana Communitas, and Cities of the Future as we catalyze progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).