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Common human identity and the path to global climate justice

Reese, Gerhard
Climatic change 2016 v.134 no.4 pp. 521-531
climate, climate change, humans, politics, scientists, social justice
With the 2015 summit on global climate change in Paris, political action will (or will not) be taken to tackle the threats of the global climate crisis. Both social scientists as well as conservationists have come to the conclusion that human activity is one of the main reasons for climate change and nature degradation, and the main target of justice related mitigation and adaptation responses. This article puts human (in)activity into focus, and introduces a social identity perspective on environmental justice. Specifically, it shows how conservation scientists can draw from the idea of a common human identity (CHI). It delineates how the representation of a “common human ingroup” could inform beliefs about environmental justice, which in turn should motivate individuals and groups to act in favor of the natural environment. The review highlights that social identification with all humans may represent a potential path to global environmental justice, and combines recent insights from social identity research with conservation behavior.