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Moving Towards Climate Justice: Overcoming Barriers to Change

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The present paradox, as ecological economist Bill Rees is fond of putting it, is simple yet profoundly troubling: “The ecologically necessary is politically infeasible, but the politically feasible is ecologically irrelevant.”

How then do we grapple with the gap between, on the one hand, what the science of climate change is telling us, and on the other, the current political realities that err on the side of incrementalism at best and stubborn inaction all too often?

With this paper, we move from the theoretical to the practical; from a broad consensus on the climate imperative of our time, to the applied challenge of embracing structural/systemic change within one locale. This paper builds on the themes outlined in the Sustainable Economics panel at INET’s Bretton Woods conference (with Alex Evans, Bill Rees and Camilla Toulmin), and shares how one research alliance is wrestling with the twin (and interconnected) challenges of inequality and global warming within a particular jurisdiction.