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“Research in various disciplines shows that it is not private action or individual attitudes  that matter, but our collective action in the public sphere.”  [1] 

Raquel Luna, Isabel Pitz – Individual behavior, although necessary, is far from enough: the AR6 Synthesis Report Climate Change 2023 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calls for “rapid and far-reaching transitions across all sectors and systems” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to ensure a liveable future for all. Our focus must be on systemic changes because individual attitudes and actions are a) not justified by science, b) places too much responsibility on the individual, and c) will not achieve the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, let us look at initiatives of collective action initiatives for systemic change:


  • Agroecology and regenerative agriculture: encompasses non-anthropocentric science and knowledge, practices, and a movement that views agricultural lands as ecosystems that include all environmental and human elements and their intra- and interrelationships. According to Navdanya, founded by Vandana Shiva, “agroecology is in essence, the philosophy of relishing all edibles that nature produces and, at the same time, of nurturing nature to allow it blossom with its biodiversities.” [2] Shiva recognizes that the front lines of preserving life are largely in our closest relation with the Earth: agriculture. Shiva says, “The peasant is the last remaining human community who works with the Earth in freedom.”


  • Climate change (crisis) litigation: international climate negotiations such as the Conference of the Parties (COPs) have largely failed due to excuses, delays, ineffectiveness, and ultimately corporate capture. As a result, climate change litigation has grown to force companies and governments to cease operations, to force to pay for damages, and to protect human rights and environmental rights. This includes initiatives to establish the rights of nature. A recent example of this path is the UN resolution led by Vanuatu requesting an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the obligations of countries arising from the climate crisis.


  • Higher taxes for the super-rich: according to Oxfam’s report Climate Equality: a planet for the 99% (November 2023), the climate crisis and the inequality crisis are not separate, “they are interlaced, fused together and driving one another.” The report argues for “a recognition that a radical increase in equality is a precondition to ending climate breakdown and poverty.” In terms of responsibility for the climate crisis, the super-rich bear a heavy burden. The richest 1% are responsible for more carbon emissions than the poorest 66% through their lifestyles, consumption and, more importantly, their investments. Simultaneously, they have amassed wealth in every crisis, while the taxes for the rich have decreased across countries in recent decades. The demand is to tax the rich to save the planet through a wealth tax, a top income tax of 60% for the 1% and a windfall tax on corporate profits of 50-90%. These three taxes could raise more than $9 trillion to build a green and equitable world.


  • Due diligence: concrete proposals for a corporate due diligence duty are currently being discussed at the EU and UN levels. Some countries have also enacted legislation in this area. The due diligence initiative is based on the principle that “all companies have an obligation to demonstrate that they are ensuring that human rights and the environment are respected throughout their value chain. In other words, no more hiding behind complex supply chains, no more saying ‘we didn’t know’». [3] The initiative Devoir de Vigilance Luxembourg is one of the organizations that requested the directive at EU level.


  • Just, people-centered energy transition: aims to change the current energy system (and thus the capitalist system) by and for the people. The transition is based on collective decision-making by and for people to decide how energy is produced and consumed. It considers energy as a common good and a right that needs to be provided with dignity and social inclusion in harmony with nature. It wants to remain local and break the concentration of ownership and power, taking into account socio-environmental ethics and justice. It seeks sovereignty through communal energy.


  • Keeping fossil fuels in the ground: in 2004, at COP10 in Buenos Aires, Oilwatch International introduced this concept, inspired by local struggles and resistance against oil extraction. It aims to protect people, territories and ecosystems from exploitation, dispossession and pollution. Many social movements and organizations across the world are embracing the idea that stopping the extraction and consumption of gas, oil and coal is the best way to slow down the climate crisis.


  • Loss and damage and comprehensive reparation: the UNFCCC uses the term “loss and damage” to refer to the harms caused by the climate crisis. In terms of climate justice, there is a need for “comprehensive reparation” for these harms. Comprehensive reparations are processes in which civil and criminal liability, restoration of the human and natural rights, compensation, and prevention of recurrence of harm are paid by the countries most responsible for the climate crisis to those most affected. Comprehensive reparations must be free of conditionalities, more debt or dubious climate solutions.


These are some of the initiatives that address the system that creates the climate crisis. As decoloniality acknowledges, there is no one and only way or answer. There are multiple ways and they can be complementary. The initiatives are not mutuallt exclusive, but achieve systemic change at different levels and dimensions. Some address the problem of the patriarchal, colonial capitalist system directly. The initiatives mainly imply degrowth. This means opting for a balance with the living world and abandoning the goal of eternal economic growth. It asks of us to engage in communities and assumes that everything is political. It questions the status quo and the blurred lines between those with climate responsibility and those with climate debt: multinational corporations, governments of the global North and the rich.



[1] Cited from (our translation): Kranz, J., Schwichow, M., Breitenmoser, P., Niebert, K. (2023), “Politik – der blinde Fleck der Klimabildung“, Klimafakten, 11 January 2023, (viewed 7 October 2023).