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    Why Ken Saro-Wiwa matters for climate justice


    Cox, Laurence (2020) Why Ken Saro-Wiwa matters for climate justice. In: I am a man of peace: writings inspired by the Maynooth University Ken Saro-Wiwa Collection. Daraja Press, pp. 80-84. ISBN 978-1-988832-70-8

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    Abstract

    As a social movements specialist I often find myself talking to nice, well-meaning students and professionals in the global North. Often they are (rightly) focussed on the terrifying reality of climate crisis and desperate to know what to do – but the strategies for change that are easy to find turn out to be very simplistic, shallow to the point of being trivial, and completely inadequate to the scale of the problem. In particular, many of the forms of action they are presented with ignore the history of what has actually worked in ecological movements – in their own countries in previous decades, or around the world at the moment. We are offered solutions that suit us, whether or not they actually have any track record of winning against the huge concentrations of power and wealth, and the entrenched cultural and social habits, that underpin carbon capitalism. When I can, I tell them some of the story of Ken Saro-Wiwa and MOSOP as a way of helping them start to think more seriously, in ways that might actually work. The Ogoni are one of the world’s most disadvantaged populations – so rural and remote from the centres of power that even their exact numbers are uncertain – and yet they were able to effectively resist Shell, which on recent figures is the world’s 18th largest economic entity, bigger than the economies of Mexico, Sweden or Russia, in times of a military dictatorship. That alone suggests that we should try to learn from them.

    Item Type: Book Section
    Keywords: climate justice; ecology; environmental justice; Ken Saro-Wiwa; social movements; sustainable development; I am a man of peace;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
    Item ID: 14049
    Depositing User: Dr. Laurence Cox
    Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2021 10:23
    Publisher: Daraja Press
    Refereed: Yes
    URI:

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