mahmoud1_Sumy Sadurni  Barcroft Media via Getty Images_sudanrefugeechild Sumy Sadurni/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Who Should Lead the Fight for Global Justice?

From poverty to climate change, people caused today's most pressing challenges, people are being harmed by them, and people can address them. The problem is that the people with the most power to address global problems are often not only the same people who helped to cause them, but also are among the last to be harmed by them.

NEW HAVEN – At a recent private dinner at the World Economic Forum held to discuss climate change, the primatologist Jane Goodall opened the proceedings with a rendition of the universal greeting call of Gombe chimpanzees, the subject of her life’s work. With a few simple sounds, Goodall underscored the all-encompassing nature of the climate crisis. The threat posed by climate change affects every living being on the planet, even if not everyone is aware of it yet.

As Goodall noted in her speech, people are at the heart of climate change: people caused it, people are harmed by it, and it is people who can address it. The same is true for many other global challenges, from extreme poverty to the refugee crisis. The problem is that the people with the most power to address global problems are often not only the same people who helped to cause them, but also are among the last to be harmed by them.

This was the case with the violence in Sudan’s western Darfur region. When I was only one year old, my family was forced to flee, finding refuge first in Yemen, and then in the United States via the visa lottery. Within a decade, the conflict had turned into genocide. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed, millions were displaced, and millions more were affected in myriad other ways.

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