What is the connection between human rights, the state of the environment and psychology?

General Human Rights / Climate Change

Sound research over decades (see IPCC documents) shows that climate and environmental disruption have reached a critical point. The choices we make now, and have already made, will have tragic repercussions for generations to come, directly affecting their lives and their rights. Most ironically those who contributed least to this are now and will be most directly affected.

IPPC Report: Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5 ºC spelled out some societal changes required to meet targets set to limit the impact of climate disruption — these are closely connected with psychology – behaviour change and social relationships – and human rights – changes required will only be acceptable if they are seen to be fair and respect everyone’s interests. One of the lead authors of the 1.5 report is Linda Steg, one of a growing band of psychologists working alongside climate scientists and human rights professionals who have been developing a strategy to respond to the emerging crisis.

Addressing climate change is compatible with addressing human rights:
Human rights comprise internationally agreed norms that align with ambitions of poverty eradication, sustainable development, and the reduction of vulnerability (Caney, 2010; Fleurbaey et al., 2014; OHCHR, 2015). In addition to defining substantive rights (such as to life, health, and shelter) and procedural rights (such as to information and participation), human rights instruments prioritise the rights of marginalized groups, children, vulnerable and indigenous persons, and those discriminated against on grounds such as gender, race, age or disability (OHCHR, 2017). Several international human rights obligations are relevant to the implementation of climate actions and consonant with UNFCCC undertakings in the areas of mitigation, adaptation, finance, and technology transfer (Knox, 2015; OHCHR, 2015; Humphreys, 2017)”.(1.1.2 Page 55)

Events / Documents / Initiatives

Summit on Psychology and Global Health: Climate Change – over 40 psychology associations sign a declaration of commitment to applying psychology to climate change.

Declaration of Ethical Principles in Relation to Climate Change (United Nations)