Chartist, February 2021
The four non-white Congresswomen known as the ‘Squad’ have radically changed climate discourse and climate policy in the United States and one, Ayanna Pressley, has said: “Anyone who is interested in building a more equitable and just world is a part of the Squad”. As the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate crisis alter every aspect of society and exacerbate economic and racial injustices, we need to grow the Squad. The biggest challenges facing society are linked: the best opportunities for change are when these challenges are addressed together.
We must build and foster multiracial, multi-ethnic, gender-balanced coalitions of ambitious and optimistic leaders advocating transformative changes. Every country needs leaders to push back against the concentration of wealth and power that is threatening democratic processes, exacerbating injustice, and accelerating climate chaos. We need leadership to counter the male-dominated climate deniers who are resisting change to perpetuate profits for the fossil fuel industry and other corporate elites who benefit from fossil fuel reliance. We need visionary leaders who recognise that many of our legacy systems and practices need to be restructured not only because they are accelerating climate chaos, but also because those systems and practices continue to favour rich white men who have disproportionate power and influence.
It is increasingly clear that incremental steps and small tweaks to the status quo are insufficient. Therefore, we need bold and ambitious leaders who are committed to ending fossil fuel reliance by prioritising economic justice and by investing in the universality of human rights and a future that offers dignity for all. To achieve these broad systemic changes, we need diverse leadership to better represent the needs and interests of the families and communities that are disproportionately affected and most vulnerable to climate disruptions.