Laurie Parsons
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Money talks
Who gets to speak for the environment and how
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When it comes to climate change, the phrase ‘we’re all in it together’ is as widespread as it is misleading. Despite the language of inclusion, the ability to meaningfully participate in the direction of global climate governance is tightly controlled and grossly unequal. The global North dominates climate scholarship and advocacy, admitting only an elite few to participate. When it comes to the environment, this infrastructure of knowledge keeps the world moving on its current track, amplifying the voices of the status quo whilst denying alternative pathways a platform. And it is tremendously powerful. The rich world has no need to use force when it retains the capacity to set values. The dominance of rich nations’ environmental agendas not only shapes policy, but also sets the boundaries of what is possible in environmentalism. The terms of engagement with nature are set elsewhere and access to the environmental conversation often tightly constrained by economic circumstances. Long before the environment can be spoken for, the question of who gets to speak has already been decided. This chapter examines the voices that are excluded, what they have to say, and how climate policy might be different if we listened.

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