This article was published on June 1st, 2021
Let’s talk about climate change, baby! Yes, the stuff making your dreamy destinations less dreamy.
If you won’t stick around for long: YES, climate change is an LGBTQ+ issue. Why? Here’s the simple explanation: Anything that impacts the general population affects marginalized communities, such as the LGBT community, more.
Wait, how does that even happen? Didn’t the Supreme Court legalize same-sex marriage, and now we can all live happily ever after in perfect equality?
If only it were that simple. So, let’s unpack this stuff: What is climate change? How does it affect you now and in the future? Why is it an LGBT issue?
Will endeavour to make this as fascinating as possible.
What is climate change?
Hell seems like the appropriate word here. Unless you’ve been living in Final Space or some alternate universe the rest of us mortals aren’t privy to yet, then you know the planet has been behaving wonky of late, and for some time, honestly.
The planet has become more erratic, from supersize hurricanes (a bit too many of them each subsequent season) and wildfires to drought and snowstorms.
Basically, climate change is the gradual change in weather patterns caused by a rise in average surface temperatures on Earth.
Scientific consensus overwhelmingly agrees that climate change is due primarily to human activities such as burning fossil fuels– releasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
These gases subsequently trap heat within the atmosphere leading to a rise in overall earth temperatures, aka, global warming.
A warming globe comes with a few consequences, including melting ice caps, rising sea levels, severe weather and droughts that make places susceptible to wildfires.
Here’s the thing: Even a slight rise in Earth’s temperature has severe effects on ecosystems. Earth’s average temperature has gone up by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius over the past century. It’s slowly inching higher.
Anything above 1.5 degrees Celsius and most cities will turn into ovens, baking their residents alive. Slowly. At 2 degrees Celsius, warming, deadly heat waves start hitting entire countries.
So, as you already tell, climate change is serious. It’s already wrecking lives in some places, and it’s coming to a city near you soon. With most queers living in cities, you can start seeing the long-term effects.
But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Why is climate change an LGBTQ+ issue?
Everyone will feel the effects of climate change regardless of their race, sexual orientation or financial status. However, the effects won’t spread equally among all.
Take extreme weather caused by climate change, for example. Guess who it affects most. The homeless. Did you know that homelessness is a huge problem, especially among queer youths?
True Colors Fund, a non-profit working on LGBTQ+ youth, found that LGBTQ youth are 120% more likely to experience homelessness.
Those cute twinks, twunks, bears, jocks and all other magical creatures of the LGBTQ community might freeze over or cook to death in the heat. Nobody should go through that, queer or otherwise.
That’s reason enough why climate change is an LGBTQ issue.
However, there’s more.
LGBTQ+ safety nets
Due to stigma and discrimination, LGBTQ persons don’t enjoy all the social safety nets enjoyed by the wider population. If the turd hits the fan, they are on their own.
When climate change-induced catastrophes hit, most queers lose the little support systems they have. Isolated and desperate, most likely don’t make it. With the increasing occurrence of these extreme weather events, LGBTQ persons bear the biggest brunt.
Climate change will definitely affect the food supply. And guess who’ll suffer? LGBTQ persons whose income cannot sustain them even under ideal circumstances.
Trans people and lesbians of colour already make less than the general population. With disruptions in food supplies or possible higher prices, most might go hungry.
The fight has just begun
The LGBTQ community has a long history of shaking the establishment to the core. Gay rights and freedoms didn’t come easy. They were hard-won, sometimes with blood.
Fighters of days past would side with those demanding climate and ecological justice because they realize the LGBTQ community will feel the effects more.
The fight against climate change needs resilience, solidarity, and longevity, which the LGBTQ community has demonstrated repeatedly. We care for one another, which makes us stronger together.
We must now learn how to support each other to survive the effects of climate change. Anything from sharing survival skills in climate disasters to providing shelters to homeless LGBTQ persons during these times. The community can also come together to share medical supplies, generators, drinking water etc.
As a community, learning to live more sustainably and adopting Eco-friendly lifestyles may help.
Long-term, we must direct our anger and frustration where it belongs: Capitalism & Corporations.
According to one estimate, just 100 corporations are responsible for more than 70% of carbon emissions.
As corporations ally, support Pride, and slap rainbow colours on everything this Pride season, perhaps it’s time we also held them to account on climate change.
Given, most are already doing something about it, in part because it also affects their bottom line. But, some are oblivious. We must not let financial and other support blind us to the environmental atrocities committed by some corporations.
The LGBTQ+ community controls significant buying power, and is slowly becoming financially woke. Vote with your dollars this Pride season and beyond. Buy sustainably produced products whenever you can—support sustainability-minded businesses, including local and LGBTQ-owned ones.
The effects of climate change are coming for us all. However, the LGBTQ community might feel it most. That’s why we must speak up now and demand changes to protect and conserve our planet.
MARS doesn’t have gay clubs, drag queens, or circuit parties yet. Plenty of them here on Planet Earth. So, even if you don’t give a hoot about climate change, fight for the Pride parade you may not have when it gets too hot to march.
Phew. All this talk about things heating up makes one really thirsty. Cool it down with one of this year’s Stoli Pride Cocktails. The Blue Lagoon seems rather fitting. It’s clear sea blue and super easy to make.