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Restorative Justice

It is no secret that the richest industrialized countries of the world owe a great deal of their wealth to exploitation of the environment and natural resources.

For a long time, the effects of such exploitation on climate change were not given due consideration, now that the subject is of great importance it becomes necessary to ask the hard questions as to who shall bear the greater burden of climate change mitigation.

Since the invention of the steam engine and industrialization, much of the west has realized tremendous economic growth and development. Great inventions in machinery and the industrial revolution brought about changes in the way we generate wealth.

Then electricity began to be used commercially to literally power the world and thus propelling development to unprecedented feats. These new discoveries and inventions were quite beneficial for Europe and North America, however for the longest time the vast majority of African states remained dark and underdeveloped.

The situation has not changed much for most of Africa.

Much of the environmentally destructive technologies have remained in hands and control of the world’s richest countries. Pound for pound, rich countries are responsible for a great deal of the carbon that has been emitted into the atmosphere since industrialisation began in England in the mid 18th century.

The global crisis that is climate change cannot be apportioned where mitigation measures are concerned. It is not possible to divide the global sphere as it were and assign different parts of it to those held responsible.

The fight against climate change will realize results sooner by applying concerted efforts, which is why it is important that every team player in the global village be on board. That being said, it is argued that richer countries have a heavier burden to bear than developing African states. Since rich countries have benefited immensely from activity that has contributed to climate change, they must be pioneers (in a sense) in the fight against it.

The most obvious way in which this can be done is by ploughing resources in Africa. Many African countries are unable to meet the environmental obligations, or participate in a meaningful manner in climate change mitigation because of a lack of resources.

Wealthy countries should be ready to fund all programs and technical projects required by African states if they are to participate effectively.  Such funding would go a long way into training government officials, raising community awareness, developing appropriate policies and legal frameworks, and carrying out necessary rehabilitation measures.

This brand of restorative justice is more necessary than it is optional. Most African states simply cannot afford to allocate much funds to climate change and environmental matters, not with other pressing matters that take priority.

Developed countries must step up, after all they are the biggest beneficiaries of the industrialization that got the world in this mess.

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