Defund the Police — Because Climate Change: ‘There Is No Climate Justice Without Defunding the Police’
by David Middleton
“There Is No Climate Justice Without Defunding the Police”
By Brian Kahn
It’s from the Earther SJW’s at Gizmodo. Here’s the link.
There are many very good reasons to defund and demilitarize police forces across the country, including the fact that research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) shows it provides “no detectable benefits in terms of officer safety or violent crime reduction, on average.” But there’s another reason that’s also tied to the disproportionate suffering of black and brown communities. The climate crisis is exacerbating existing inequalities, and a militarized police force will only make those inequalities worse. There’s a better way forward, though, one that prioritizes resilience—taking funding away from the force that is over-policing and racial profiling black communities, and putting that funding into preparing them for a 21st century of dangerous weather driven by the climate crisis.
I’m loathed to invoke the military in a post about demilitarization, but the Department of Defense does get one thing right on climate change. It often refers to it as a “threat multiplier”—climate change makes existing crises worse, particularly where people lack access to resources. The Syrian Civil War is one example of how climate change can act that way, helping fuel a drought that in turn contributed to tipping the region into conflict. There are everyday examples, too, like how wildfires affect those with respiratory issues or how incarcerated people are often left in harm’s way during hurricanes.
In the coming years, it’s all too likely we’ll see more protests fighting to stop fossil fuel infrastructure that’s driving the climate crisis. Historical carbon emissions have already locked in even more dangerous weather—weather that will only get worse the longer that infrastructure is built and used. That means the risk of a violent response from militarized police will almost certainly increase.
It’s why stopping the transfer of military-grade equipment to police is a first step to just climate adaptation. It’s why ending bail and asset seizures that needlessly land people in jail is good climate policy. And it’s why the growing number of laws that criminalize protests are bad climate policy and should be rolled back.
It’s impossible to disentangle the various threads of environmental racism and its ties with policing. The history of redlining and police-enforced segregation has led to massive hotter neighborhoods and more people with chronic health problems tied to air pollution. Despite that, large parts of the climate movement have so far remained silent about the current wave of protests and the role of policing in climate policy. But without defunding the police, let alone more direct ideas of abolishing them altogether, there can never really be climate justice.
Windmills may slow the globe from heating, and seawalls may keep at least some neighborhoods dry when the next storm hits. If the same violent policing system exists, however, there will still be only more danger for the very people climate change will hit the hardest.
David Middleton responds:
This is the only commentary I have: