Episode 1, Series 1: The connection between human rights and the environment

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For this first episode, we expand and explain why the EarthRights podcast focuses on human rights and environmental issues. The two topics, as you’ll hear, are inextricably linked; we cannot and must not deny the connection between human behaviour and its harmful impact on the climate, wildlife and human life. We begin with the concept of human rights and how rights came to be internationally recognised, as well as what climate change, global warming and biodiversity loss entail.

We then delve into what is an inexhaustible list of rights and how environmental destruction around the world, which is caused by increasing CO2 emissions and pollution, combined with a serious lack of action by governments threatens to and is often found to violate these rights. With examples and current news stories, it is clear climate change gravely impacts people’s lives.

Throughout the episode it is stressed that the climate crisis is not only unequally caused, but its effects are also disproportionate. Be it in terms of wealth, race, gender, mobility, or another factor, many groups of people are already at the mercy of discriminatory state and business practices, yet they are forced to face more intolerable issues thanks to the climate crisis. Perhaps unsurprisingly, those experiencing the worst of impacts are the least to blame for them. Meanwhile, rich, Western nations continue to exacerbate the crisis, often without appreciation for the impact their actions and decisions have thousands of miles away.

Finally, we look at how human rights law and activism can protect the environment, particularly with examples of when multi-national oil corporations and other institutions have been called to account for their impact on the environment and the resulting human cost.