Friday, December 3, 2010


Though I mentioned Bhopal in a recent post, it was still a little shocking to see this creepy sight walking around the Cancunmesse conference center this afternoon. There was a silent march held by a number of people from India remembering the 26th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster when the Union Carbide pesticide plant had a "problem" that led to the release of a cloud of cyanide gas that killed 4,000 people and gave 20,000 others maladies that exist to this day.

You may be asking yourself, "what exactly does this have to do with climate change?" And that voice in your head has a good point because as far as I can tell, the answer is "nothing, really".

Rather, to continue the unintentional theme of the day, the only element this protest march has in common with the discussions being held here in Cancun is social justice. Somehow, social justice issues have all become wrapped up together and one outrage perpetrated by industrialized countries becomes synonymous with all the others.

Clearly, Bhopal was a hideous disaster that is the poster child for corporate immorality and ducking responsibility (the former chairman of Union Carbide Warren Anderson declined to travel to India to face charges related to the 4,000 deaths). However, I'm not sure what synergy is created or point is made by taking all social justice issues and conflating them with the issue of climate change.

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