background image

The fight against climate change: Integrating intersectionality and regeneration

author image

By Felipe Fontecilla

· 3 min read

As we confront the magnitude of climate change, the urgency to find effective and comprehensive solutions has never been more critical. In this context, intersectionality and regenerative design emerge as essential approaches to addressing this multifaceted crisis in a holistic and fair manner.

Intersectionality, a concept that originally emerged in the legal field through Kimberlé Crenshaw and critical studies, allows us to understand how different forms of identity and power structures interact and impact how various groups experience issues like climate change. This approach reveals that the climate crisis does not affect everyone equally, disproportionately impacting those in vulnerable situations, such as indigenous communities, women, and members of the LGBTIQ+ community, who have historically had to fight for the guarantee of their fundamental rights.

For example, indigenous communities often face the most direct consequences of environmental degradation despite contributing the least to it. Similarly, we know that women—especially in developing countries—often depend more directly on natural resources for their livelihood and their families. When these resources are depleted or contaminated, they are the ones who suffer the most. Despite these realities, the voices of these groups are often underrepresented or ignored in climate policies and strategies, which fails in terms of social justice and compromises the effectiveness of our global responses.

The very reason for their vulnerability is key to building effective solutions to this multidimensional crisis we face. It is through resilience, unfortunately built on a history of systematic violence exercised towards these groups, that today we understand the importance of care for the sustainability of life. The history of the last 30 years of climate negotiations shows us that environmental policies that ignore racial and economic realities tend to fail in their implementation, as not all communities can participate in the same way in crucial solutions such as the transition to renewable energies.

In this realm, regenerative design emerges as a framework to rethink our interactions with the environment. Inspired by visionaries like Humberto Maturana, Bill Reed, and Carol Sanford, this approach goes beyond sustainability; it's not just about reducing harm but about understanding ourselves as actors within an ecosystem with the capacity to accelerate regeneration and revitalize the ecosystems and communities that inhabit them. Regenerative design encourages us to imagine solutions that not only restore the environment but also strengthen community capacities, improve quality of life, and foster ecological and social resilience.

Combining intersectionality with regenerative design allows us to address the climate crisis in a way that is both inclusive and innovative. For example, by integrating intersectionality into regenerative design projects, we can ensure that ecological restoration initiatives also address the needs and leverage the understanding and skills developed by affected communities. Implementing an intersectional approach in regenerative design also means questioning and expanding our knowledge of what constitutes an environmental problem. This involves recognizing that challenges like climate change are intrinsically linked to issues of human rights, social equity, and justice.

Integrating these approaches requires a fundamental change in how we conceive and implement environmental solutions. In tackling climate change, we must adopt an approach that is as complex as the problem itself. It is not enough for a project to be ecologically viable; it must also be socially just and culturally pertinent. For example, initiatives combining green technologies with employment programs for young people in disadvantaged communities can help clean the air and water, provide economic opportunities, and break cycles of poverty and marginalization.

In conclusion, an approach that combines these disciplines is not only strategically smart but also morally imperative. It allows us to build a world where the health of the planet and the dignity of its inhabitants are considered together, guiding our actions towards solutions that honour and sustain the diversity of life in all its forms.

illuminem Voices is a democratic space presenting the thoughts and opinions of leading Sustainability & Energy writers, their opinions do not necessarily represent those of illuminem.

Did you enjoy this illuminem voice? Support us by sharing this article!
author photo

About the author

Felipe Fontecilla is the Climate Action Director of the Global Platform 2811 (Consulting and Investments 28th of November). They lead projects on ecological regeneration and climate action in Chile, Colombia, Brazil, USA and Germany. Felipe's professional experience includes work with NGOs and Political Think Tanks on issues regarding energy transition, climate policy, civic engagement and youth empowerment.

Other illuminem Voices

Related Posts

You cannot miss it!

Weekly. Free. Your Top 10 Sustainability & Energy Posts.

You can unsubscribe at any time (read our privacy policy)