The recent warnings of climate scientists published by the IPCC – that we have about eleven years (till 2030) to put our houses in order or risk environmental degradation, suffering and annihilation on a scale not seen before – are neither new nor universally urgent. Non-white bodies have been here before. Many times. We faced catastrophic ends when Shell soaked our rivers and fish with oil in the Niger Delta. We tasted the saltiness of our tears when our bodies were thrown in the waters of Transatlantic commerce. We were pushed to the brink when pipelines threatened to snake through our lands and our myths at Standing Rock.
While we tended to our children, we were obliterated and poisoned by the radioactive blasts of a war won – the toxic echoes of supremacy still ringing in the bodies of our children yet to come. We were killed in 1622, 1978, and 1945. The only reason why everyone seems to be running helter skelter is that the spectre of a ruinous 2030 was generated by a privileged economy of knowledge production. But we had our 2030 hundreds of years ago. 11 years to come has already happened. This is why climate justice cannot merely be about scrambling for ways to approach 2030. It must be about meeting all the years, all the times, all the periods and invisibilized worlds it contains. Climate justice has to be about withnessing the ghosts that haunt 2030 as much as it is about addressing 2030.