• The Gender Security Project

The Joke That Is Negotiating Environmental Policy

By Raakhee Suryaprakash


This post is part of a series that aims at subverting systemic approaches to producing, presenting, and consuming knowledge. Over the years, our use of the colonizer’s language and framing of arguments in accepted structures and formats has also fomented a form of structural violence. Limiting thoughts, opinions, views, and values into acceptable forms of expression also closes the table exclusively to those that can speak this language. This series centers voices that speak to themes of feminist foreign policy, the WPS agenda, transitional justice, and gender security through unconventional forms of articulation.


One of my core papers during my master’s in International Studies was ‘Environmental Protection and Global Policy’. This paper just hinted at the tip of the iceberg of all that is wrong with global attempts to come together to ‘Save the Earth’. Since then, attending climate conferences at state, national and regional levels emphasized the double-speak that’s climate negotiation and environmental policy formulation. And sometimes the only way to tackle climate anxiety is to embrace dark humour. Global action is required to reverse climate change and avert climate catastrophe but global action and climate negotiations are replete with the absurdities that dog international relations.


Source: Politically Incorrect Humor

The iceberg and polar bears are particularly triggering for deniers of global warming.

Source: Green Humour

Across the political spectrum, be it left, right or centre, people have managed to point out the irony. And they are so busy pointing out the irony, nothing gets done. Which is a win-win for the major polluters and carbon emitting industries as well as their tycoons.


Sometimes we need to harness the higher power (read religion) to fight the powers that be when common sense gets the better of policy making.



Source: Polish Doguin


Yet, in between actual policy negotiations for climate action there’s always pushback from pious climate deniers and superstitious flat-earthers!

Source: Polish Doguin


The personal carbon footprint calculator was actually introduced by the poster child of Big Oil – BP – another way to shift the responsibility of going green from corporations, which are the major source of emissions, to individuals. And we’ve taken that personal responsibility and run with it because the corporations don’t give an inch:

Source: SustainabilitySuperheroes.org

The cabal of major polluters ensure that common sense and obvious solutions seem impossible:


Climate justice and Environmental justice are social justice issues, poorer and more vulnerable sections of society are most vulnerable to climate catastrophes and environmental degradation but are denied a space at the table in climate negotiations – sometimes by just making the cost of attending the conference prohibitive (Glasgow Climate Summit delegates have to shell out £12,000 for a room to attend!) while simultaneously having the fossil fuel companies as major sponsors of climate conferences (ScottishPower and the COP26, the Glasgow Climate Summit rescheduled from 2020 to November 2021).



Source: Green Humour


The celebrity culture is harnessed to promote and publicize the cause of the environment, the wide reach of Leonardo DiCaprio’s documentary on climate change, Before the Flood is a case in point. He has addressed many platforms that are made inaccessible to the actual grassroots organizers and environmentalists. It remains that only the jet-set elite are heard in the corridors of power. But the fact remains the jet-set have the largest carbon footprint.


Source: Politically Incorrect Humor


Even when the negotiations are online the power outages and internet connectivity issues silence voices that matter even when there is a virtual space at the negotiation table.


Source: Green Humour


There is no easy answer, but we need to remember every little bit counts.


Source: https://climemes.tumblr.com/



Source: Eco with Em


And, sometimes the only way we can make a difference is appeal to individual gluttony to fight the corporate greed – hit where it hurts – our beloved chocolates/cocoa and coffee fixes are all on the frontline of climate catastrophe.



For more humour to ameliorate your climate anxiety:

Visit Climate Change Memes on Instagram (@climemechange). The website, Facebook page and cartoon columns of Rohan Chakravarty (Green Humour) is always good for a giggle while raising awareness about the state of the environment and environmental policy.Polish Doguin and Nathan W. Pyle also serve up the absurdity of our existential crises with panache. Pictures of posters from Extinction Rebellion, Fridays for Future, Greenpeace rallies also dish out biting and dark humour on the state of our world.


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