Justice and Disaster Preparedness

Watching the tragedy of war unfolding in Ukraine makes real the future I fear we are moving into. Are already experiencing in many ways.

Fear not only as a noun, “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous”, but also as a verb, “to be afraid of.”

I can’t imagine anyone watching the stories from Ukraine, and not thinking about how tenuous our own lives are. Seeing people’s lives destroyed in an instant. Injury or death of loved ones. Loss of shelter and infrastructure. No water, power, medicines, food, community.

What would we do in a similar situation?

We might find out sooner than we think. We are facing numerous crises ourselves.

  • Environmental chaos
  • Economic collapse
  • Political collapse
  • War
  • Domestic extremism and armed conflict

There have been warnings about these things for decades, with little effect. But now we are seeing everything on that list happening to various degrees. And each negatively impacts the others.

Following is a new diagram I’m working on to show relationships among systems. The reason justice is in today’s title is because so many of our current systems have injustices embedded in them. As we prepare for disasters, not addressing injustice would mean:

  • Not benefiting from the wisdom and skills of those we don’t have relationships with now. Because of the mistrust between us.
  • Bringing these injustices and conflicts into the disaster relief communities.

We have three choices:

  • We can just react to what is coming at us. Go into survival mode.
  • We can prepare for disaster locally.
  • We can work for justice as part of disaster preparedness.

Descriptions of the systems in the diagram: ecosocialism, LANDBACK, abolition and Mutual Aid follow.

I believe faith is an important part of this. This morning I thought faith was going to be the subject, but found this background needed to be covered first.


Ecosocialism brings together two complementary ways of thinking about humans and the environment they live in. The “eco-” in ecosocialism comes from the science of ecology and its emphasis on the complex and dynamic interactions among the living and non-living components within an ecosystem. In particular ecologists understand how the life-supporting functions within an ecosystem can be disrupted by the behavior of one organism, for example, humans.

But ecology lacks a social analysis; it has no way of understanding how economic and political forces drive human behavior and social change.

Ecosocialists start with the premise that environmental degradation and social injustice stem from the same source: a world where profit is the highest goal. We believe that the emancipation of people from capital and its masters goes hand-in-hand with the emancipation of the earth and its biosphere from the cancer of capitalism.

What is ecosocialism? System Change Not Climate Change


  • It is a relationship with Mother Earth that is symbiotic and just, where we have reclaimed stewardship. 
  • It is bringing our People with us as we move towards liberation and embodied sovereignty through an organizing, political and narrative framework. 
  • It is a catalyst for current generation organizers and centers the voices of those who represent our future. 
  • It is recognizing that our struggle is interconnected with the struggles of all oppressed Peoples.
  • It is a future where Black reparations and Indigenous LANDBACK co-exist. Where BIPOC collective liberation is at the core. 
  • It is acknowledging that only when Mother Earth is well, can we, her children, be well. 
  • It is our belonging to the land – because – we are the land. 
  • We are LANDBACK!



The criminal justice system is violent and harmful: The UK’s prison population has risen by 90% in the last two decades, bringing the number to over 90,000. At the time of writing we are 156 days into 2018 and already we have seen at least 129 deaths in prison, immigration detention centres and at the hands of the police. As the effects of neoliberalism and austerity deepen each day, increasing numbers of people find themselves made disposable by our economic system and structural inequality, targeted by the agencies of the criminal justice system simply for being homeless, experiencing poor mental health or being born in a different country.

The criminal justice system does not reduce social harm: Policing, courts and the prison system are presented to us by politicians and the media as solutions to social problems. Yet, as the prison population has soared, we have continued to seen violence and harm in our society on a massive scale. Violence against women and girls is endemic, racism and the far right are on the rise in Britain and rates of murder and violent assaults are beginning to increase again. As politicians continue to scapegoat those with the least power in society, the conditions of structural violence that so often precede interpersonal violence remain in place.

We can build a world based on social justice, not criminal justice: All over the world, communities are coming together to build real solutions to societal problems. These solutions lie outside of the criminal justice system, in preventing harm through building a better society. By bringing together groups and organisations working for social justice, we want to demonstrate and strengthen the links between prison abolition and wider struggles for housing, health, education, and environment; and for economic, racial, gender, sexual and disability justice.

Abolitionist Futures

Mutual Aid

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