Climate change, a consequence of the extraction of the earth's natural resources and dispossession of the planet's and humanity's common goods, traces a complex dilemma between deepening the global trend of accumulation and dispossession or changing the paradigm, not only of production, consumption and exchange at the global level, but also of who, how and for what purpose is produced and consumed locally and globally, overcoming patriarchal and colonial biases.
Conflict is at the core of the logic of capitalist accumulation, which also reveals how, in times of crisis, the extraction of both nature and labour needs to be adjusted to more precarious levels. We see a clear example of this in how European states act in the terms of the energy matrix in the context of war; how transnational extractive companies act in countries whose place in the international division of labour is the provision of raw materials; and how at-risk industries and renewable alternatives act in the context of the expulsion-attraction of labour.
We can therefore confirm that the relationship with nature and labour is at the heart of any alternative for the construction of climate justice and wellbeing. This is why the just transition proposal was born from the working-class movement and has positioned itself today in the international climate debate. A debate with a disputed scenario, which runs the risk of co-opting the concept and making it akin to the interests of capital or that it can be a transformative alternative for humanity, workers, and of course the planet.
So far, the dominant approach to a just transition has revolved around the transition of predominantly male workers from fossil fuel industries to other jobs, including manufacturing and renewable energy generation.
While this is crucial, it is insufficient, as it leaves out more than half of the world's population. And this is where a just and feminist alternative comes into play. We propose then that the concept of just transition must have systemic understandings, involving not only the structural change of the matrix of production, consumption and exchange at the global level, but also the change of the relations in which work takes place, including the transformation of the sexual division of labour, the revalorisation of the work of women and feminised sectors, as well as the elimination of the patriarchy of the wage.
To achieve this we must shape a new order. A first step is rebuilding the social organisation of care. The current organisation of care is unjust, inequitable and a vector of inequality. It places care work, which reproduces life, outside the field of capitalist productive work, despite the fact that it is the basis of its reproduction and the sustenance of its existence. It traps women in the sphere of the family (nuclear or collective), closing the doors to their participation, education, stability, equality and progression in the labour market. It is also, in most countries of the Global South, family-centred, with a total absence of the state and marked colonial traits.
A feminist transformation of the sexual division of labour that liberates women must be centred on the reduction and redistribution of care work. Reducing the burden on women and redistributing both within families, among all family members, as well as between families and the state. Fundamental to this will be the construction of a new anti-patriarchal and decolonial ethic of care, in which the elimination of the feminisation of care and its constitution as part of a common good is implied.
Only in this way can we redefine what - how and for whom - is produced and consumed in the world, starting from the local and restoring harmony between human beings, nature and the planet.