Awoenam Mauna-Woanya
Urban Sustainability and Climate Justice Advocate

The onset of the COVID pandemic quickly served as a reminder of the profound interconnectedness of our world. It demonstrated that an infectious disease can impact everyone without regard for political boundaries, much like pollution and climate hazards. Extreme heat percolates across European countries, wildfires traverse states in the US, and hurricanes and tropical storms wreak havoc on islands and their inhabitants. The reach of climate impacts extend beyond territorial limits.

We can describe the behavior of climate hazards as transboundary, meaning “across boundaries'', which extend beyond the political, territorial, and geographical—revealing the interdependent systems that hold our world together. For example, wildfires burning in Quebec, Canada engulf the U.S. Northeast and Midwest in smoke, radically worsening air quality and producing a thick haze. Our persistence with animal-based diets threaten water consumption in a drought-ladened Colorado River impacting seven states and Mexico. Flooding of the Yangtze river in China interrupted ports and shipping, disrupting PPE exports for healthcare workers fighting COVID-19 in 2020. From well-being and supply chain interferences to agricultural and water security concerns, transboundary climate impacts affect us all in multiple ways.

But the consequences are not distributed equally. Marginalized communities and poorer countries with less access to resources bear a disproportionate burden. A truly equitable and sustainable future is one where we foster a sense of community and collective responsibility beyond geographical territories, combined with the understanding that our actions affect each other. This means we hold the biggest emitters accountable, whether they are corporations or countries, and advocate for justice for the most impacted.

Together, a sustainable future is possible for all people across Earth.

Transboundary Pamela EA Climate Words

Echoing the profound interconnectedness of our world, the Blue Morpho butterflies face severe threats from the ongoing deforestation of tropical forests and habitat fragmentation, illustrating the transboundary impacts of environmental degradation. Lacandon Jungle, Mexico, 2021.
Photography By Pamela EA