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University of Hull experts to discuss link between climate change and modern-day slavery

The connections between climate change and modern-day slavery will be explored at a University of Hull conference.

The event, featuring experts from the University’s Wilberforce Institute and Energy & Environment Institute in partnership with Dublin City University, will feature prominent speakers and experts in international climate change and human rights.

A series of presentations held throughout the conference, taking place on Monday 11 October, will discuss both emergencies and how they are interconnected to one another.

Professor Trevor Burnard, Director of Wilberforce Institute, said: “The relationship between modern-day slavery and climate change is one that has received little recognition in the policy, advocacy, and academic fields.

“Often mainstream discussions view both issues as isolated emergencies when this is not the reality. Considering a more interconnected approach to climate change and modern-day slavery will be critical in overcoming these challenges.

“The conference will bridge the gap between the two fields and will open the discussion that we cannot solve the climate crisis without considering social justice.”

The climate crisis and modern slavery are in a vicious cycle where natural disasters and degradation of the environment destroy marginalised communities - pushing people towards hazardous and exploitative work.

In many parts of the world, the impacts of this global emergency are being felt right now in the form of both sudden-onset disasters and slow-onset events.

The combination of these impacts with ongoing deforestation, pollution and resource scarcity is rendering livelihoods ever more precarious for millions of people in the poorest countries, and driving migration and displacement.

Continuing the cycle, the unregulated industries which exploit the most vulnerable are often extremely polluting and are high emitters of CO2.

The Wilberforce Institute and Energy and Environment Institute are both key research centres at the University of Hull, and the conference is a chance to hear a conversation between the two organisations.

The Wilberforce Institute aims to advance the fundamental knowledge of slavery and emancipation, while the Energy and Environment Institute promotes societal and environmental resilience through world-leading research.

Professor Dan Parsons, Director at the Energy and Environment Institute, said: “Climate change and social injustice are two of the greatest challenges facing society, and as such, are both at the heart of the University’s strategy.

“This event will enable two of the University’s major institutes to collaborate and share expertise on the immediate threat of climate change and its link with human rights issues, such as exploitation and human trafficking.

“The narrative is clear – we will not solve the climate crisis without putting social justice at the heart of policy-making and planning. The two are irrevocably connected.

“This conference is a fantastic opportunity for people to hear a conversation that, to date, has not received the prominence or spotlight that it so desperately needs.”

The online conference will be held on Monday 11 October 2021 and will take place from 09:30 am - 4:30 pm (BST).

Tickets are free and available online.

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