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Climate Change Partnerships: The Zemiology of Why we need them.

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Last week I published an article that briefly covered the difficulties in regulating a global issue like climate change. You can read that piece here, but to summarise, each country and legal system has its own jurisdiction, meaning that properly regulating it can be difficult. A worldwide issue needs worldwide solutions, but you can't make any real solutions when the laws a country can make are limited to that country itself. This means that besides individual goals, one of the best options to sort out this issue is for countries to make agreements with one another.

With the help of a certain subject called Zemiology, I figured it’d be time to look into these agreements. Now I actually studied Zemiology as part of my Degree, and Climate Change was one of the topics that we looked at.

For those of you who don’t know, Zemiology is the study of harm. So where Criminilogy is like the study of crime, Zemiology is it’s harm-centred counterpart. Naturally, the two topics can align occasionally; seeing as a lot of crimes cause harm (and vice versa, some actually don’t) but Zemiology also has the opportunity to look at harms that can’t easily be punished. And that’s exactly where we’re at right now. In fact, Zemiologist Hilyard said that ‘Zemiology goes beyond the concept of crime itself and acknowledges that some legal behaviour is socially injurious.’

Zemiology looking at Climate Change

The first step when looking at any Zemiological issue is the harm that’s been caused and who caused it. By now we’re all well aware of the struggles climate change has given us. From something as simple as changes to the weather, to larger scale issues like the literal hole in the Ozone layer (read more about that here); I’d say we have that basis covered. Whose causing the harm? Well that’s pretty simple too. If you can’t figure it out…look in the mirror.

Ulrich Beck’s concept of a ‘risk society’ suggested that man made risks occur and make it difficult to predict the consequences. That means that we as humans create a risk, but we ourselves can never quite decipher the consequences. We work hard to right the wrongs of risks that we took but still can’t quite figure out.

And the thing is, that sometimes when we try to help we cause more harm. Whether we unknowingly do it, or we do it under the guise of out of sight, out of mind, chucking our rubbish into the land of another country or into the sea to just get rid of it. In the long run, we’re not helping anyone. We’re not helping ourselves or other countries, we’re just trying to offload our issues to anywhere that isn’t ourselves. In our own selfishness, we’re victimising others just so that we ourselves don’t have to be that victim. And only now that climate change is really thriving in a way that we don’t want it to be, are we finally starting to reap what we’ve sown.

Partnerships and Why We Need Them.

It’s reached appoint where we have no choice but to act, but now we’ve realised the difficulty in doing exactly that that we’re forced to think outside the box. And that’s where partnerships come in.

Partnerships start of as an agreement, and in my last article I touched upon two particular agreements: the Kyoto Protocl and the Paris Agreement. But the partnerships don’t just end there, so it’s time we broad our horizons.

The International Climate Change Partnership (ICCP) was an organisation of predominantly oil, chemical companies and trade associations that work to influence climate change regulation. It started from organisations who participated in the Montreal Protocol, and it was one of the first major business partnerships to advocate for market mechanasisms as part of what we would soon know as the Kyoto Partnerships. I have to admit that I’m a little unsure if this partnership still exists as I had an issue finding any recent information.

The Manchester Climate Change Partnership was established in 2018, with some of it’s members holding prominent roles in the city, including Nail Robinson, the Corporate Social Responsibility and Future Airspace Director of Manchester Airport Group, or even Councillor Tracey Rawlins from Manchester City Council. The partnership works alongside the Manchester Climate Change Agency, who produce annual reports to the the Global Covenant of Mayors. In their 2021 report, they announced their plans to establish advisory groups for health, wellbeing and climate change, as well as for an inclusive, zero carbon and climate resilient economy. The Zero Carbon Business Working Group was established, and researchers from the University of Manchester created a report investigating the consumption emission hotspots as well as outlining speciv areas for actions.

I think there are a number of clear reasons why we need partnerships, from encouraging action to uniting goals, but that’s not good enough for me. So lets bring Zemiology back and consider why we really need Partnerships, besides what they’ve done for us. What’s the theory behind it?

Shaw’s Social Disorganisation Theory argues that crimes are more likely to occur in ‘disorganised neighbourhood’s. If there is a lack of social connection and resources, then a person is less likely to care about the environment. It’s somewhat similar to the Control Theory, which argues a lack of relationship with the natural world may cause someone to be environmentally malicious, as they have little appreciation for it. Partnerships help to combat this, by bringing businesses and communities together with a common goal. In fact, the Social Learning Theory explains this better than I ever could. This theory portrays how an individual’s behaviour is affected by those around them. Partnerships do exactly this. They give us bonds, ties to a wider community. They provide connections to others who can lead by example, and in feeling part of a wider community dedicated to Climate Change, can we finally begin to do something about.

I’d say that’s a good time to wrap up here. We’ve covered Zemiology, Partnerships and used Zemiology to explain exactly why partnerships are so good. If you’re still interested to read more about Climate Change, be sure to check out my next article on Climate Change Innovation.

  • McGill, C.H. (2012) Zemiology and the dark side of globalisation: the case of Naivasha’s cut-flower industry. Available at: (Accessed: October 11, 2022).

  • Komlik, O. (2022) Ulrich Beck has died. his powerful concept of 'risk society' is relevant as never before, Economic Sociology & Political Economy. Available at: (Accessed: October 11, 2022).

  • Wikiwand (n.d.) International Climate Change Partnership. Available at: (Accessed: October 12, 2022).

  • Manchester Climate Change Partnership: Manchester climate change (n.d.) Manchester Climate Change Partnership | Manchester Climate Change. Available at: (Accessed: October 13, 2022).

  • Manchester Climate Change Agency. (2021) MANCHESTER CLIMATE CHANGE 2021 ANNUAL REPORT. Available at: (Accessed: October 13, 2022).

  • Sampson, R. and Groves, W.B. (1989) Community Structure and Crime: Testing Social Disorganization Theory, JSTOR. Chicago Journals. Available at: (Accessed: October 13, 2022).

  • Gottfredson, M. (2017) The empirical status of control theory in criminology: 3. Taylor & Francis. Available at: (Accessed: October 13, 2022).

  • Bandura, A. and Walters, R.H. (1977) Social learning theory - ase. Available at: (Accessed: October 13, 2022).

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