Design For Planet Festival 🎨 The Daily Climate Show 🌞 Support CoFarm 🌽
Your bi-weekly journey, discovering the intersection of climate science and social justice.
Hello lovely people!
How are we all doing? I’m so excited to be writing to you again and am so glad that the last newsletter resonated with so many of you. It is great to hear your feedback so don’t be shy - it is greatly appreciated.
This week is my first “official” week as a full PhD student in the department for Computer Science at Cambridge after completing (and successfully passing - woo!) my Masters/Training year of the course (it’s an integrated 1+3 programme). I am excited, scared, fearful and anxious all at the same time. Tonight at 6.30 pm BST I will be going live on Instagram to answer all the questions I have received about my research so I thought I’d give some background/context here if you’re thinking of coming along!
My current PhD title is Monitoring Ghanain forests with bioacoustics, machine learning and indigenous knowledge. This research will bring together very distinct and unique fields of study, forest ecology, machine learning, (bio)acoustics and sociology (each of them could form one PhD in themselves), with the core objective of building an alternative framework for conservation and technology research outside of the constraints of paternalistic, scale-driven, Global-North centric ideologies in favour of co-creation, co-design and localisation.
In Merlin Sheldrake’s book 'Entangled Life', there is a quote which says (in regards to scientific enquiry), "we ask questions from the perspective of our cultural context". My work challenges the acceptance of a dominant cultural context directing inquiries and solutions and looks to demonstrate effective, equitable, creative and imaginative practices.
Join me tonight on IG Live as I go into more detail about the motivations, context, and methods of my research and answer any questions you have on doing a PhD, conducting critical research and the limitations of technology.
See you there 💚
On The Bright Side 🌞
Major new commitments and finance for nature ahead of global biodiversity summit [National Geographic]
At the end of September made major funding announcements and conservation commitments at the Transformative Action for Nature and People. Nine philanthropic organizations launched the “Protecting Our Planet Challenge” and pledged $5 billion to protect and conserve 30% of the planet by 2030 by supporting protected areas and Indigenous stewardship of their territories. This marks the largest-ever philanthropic commitment to nature conservation.
Note: Philanthropy won’t save the climate emergency and continuing assessment of the efficacy and respect of human, traditional and Indigenous rights with proper inclusion of communities and avoidance of land-grabbing activities will be essential.
Beijing is to end support for overseas coal-fired power projects and plans to up investment in low-carbon energy. Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Xi Jinping announced the need to "actively respond to climate change and create a community of life for man and nature" as well as reiterating China's commitment to carbon neutrality by 2060 — and to peak emissions before 2030.
St Vincent's, a specialist school for sensory impairment, is leading a group of 500 others who have pledged to go net-zero by 2030. For more than a decade St Vincent's in Liverpool has been integrating climate change issues into its curriculum.
Students, who are predominantly blind and deaf, have been understanding the devastating impacts climate change has caused to the planet and the ways it can be tackled. Their education programme is now to be shared across a number of Merseyside schools to help get other students aware of climate change.
The Daily Climate Show 🌞
Since the last newsletter went out, I appeared on Sky News in my new role as CLimate Contributor for their Daily Climate Show. I don’t usually watch my news on the TV (I don’t actually have one) and was surprised when I heard that Sky News was the first news channel to talk about the Climate emergency every single day. This is huge because so many people do receive their news from the TV and the Sky News audience is huge (and they’re not, in general, huge believers in the climate crisis). AS you know by now, education is a huge passion of mine and to be able to speak candidly about the issues we are facing, outside of the echo chamber of social media is incredibly exciting. We need more diversity of thought and perspective in mainstream news which leverages a huge platform that could be mobilised for change.
Below you can find the recordings of two segments of the segment I am in. I’d love to know your thoughts and receive any feedback if you have it! + I’ll be on again this Friday evening at 6.30 pm!
On Boris Johnson’s brash announcement that it is easy to be green, in response to Kermit the Frog…
On how to educate children about climate change and school strikes:
Design For Planet Festival 🎨
The Design Council has just launched their Design for Planet Festival, a space to galvanise and support the UK’s 1.69 million-strong design community to address the climate emergency. The event will champion design as a powerful agent of change – featuring talks, practical sessions and design tools that will help all kinds of designers address the biggest challenge of our time.
If you (or someone you know) is a designer conscious about the climate and how your practice engages with the climate emergency you can take a survey and check out the site for more info!
Climate Justice: An introduction 👋🏾
Many of you here know that my work is based around the climate justice movement and I have created a large number of resources, mainly on Instagram, that helps to make sense of what it means. If you’re new around here or would just like a refresher from a different platform or in a different medium, I’d love you to check out the webinar linked below (I was kindly sent it by one of our community members)!
In this webinar, Judy Ling Wong offered an accessible and honest introduction to the field of climate justice. She outlined the often-ignored political, ethical and social contexts to the environmental crisis, and, importantly, how they all intersect.
Judy explored how addressing the impact of the climate crisis looks for different communities, giving examples of interventions at different levels to address inequalities. The webinar will help you form an initial picture of the climate justice movement and what it’s trying to achieve.
Apple and Disney among companies backing groups against US climate bill 🤔
In some less than ideal news, some of America’s most prominent companies, including Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Disney, are backing business groups that are fighting landmark climate legislation, despite their own promises to combat the climate crisis. None of the companies contacted by the Guardian would rebuke the stance of the lobby groups they are part of and none said they would review their links to these groups. It is less than surprising considering the goals of these companies to monopolise and capitalise on the world and its resources, however it doesn’t make it less disappointing and frustrating.
Indigenous resistance has staved off 25% of U.S. and Canada’s annual emissions 💨
In some more empowering news, a recent report by the Indigenous Environmental Network and the Oil Change International found that Indigenous-led resistance to 21 fossil fuel projects in the U.S. and Canada over the past decade has stopped or delayed an amount of greenhouse gas pollution equivalent to at least one-quarter of annual U.S. and Canadian emissions. This is huge and goes to demonstrate the very tangible impact that community drive action and resistance has on the course of our future in the face of the climate emergency.
Let this bring us hope and motivation to continue in our own struggles, resistance and action in the face of oppression and destruction!
Help CoFarm Cambridge tackle food insecurity in Cambridge - donate today! 🌽
Lastly, here is a request to support a local community garden in Cambridge! CoFarm Foundation brings people together to grow and share nutritious food, build stronger communities and healthier ecosystems. By 2030, they want everyone in the United Kingdom to have access to local, sustainably produced food and opportunities to enjoy growing and sharing it with others. In 2020, 250 volunteers came together and grew over 4.5 tonnes of fresh, local produce for 9 community food hubs in support of people experiencing food insecurity in Cambridge during the pandemic. They are looking for support to double this output in 2021.
You can watch a short video on their story here:
And donate with the button below!
End Note 📝
It’s not goodbye forever (I’ll see you again in two weeks)!
If you've enjoyed this week’s newsletter, I'd love it if you shared this platform with a friend or two. I’m working hard to make it one of the best emails you get each week, and I hope you're enjoying it.
Don’t forget to leave a comment if anything resonated with you, I’d love to hear from you and get some feedback!
And if you come across anything interesting this week, send it my way or share it in the comments! I love finding new things to read and I’m sure other subscribers do too.
Have a lovely week,