Forest of Imagination 2021 🌲 #ShowYourStripes 📈 Indigenous Climate Action 💡
Your weekly journey, discovering the intersection of climate science and social justice.
Happy Solstice lovely people!
I want to start this newsletter by giving gratitude for the world we live in and the beauty, resilience and life-giving energy of the rest of nature. I spent the morning walking around the local woods and just feeling so grateful for the little oasis we have here (and are privileged to have) but also in awe of just how many different birds, flowers and trees continue to exist and support each other in such a confined space.
This weekend I finished reading In The Garden: Essays on Nature and Growing from Daunt Books, it was a beautiful bundle of joy filled with the thoughts, musings and wisdom from a wide range of writers. One essay really stuck with me What We Know, What We Grow at the End of the World by Victoria Adukwei Bulley. As someone who spends a lot of time thinking deeply about our position in life, the conversations we have and the actions we can take, I connected deeply with the following section of her essay:
In a time during which it is necessary to ask what structures must be dismantled in order for all peoples to live freely and well, thoughts about what will need to be abolished come in tandem with those asking what we will need to learn to grow.
I have been working on a project that addresses directly this statement and I can't wait to share it with you, but for now, let's get into some good news!
On The Bright Side 🌞
Existing plans to limit global warming rely too much on “increasingly unrealistic assumptions” that societies will be able to remove huge amounts of carbon from the atmosphere while simultaneously maintaining incessant economic growth over the next 50 years, according to a May 2021 study in Nature Communications. Economic degrowth—strategies to shrink the economies of rich, developed countries while maintaining the wellbeing of the people and environments they are based on, and building climate solutions on structural social changes, like rethinking the way we work, produce food, heat our homes and move around could be more successful than those that rely on uncertain carbon removal technologies, they said.
Bangladesh Offers a Model for Climate Migration [Bloomberg.com]
Bangladesh faces a worsening climate migration crisis as intensifying floods send waves of displaced residents from low lying coastal zones to Dhaka each year. To ease pressure on the already overcrowded capital, Saleemul Huq (director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development) and his colleagues argue for the creation of “migrant-friendly” towns outside of major cities — a strategy that can be implemented in other densely populated countries. Each of these satellite locations would have its “own development and adaptation plans to address climate risks and economic opportunities” in order to attract migrants. Migrant-friendly towns would be climate-resilient and have basic infrastructure in place, like low-cost housing and employment opportunities. They would also foster cultural ethics and values of incoming migrants, who experts say prefer not to move far from where they were displaced. The strategy is currently being implemented in at least five cities in Bangladesh, with programs that specifically target migrants who have crowded into slums, and there are more municipalities that could potentially absorb an influx of displaced residents.
While it’s early days for data that is still being analyzed, Jennifer Fisher, a plankton ecologist with Oregon State University, reported seeing an abundance of plankton associated with cold water upwelling, and good fat levels and size in zooplankton, the tiny animals that feed the food web. There are strong correlations between this food web and salmon returns, and even seabirds such as marbled murrelets that travel 50 and more miles from their forest nests to feed at sea. “We are seeing a high biomass of copepods and they also are big,” Fisher said by phone on a shore break during an ocean survey. The long-term ecosystem survey is invaluable for showing trends in ocean conditions. Those took a dramatic turn starting in the fall of 2013, as The Blob (the massive marine heatwave) began building.
Meet the 2021 Goldman Environmental Prize Winners 🏆
This year marks the 32nd anniversary of the Goldman Environmental Prize (aka the Green Nobel Prize), which honours one grassroots activist from each of the six inhabited continents. The 2021 prize winners are Sharon Lavigne from the United States, Gloria Majiga-Kamoto from Malawi, Thai Van Nguyen from Vietnam, Maida Bilal from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kimiko Hirata from Japan, and Liz Chicaje Churay from Peru.
It's so inspiring to see the work of people who are working tirelessly on the ground and in their communities to make this world a better place and this year's winners include a special education teacher whose activism stopped the construction of a billion-dollar plastics manufacturing plant along the Mississippi River; a woman whose efforts led to the creation of a national park in Peru the size of Yellowstone; a community leader whose organizing and 500-day blockade of heavy equipment stopped the construction of two dams in the Balkans; an activist who helped cancel 13 coal power plants in Japan and is the first female prize winner from Japan; a man who has dedicated his life to rescuing endangered pangolins from the illegal wildlife trade and ending poaching; and a woman who fought for a national ban on thin plastics manufacturing in Malawi.
#ShowYourStripes is a graphic project from Ed Hawkins at the University of Reading. The ‘warming stripe’ graphics (created with data from the Met Office) are visual representations of the change in temperature as measured in each country over the past 100+ years. Each stripe represents the temperature in that country averaged over a year. For most countries, the stripes start in the year 1901 and finish in 2020. For the ocean basins and for several countries with longer datasets available the stripes start in the 19th century instead. For two cities (Stockholm and Vienna), the data starts in the 18th century. You can check them out for your country and use them in any way you like (as long as you credit Ed)!
Forest of Imagination 2021 🌲
The Forest of Imagination is a hybrid event happening from 24 June - 3 July this year (100% Covid Compliant) with the aim of keeping communities connected with creativity. The event(s) will create a radical response to the global environmental crisis through creativity & research. There will be a multi-sensory array of participation art installations, workshops, architecture, sculptures and audio experiences online and invites everyone to participate. The event will have online aspects too and the tickets are free!
2021 Geneva Dialogues on Human Rights & Climate Change 🗣
Earlier this year, I was involved in the Geneva Dialogues on Human Rights & Climate Change with the Un High Commission for Human Rights. My session was focused on talking with the UN about how to tackle environmental racism and support communities around the world. In that session, I was surrounded by so many experts and it was quite an intimidating space to be in, I was also wary about speaking directly to such a huge global body and how forthright I could be about my true opinions. Getting to the end of the session, when asked what the UN could do to start the process of eradicating environmental racism, I finally bit the bullet and urged them to not only point the finger outwards but to take stock of their own activities and to heavily audit themselves. Through my master’s research and previous reading and listening to communities on the ground, it is clear that the UN are part of the problem and this was a scary thing to say. Well, it's been a few months and we finally received the report from all the Geneva meetings. I'm not sure I can share the whole report (waiting for confirmation) but the following snippet shows that my comments were listened to and have been embedded in their actions going forward!
Integrating human rights across various governance spaces is a first, crucial step. Within the UNFCCC this has not yet been achieved, including in the framework of carbon markets, as these mechanisms contribute in some cases to delaying the transition away from the most polluting industries whilst creating new social threats to remote communities, where so-called clean development projects are promoted with little consideration for the rights of local communities. In the context of UN-led programmes and projects, implementing a rigorous audit process would be a good tool to prevent human rights violations in the implementation phase, together with openness to acknowledge and address those violations. This approach should also apply to the philanthropy sector more in general.
Community Spotlight: Indigenous Climate Action 💡
Indigenous Climate Action is a community organisation whose work inspires, connects and supports Indigenous Peoples, reinforcing their place as leaders in climate change discourse and driving solutions for today and tomorrow. Their work is grounded in four main pathways: Gatherings, Resources and Tools, Amplifying Voices and Supporting Indigenous Sovereignty.
They have so many resources on the site and are working to amplify indigenous voices in the fight against the climate crisis. They also have a podcast you can check out!
End Note 📝
It’s not goodbye forever (I’ll see you again next week)!
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Have a lovely week,