The Uproot Project 🌱 Which change-maker are you? 🧐 COP26 Action Hubs ✊🏾

Your bi-weekly journey, discovering the intersection of climate science and social justice.

Hello lovely people,

I hope you are coming into this new week rested and got a chance to connect with yourself and the natural world in any small way.

I haven’t spoken to you since I got back from Scotland, which was such a needed trip. It was my first time in Scotland and it far exceeded my expectations in beauty. Apart from a small blip in needing to be taken to hospital for chest pain, it was the perfect break and I can’t wait to visit more in the future (with COP around the corner this is going to be sooner than I expected)!

I am aware that places that seem “wild” in the social conscious are oftentimes romanticised, or over-romanticised and Scotland is one of those places. Despite it genuinely feeling romantic to me – road-tripping through the highlands with my love, seeing rare red squirrels playing in the tree-tops and canoeing on black-blue lochs – I was also cognizant that the sights we were seeing were, for those human and non-human who call Scotland home, altered, destroyed or mere shells of their former selves. This feeling of an alternate reality of the beautiful land I was connecting to grew stronger as we journeyed closer to the North Sea and my knowledge of the government’s draw for oil came sharper into focus and as we passed graveyard after graveyard of forested Sitka Spruce plantation.

Whilst in the Cairngorms, we stopped to pick up some books and I wanted to find some writing from Scottish authors, to dive a bit deeper into the reality of the natural world away from a tourist gaze. I was in luck and came across “Antlers of Water”, a collection of essays, poems and stories from Scottish writers (edited by Kathleen Jamie) on the nature and environment of Scotland. One essay that resonated with me came from Chitra Ramaswamy, in which she explored the idea that the “walks we don’t do might be as significant as the ones we do”. She describes her own journey within Scotland with her family, noticing the increase in footfall and vehicles on the road and wonders “if the best way to love a place was not to go there at all”.

My interpretation is not a literal one, being within and connecting to the rest of nature is an important (spiritual) practice, especially in times of such isolation and anxiety. However, keeping space for imagined places, for admiration and love from afar (especially with regards to far-flung places) and resisting the urge (as a society) to uncover every last stone, every last tree or blade of grass in this world is a comforting thought.

In a time where we must be motivated to take action to protect places we may never visit, perhaps getting used to valuing the walks we don’t do just as much as those that we take close to home becomes an incredibly important and radical practice…

Now, let’s get into some good news!

Farmers regreen Kenya’s drylands with agroforestry and an app [Mongabay]

In Kenya, less than 20% of farmland is suitable for crops due to inadequate rains and degraded soils, and many farmers have seen their land produce less to the point of needing food aid. Dried-out soils create a hard pan that rains and roots can’t penetrate, but in Kenya, more than 35,000 farmers have joined the Drylands Development Programme to regreen their lands with agroforestry, joining peers in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Mali and Niger. By planting annual crops among useful trees like mango, orange and neem, vegetables and animal forage crops receive enough cooling shade and moisture for them to take hold out of the scorching sun. As each farmer learns what combination of crops and trees works for them, the results are rapidly shared with researchers and fellow farmers through an app, speeding the rate at which all the program participants can benefit from the knowledge.

How publicly-owned power could shape the future of clean energy [PopSci]

When a grid is publicly owned, it means that businesses and homes are powered by a non-profit,  and publicly owned and funded utility.  And according to public power advocacy nonprofit We Are Community Powered, a public power grid is more likely to be cheaper than privately owned grids. It not only gives citizens direct access to the source of their power, which could improve grid and weather-related issues– like having quicker access to the grid to turn the lights back on after blackouts from extreme heat and high power usage during super hot summers. 

Ted Lasso Is an Unexpected Masterclass in Environmental Storytelling [Gizmodo]

Recent research suggests that people who aren’t interested in entertainment that is explicitly “environmental” will avoid it, whether it’s because they disagree with its perspective or because they’re just seeking entertainment. Which is why we need a lot more shows like Ted Lasso.

In the third episode of season two, Sam Obisanya, a young Nigerian defender who has slowly become a team leader, is excited to land a deal starring in an advertising campaign with Dubai Air (a fictional airline), one of his club’s sponsors. When he is informed that Dubai Air’s parent company, Cerithium Oil (a clear stand-in for Shell), is responsible for “destroying Nigeria’s environment and bribing government officials” Sam asks to not be included in the ad, which the club’s owner agrees to. He goes a step further, staging a public protest on the pitch that the entire team backs him on.

Research has found that even though we know that fictional characters are fictional, on a neurological and emotional level we seem to interact with them as if they’re real. As such, the media that we consume inevitably has a powerful effect on our sense of ourselves and the world around us. Other shows should take note of Ted Lasso’s masterclass in how creators of non-environmental media can and should incorporate environmental issues.

Can I Live?

Speaking of impactful entertainment, a super exciting film has just been released in the UK. Put together by Fehinti Balogun (I May Destroy You and Walden on West End), Can I live? sits as a wonderfully accessible expression on the intersections between climate change and social justice.

The film has a really urgent message about climate justice – the intersection of the climate crisis and social justice issues – offering audiences, particularly those from global majority backgrounds, roots into their own activism. To ensure the work reaches as many audiences as possible the team have made the film ‘Pay What You Decide’, meaning you can contribute as little as £1 for a ticket.

The film is now live on a 'digital tour' and can be watched online from anywhere in the world across the September - December screening period.

Grab Your Ticket

Inner and outer resilience: An immersive retreat in rural Somerset 🌱

Calling all people of colour living in the UK! The lovely people at St.Ethelbergers have reached out to let me know that today is the last day for application for bursary places on their upcoming retreat in the British countryside.

The three days of the retreat will focus on service to the earth through planting and working with the land. You’ll get a chance to explore practical tools for inner and outer resilience, and combine regenerative action with an unflinching look at the reality of ecological and social breakdown.  

An amazing opportunity that shouldn’t be missed!

Sign Up Now

COP26 Action Hubs ✊🏾

I hope you will not tire of me continually sharing opportunities for you to take action against climate! I know it is something a lot of people are struggling with right now, knowing what to do, so here is a good one.

The wonderful people at COP26 Coalition (whom I speak about constantly) have created an interactive map of all the UK based local, regional and national action groups and initiatives that are coming together for the Global Day of Action on November 6. You can filter the map by clicking the coloured dots in the key and sign up to take action near you.

Take Action

Which change-maker are you? 🧐

If you’ve been around here for a while, you’ll know I talk a lot about finding and stepping fully into your own unique role within the climate movement, rather than falling into despair at the gatekeeping and checklist ticking some part of the movement might impose. If you need a refresher, check out the original post here.

I came across another great resource with a similar message from Force Of Nature! You can take their online quiz to help you find your place, inspired by the young change-makers featured in the Force of Nature podcast.

Take The Quiz

Net-zero policy tracker 📉

For those of you interested in how the UK government is sizing up against its own policy targets, then this resource (shared via EarthByHelena) is a good starting place!

The Green Alliance have just released their September 2021 update on the state of UK actions in comparison to the emissions targets set to reach net-zero by 2050. In short, the diagnosis is that the UK is still firmly off track to meet net-zero by 2050 but current policies in the pipeline could help change this.

The UK is a long way off track to meet its 2050 net zero carbon target. Policies in place at the start of this government left an emissions gap of 985 MtCO2e over the fifth carbon budget period (2028-32). Policies and spending announced since will only reduce emissions by 24 per cent, still leaving a significant gap of 746 MtCO2 e. There is a silver lining. If the UK government committed to the housing and transport policies that are out for consultation, the country would be over a third of the way to closing its emissions gap in the fifth carbon budget period.

Read The Report

The Uproot Project 📝

An opportunity for environmental journalists of colour! The Uproot Project, is a newly launched network for journalists of colour who cover environmental issues, as well as students and others aspiring to cover this beat.

Launched by Grist, who want to bring diverse voices to the forefront of environmental reporting the Uproot Project will connect its member journalists with publications, offer training, and build community as we navigate the work ahead reporting on the environmental crises of our time.

Learn More

The Green Fix

Before I head off for the next two weeks, I just wanted to share another great environmental newsletter you may want to subscribe to. The Green Fix is a free newsletter for anyone who wants to make a real difference to the climate crisis but is broke, busy and bombarded with information. Sign up for climate news, information and free resources every two weeks. 

End Note 📝

That’s it from me for now but 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!

Leave a comment

If you want to support the Climate In Colour and the content I make, follow, and engage with me on PatreonInstagramYouTube or make a one-time donation.

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,
Joycelyn 💚