Speaking up for our planet: turning talk into action

17/06/2020

Climate action and climate justice is the focus of the latest More Than a Shop podcast episode, created Co-operatives UK, Co-op News, The Co-op, Co-op College and Co-operative Heritage Trust,

This episode lands during Community Energy Fortnight 2020, which celebrates the community-owned renewable energy projects – from generating clean energy to energy efficiency projects. Often co-operatively owned by the communities, these projects give control of their energy and the profits, which are often reinvested into other energy or other community projects.

Louise Marix Evans, who has a wealth of experience working on such projects with a range of communities across the north of England, says:

“[Community-owned energy] is fairer, it's more inclusive. It is also complicated but we have the range of skills to bring together and co-operate on to deliver it. Ultimately it makes me feel hopeful rather than just giving up.”

Since recording the episode, Louise Marix Evans has added:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone – those in lower paid jobs and deprived areas the most. It’s highlighted existing disparities. I hope that plans being made now by the government, local government, charities and support organisations – including those in community business and community energy – come up with schemes that really help make a big shift to a green, sustainable, fair recovery possible. They need to support stable, well-resourced schemes initiated that are thoughtfully co-created by a diverse set of people working together in their communities for a new, better ‘normal’.”

The climate emergency is one of the biggest issues our planet is facing, but whose voices are missing when it comes to activism and developing solutions? 

Speaker and activist, Samantha Moyo, suggests that climate activists have a lot of work to do to make people of colour feel included, on the latest episode of the More Than a Shop podcast. And, she points out, even more importantly, they should be leading the conversation.

In Speaking up for our planet: turning talk into action, broadcaster Elizabeth Alker talks to Disruption Doctor, speaker and activist Samantha Moyo and Louise Marix Evans, Director of three community energy organisations, about how we can ensure that everyone's voice is heard when creating solutions to climate change.

Samantha Moyo works with groups and organisations on diversity and inclusion on a number of issues, including taking climate action.

“I work on presenting the need for diversity within climate issues. My take is, let's work on climate change but also let's look at economic and racial injustice. Because what's happening with the climate movement is really hurting my heart. And it's hurting a lot of people's hearts in marginalised communities. Myself and others don't feel like the climate movement is including us.”

“And I think as people are coming up with all these demands around emissions and climate issues, we need to be putting in the infrastructure to support the people who are going to be most impacted. And I've not seen nor heard that anywhere.”

Since recording the episode back in 2019, so much has changed in the world. Samantha Moyo wanted to share these additional words:

“When we truly understand that capitalism and slavery were born at the same time, that is when climate, racial and economic justice can begin to be realised. The major shifts happening in our planet are being created to restore balance – the planet has had enough and black people (the seed of mankind) have had enough. There must be no other agenda in the new normal than repairing the wounds of colonisation and capitalism. Black Lives Matter – thank you for reminding us that there is no greater cause than the liberation of people. As people heal so will the planet.”

The episode also features the tree planting organisation, Treesponsibility, based in Yorkshire. In the last 20 years the organisation has planted more than 250,000 trees with the help of volunteers from businesses, organisations and individuals from the local community. 

Christina Hooley, who manages operations at Treesponsibility, says:

“We started back in 1998 to communicate the need for action on climate change. Obviously, we need to do a lot more than just plant trees, but it gets people thinking about what else they can do.”

A volunteer at the Treesponsibility site, who works at the Co-op Group, believes co-operatives have a part to play in the fight against climate change:

“I think they do, definitely. [Co-operatives] bring people together to work in a un-hierarchical way, for a common goal and purpose, for the betterment of everyone.“

Listen to the episode Speaking up for our planet: turning talk into action and subscribe to future episodes morethanashop.coop. Transcripts of the episodes are available: www.uk.coop/resources/more-than-a-shop 

This article was orginially posted on uk.coop website.