Category: Climate justice

Weathervane: We Not I 

Tuesday 15th November, 17:00-19:30, Strand Campus Great Hall

Person holding up a poster saying "13% of homes in fuel poverty" in a museumOn Tuesday 15th November King’s Culture Climate Collective is presenting Weathervane: We Not I, a joyful evening of collective artmaking and a student-led call to action from the Great Hall on Strand Campus.

As COP27 approaches and millions of young people once again hold their breath for meaningful political action, how do we create space for King’s students to share their climate hopes and fears, their dreams for a just and sustainable future?

Weathervane answers that call, featuring a range of empowering activities including:

  • The creation of We Are A Sea, a live unfolding mass artwork led by artist Beccy McCray exploring our relationship to water through the mixing of plant dyes
  • A talk from youth social justice organiser Simmone Ahiaku about how to turn climate anxiety into hope, resistance, and change
  • A showcase of specially created climate justice posters created by King’s students
  • The creation of the Climate Action Network Collective Manifesto, The Wall of Hope, a sustainable crochet masterclass and more!

Refreshments will be provided. Open to all students and stuff, however space is limited. RSVP via Eventbrite.

Experience participating in a climate migration programme

This blog post was written by Leander Bischof, International Development student at King’s College London.


In this blog post, I am describing my experience with the Erasmus+ programme on climate migration and unaccompanied minors in Sevilla. The programme was delivered by the local partner organization INCOMA (International Consulting And Mobility Agency Sociedad De Responsabilidad Limitada).

I had a fantastic experience with the hosting organization and the facilities they used. In general, this trip was well organized from the start to the end. I first noticed this programme through an advertisement by King’s College London. Throughout the application process and afterwards, during the introduction and preparations for the training, the staff was very helpful and professional. The pick-up at the airport went smoothly and all other transportation was delivered reliably. Throughout the training, INCOMA staff members were always available to support us. The hotel accommodating us was of very high quality, which made this a very pleasant experience. Most importantly, the training was fully funded, flights, transportation, hotel, and food expenses were fully covered.

Additionally, the participants were well chosen, all were from extremely interesting backgrounds. One of my highlights during the training programme were the presentations of other training participants about their experience with climate migration since the chance to listen and have a talk with such people is usually very rare. It was particularly inspiring to listen to the participants from Laamiga, a London-based organization that supports and empowers migrant women in the UK. I am also thankful that the programme allowed me to make friends with such inspiring people and I hope to stay in contact with them. The training usually finished in the early afternoon and thus, we were given enough time to socialize and explore the city. I am sure there is excellent travel advice on the internet, so I will not go too much into detail about the location. However, I really recommend visiting the Plaza de Espana and the Alcazar, both very beautiful places. Luckily, we were provided with 25€ per day, which allowed us to visit these tourist attractions and try excellent Spanish food.

The programme itself consisted of 6 days of training. On the first day, we mostly received introductions into the training programme and the overall issue of climate migration. We talked about expectations we had for the programme and our reasons to join. The first day did not contain much training but was rather used to allow us time to familiarize ourselves with the other participants and the city of Sevilla.

On the second day we mainly focused on mental health and its importance for both migrants and people working with migrants. We learned how crucial a good mental health condition is to be able to support migrants in their struggles. The training provided many useful information on how to improve the mental wellbeing of yourself and others. Later, we listened to the presentations of other participants. The first presentation was by two social workers from Italy, the second was about volunteering experience in France and the third presentation was about immigration in the UK. My highlight of the day was surely the third presentation by one of the Laamiga members about their work and issues they and other organizations face due to UK politics.

The third day of training was about the inclusion of migrants into educational and vocational pathways. The presentations of that day focused on migration from Bangladesh and on national identities. An important learning outcome was that the domestic population often reacts very repellent and that much work needs to be done to deal with aggressions, fears, and stereotypes in the local population.

Day four included more information on mental health issues of refugees and how to help in overcoming traumas. We also heard a very impressive presentation from a Turkish reporter about illegal pushbacks by the Greek coastguard in the Mediterranean Sea. Her presentation included one of her documentaries, showing refugees on completely overcrowded rubber boats who where troubled by a large boat of the Greek coastguard. It showed the aggressive and endangering behaviour of the European Union to prevent refugees from entering their waters, which has led to so many tragedies in the Mediterranean Sea. In the afternoon, we were invited for an Erasmus+ evaluation session on the training programme.

The next day was my favourite day of the week. Since we could not visit a refugee centre in Sevilla due to Covid-19 outbreaks, we had the head of the refugee reception centres in Sevilla come to us. His presentation had a strong focus on the reception system in Spain and on the issue of climate migration. Afterwards, we listened to the presentation of a cultural mediator who works with unaccompanied minors in Italy. Hearing his presentation was very captivating and inspiring. The presenter himself came as an unaccompanied minor from Gambia to Italy, taking the backbreaking route to Europe which so many African migrants have taken, and which has costs so many lives. Through the deadly Sahara Desert to Libya, where kidnappers and modern slave traders are preying on migrants, to the Mediterranean Sea where people spend many days on overcrowded rubber boat and finally to Italy. It was very humbling to hear from such a first-hand experience about these hardships.

The programme of the final day consisted of a visit to the Bioalverde farm, an inclusion project for climate migrants in Sevilla. On this organic farm, migrants who were unable to find a job are given the chance to earn a living. Sustainability in every sense was the main maxim of the farm, greatly supported by the local population. This last day was a fantastic ending for this trip.

On the next day, early in the morning we were brought back to the airport and flew back to London. In total, I can say the training programme was an amazing experience, and I am highly recommending this to all interested students and staff members at my university.


Find out more about Kairos: http://kairoseurope.co.uk/

Find out more about the training opportunities: https://migrationresearchgroup.wordpress.com/

Take part in the climate listening campaign in the community

Passionate about taking climate action, challenging injustice and building stronger communities? Then this might be an exciting opportunity for you!  

Over the next few months, the King’s Climate Action Network (CAN) will be running a listening campaign in King’s local boroughs. The CAN is now recruiting leads and 121 volunteers to support the roll-out of the listening campaign. 

The leads will form the passionate core team shaping this campaign. As a lead, you will receive full-day community organising training by Citizens UK to empower you to coordinate the project and lead a group of volunteers to conduct 121 conversations.  

As a 121 volunteer, you will conduct the listening to hear first-hand about the climate and sustainability challenges our local communities face and identify how King’s can support them in taking action. 

You will be working together with like-minded people to make real change while developing key skills including leadership, listening, organisation, and teamwork. 

Apply here: https://forms.office.com/r/wcAiRsyBVQ 

Climate Justice event during Sustainability Month 2022

This blog post was written by Katie Gard, Climate Education Assistant and organiser of the Climate Justice event in Sustainability Month.


Climate change will impact different people differently. Therefore, it’s likely to further exacerbate existing inequalities across generations, thus creating greater inequality and injustice. The recent Climate Justice Event, held during Sustainability Month 2022, explored narratives of exclusion which can often be perpetuated within environmental movements and discussed how inclusion can be promoted instead. The event involved a panel consisting of three wonderful speakers: Elias Yassin, Suzanne Dhaliwal, and Harpreet Kaur Paul. The speakers combined their personal experience with academic rigour to deliver engaging and informative presentations which challenged the misconception that social justice is unrelated to the climate movement. Although we acknowledged that it was impossible to comprehensively explore all the various avenues of climate justice, the speakers discussed themes including, but not limited to, disability justice, racial justice, and land justice.

Elias discussed how people with disabilities are often excluded from environmental and political activism: he drew upon specific instances within Extinction Rebellion and the recent event COP26. He explored the need to recognise issues of accessibility within wider society and the climate movement. Furthermore, he emphasised that the only true liberation is collective liberation, within which disability justice must be central. He also referenced a variety of resources for those who wish to understand more about the subject, all of which can be found at the end of this post.

Secondly, Harpreet Kaur Paul discussed the disparity between the ways in which different communities experience climate impacts worldwide, based on centuries of oppressive systems entrenched in inequality. For instance, women and girls often need to travel further in drought-ridden countries, which can increase their exposure to gender-based violence because of precarity driven by climate change impacts. She further discussed the compounding forms of oppression incurred by climate injustice, for instance how trans* people who are refugees can be subjected to binary ways of existence within refugee camps in relief countries.

Finally, Suzanne Dhaliwal discussed systemic injustice and highlighted the connection between environmental destruction and systems of white supremacy and patriarchy. She emphasised the need for decolonisation, and the importance of accountability within this process, particularly of destructive legacies and histories. When providing examples of her previous activism, she brought up the need to care for those who challenge dominant culture, alongside the importance of serving others within activism. I encourage you to watch the available recordings, for a summary cannot do justice to the extensive examples and content described by the three speakers.

After the speakers’ respective presentations, we transitioned to a discussion in which the panellists answered questions prepared by audience members. Some key highlights from this section included the need for self-work within collective organisations. Reflecting on the work of bell hooks (1994), the speakers discussed the need to build trust grounded in intention, humility, and grace within environmental spaces. Given that ideal solutions are not likely to be achieved overnight, they expanded the understanding of what ‘action’ means by advocating for imperfect action together whilst simultaneously working towards a new and reformed system. Moreover, it was highlighted that activists should be centred in allyship, to advocate and achieve collective liberation and justice for all.

You can access the available recordings and recommended resources through this link.

References:

Hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to transgress: education as the practice of freedom. Oxfordshire, England. Routledge.

Sustainability Month 2022: a true celebration

What a month! Throughout February, we welcomed hundreds of people to more than 20 social and educational events focused on taking action around the Sustainable Development Goals. Organised by students, staff members, and alumni from across disciplines, this month was a true celebration of the breadth of sustainability and the King’s community’s involvement in it.

We learned to reflect on our stories in the climate and nature crisis and got inspired to take action in the events on volunteering, recycled glass, plant-based diets, and greener ways to grow your veg. We learned how we might address the climate crisis from a policy perspective, what digital start-ups can do to advance the SDGs, and what some of the main inequality issues are in South Korea. The interconnectedness of environmental and social sustainability was highlighted during the panel for climate justice and the event on the climate crisis and refugees, and we learned how we might go about translating that into education. The Shots for Hope exhibition and the Visions for the Future workshop series helped us to stay hopeful in the face of the climate crisis.

The month brought people together socially in events such as the sustainability quiz night, stitch and pitch, and the show the love campaign, as well as professionally in the interdisciplinary sustainability research forum and the London Student Sustainability Conference. The events on careers in sustainability helped students explore the breadth of what this means for their future.

If you missed an event, you can find the event recordings here. Not all recordings have been uploaded yet, but we aim to do so as soon as possible. We will also be posting event summaries and reflections on our blog over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for those. If you have any feedback you would like to share, please fill out this feedback form. If you would like to write a blog post on an event you organised or attended, feel free to get in touch.

International Women’s Day 2022: Women, climate change, and ecofeminism

The facts are clear: women and girls are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change. This vulnerability has several social, economic and cultural causes, including the fact that the majority of people living in poverty are women, and they are often the ones responsible for putting food and water on the table which is becoming increasingly difficult due to climate change.

However, on this day celebrating the achievements of women, it is important to highlight how women are simultaneously at the forefront of global sustainable development. Women need to be at the heart of climate action, because “women possess unique knowledge and experience, particularly at the local level, their inclusion in decision-making processes is critical to effective climate action” (UN Women, 2022). Studies have shown that women’s participation both at the local level and in national parliaments leads to better outcomes for both people and planet.

“Without gender equality today, a sustainable future, and an equal future, remains beyond our reach” (UN, 2022). Why is this so important? Let’s explore ecofeminism for some potential answers.

Ecofeminism

First of all, what is ecofeminism? It is a social movement bringing together feminism and environmentalism, arguing that the domination of women and the degradation of the environment have the same root causes: patriarchy and capitalism (Buckingham, 2015). The key word in ecofeminism is domination. According to Vandana Shiva, development and globalisation are a continuation of our obsession with domination of the ‘other’, whether this is nature, women, indigenous peoples, or subordinate classes (Clark, 2012).

Therefore, “any strategy to address one must take into account its impact on the other so that women’s equality should not be achieved at the expense of worsening the environment, and neither should environmental improvements be gained at the expense of women” (Buckingham, 2015). For solutions to be impactful they have to address both feminism and environmentalism and this can only be meaningfully done by reversing current values to prioritise care and cooperation over more aggressive and dominating behaviours.

An inspiring example: Mariama Sonko

Mariama Sonko leads the ecofeminist movement Nous Sommes la Solution (NSS) meaning “we are the solution”, which brings together more than 500 rural women’s associations in Senegal, Ghana, Burkina Faso, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea and Mali to promote sustainable agroecology and fight large-scale industrial farming. What ecofeminism means to her? “The respect for all that we have around us.” Doesn’t sound like a too difficult ask to me.


Check out Women4Climate: an initiative aiming to empower and inspire the next generation of women climate leaders.

Get involved in International Women’s Day (IWD) and Women’s History Month at King’s. Check out the events KCLSU is organising throughout the month here, from panel events and movie nights to leadership masterclasses about challenging misogyny and being an ally to women. The chaplaincy is also organising an event to watch and discuss the movie Stranger/Sister. Explore King’s Global Institute for Women’s Leadership and their upcoming events here. Find out more about King’s dedicated Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team, the staff gender equality network Elevate, and KCLSU’s Women’s Network.

At King’s, we are slowly moving in the right direction, but there is of course more to do. In 2021, King’s Gender Pay Gap was 14.8%, down from 17.1% the year before. Read the news article on King’s 2021 Gender and Ethnicity Pay Gaps figures here, and while you are at it, check out how King’s has been awarded the Workplace Equality Index Award in recognition of its commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion at work.