Envisioning Environmental Equity | 2022 - 2023
Climate change has been led by people in high-income countries, while the consequences fall on the poorest people. The ‘most affected people and areas’ (MAPA) remain excluded from climate mitigation agendas and leadership, resulting in further inequity. To help redress this, we aim to raise the voices and power of MAPA young people in Brazil, the Philippines and Uganda. Our vision is create climate and health work that centres racial justice, which means our efforts to reduce the negative impacts of climate change must be free from discrimination and anti-oppresive.
As of March 2022, our project team is currently wrapping up Phase 1 activities: stakeholder meetings have been completed across all sites, and each partner is will be hosting focus group discussions with young activitsts in the coming month.
R&H is partnered with three organisations: The University of São Paulo (USP), YACAP, and Climate Operation. Each organisation is committed to climate justice, where YACAP and Climate Operation centre climate education and advocacy at the heart of their work.
University of São Paolo - Brazil
The University of São Paulo (USP) is Brazil’s oldest University and the largest research institution. USP’s ethical resolution states that its members must defend and promote measures in favour of public education, at all levels, and the development of science, arts and culture, as well as contributing to dignity, human well-being and social progress. The work will be conducted with Indigenous communities in the Amazon. The advance of Amazon deforestation has been linked with loss of animal and plant populations, pollution, flooding, increase of malaria cases, and elimination of Indigenous and quilombola communities and their cultures. Brazil is marked by a diversity of ethnic groups. Traditional populations, such as Indigenous and quilombolas, have in common trajectories marked by inequities resulting from historic processes of political, economic, and social exclusion. Their cultures have been stigmatised and invisibilised, and there has been an omission of the recognition of their territorial rights. It is necessary to amplify Indigenous voices and messages, to present the land conflicts, deforestation problems, and other issues that have been affecting their communities.
Youth Advocates for Climate Action (YACAP) - Philippines
YACAP is a nationwide alliance of youth organisations, student councils, and individuals based in the Philippines that advocates for immediate global climate action led by the youth. The Philippines is one of the most climate-impacted countries on the planet, ranking fourth in the Global Climate Risk Index 2021 in terms of long-term risk. This is despite the fact that the Philippines contributes less than 1% to annual global emissions. As such, we believe that the youth must lead the ongoing struggle against the climate crisis for the survival of our planet. At its core, YACAP strives to raise awareness among the Filipino youth in order to build collective power and forward a grounded and intersectional climate advocacy to pressure local, national, and world leaders into action. Our alliance’s unity in calling for system change, not climate change, incorporates climate education initiatives not just with the youth, but also with the most impacted communities in the country. The ongoing climate education initiatives include online awareness campaigns, educational discussions, as well as on-ground immersions, collaborations, and discussions with frontline communities.
Climate Operation - Uganda
Climate Operation is a youth-led organisation that educates school-going children about the climate crisis and its intersection with other social issues. Acknowledging the fact that one of the main climate justice issues in the country is ignorance about the climate crisis which breeds further exhaustion and exploitation of the country's people and natural resources. Their vision is to make climate-based education fun, digestible and accessible to children in Uganda as well as connect them to nature through tree planting activities. Through this holistic approach, awareness about the climate crisis will be improved amongst young people.
Educational Module and Academic Papers
Over the course of the next year, we'll be developing creative projects with young advocates such as films, webinars, podcasts that explore how racism and xenophobia shape unequal and unfair climate health outcomes. We'll also contribute to the current discussions by developing an educational module academic papers that help people interested in climate justice engage in the current conversations. These projects ultimately highlight the importance of taking a justice approach to climate advocacy, and creating solutions to the climate crisis.
Road to COP27
Last year, members of the Race & Health team attended COP26 and brought home key insights that can strengthen our support for the climate justice movement. In preparation for COP27, we'll be developing a number of projects that centre young advocate voices from Brazil, the Philippines, and Uganda set to release at COP27.
Phase 1: Laying the Groundwork
Throughout the first quarter of 2022, our team will focus on informing our approach: Starting with stakeholder meetings across partner sites, we'll explore climate justice priorities for doctors, policymakers, and young advocates. These meetings will inform future focus group discussions with young advocates and our upcoming educational module on climate justice.
We are also preparing a publication to about climate health and justice. This academic work aims to set the stage for our future engagement and advocacy in the following phases.
Phase 2: Building Visions with Young Activists Through Art
Based on foundational work completed in Phase 1, we will be hosting art workshops with young advocates. These spaces will invite attendees to engage in the creative process to develop their ideas about racial justice and health within the realm of climate justice. Attendees will get the chance to work with local artists and create short graphic novels, films, and photography that show the health injustices they face, and how they respond.
Co-learning is also a central piece of our approach: Through monthly, virtual discussion groups, our young activists will engage in conversations to develop advocacy and campaigning skills. By holding space together, participants will lean on one another to create just climate solutions and pathways to advocacy in their local communities. Lessons will inform our organisational response to the climate crisis, as well as support MAPA communities involved in this project in pursuing their visions for climate justice.
Phase 3: Dissemination
Over the course of this project, we will share our thinking and progress through three key platforms: a podcast series, a webinar series, and a cumulative event at COP27.
Our podcast series will run throughout the year, and will focus on showcasing issues in climate justice, and what we can do to help. We'll cover topics across climate justice such as air pollution, waste, advocacy, and many more. For more about the podcast, subscribe to the Race & Health Podcast here, or listen on your browser here.
The upcoming webinar series will take place in the latter half of the year, and will explore the thoughts and ideas developed in the initial two phases in more depth. We will be releasing more information about the webinar series through our social media channels and newsletter, so please follow and subscribe to stay tuned!
Finally, we will be hosting an event about racial justice and health at COP27 this year, where we will present the findings from our engagement work, platforming our partner MAPA speakers. We will also run exhibitions in each of our sites, which you will be able to link to remotely.
Stay In Touch
This project is funded by the Wellcome Trust.