The Black Gold Injustice: A Permanent Condition? *Race * Poverty * Environment Justice * Action*
All over the world carbon-intensive lifestyles contribute to floods, droughts, wars and continued exploitative exploration. We remember Ken Saro Wiwa and others who challenged Shell’s oil exploration in Nigeria, receiving the death penalty instead of being listened to. We also remember those people all over Africa challenging environmentally destructive ‘development’. But are Scottish Africans concerned that Black indigenous cultures face environmental injustice?
Environmental Justice is increasingly seen as an anti-racism issue. ‘Environmental racism’ (the disproportionate impact of climate and environmental injustice on Black and indigenous communities) contradicts Human Rights agendas on access to clean, healthy environments for all. How does climate change in Africa and the Caribbean affect our daily lives here?
As research develops fresh evidence highlights UK ethnic minorities greater exposure to poor air quality – a consequence of disproportionately living within areas of multiple deprivation where there’s also high concentration of airports and carbon-heavy industries. BME communities therefore live daily with pollution – often coming off worst in climate change terms. What can Scottish Africans do practically to combat the affects of climate change in our daily lives?
Our project will create awareness of the causes, impacts and solutions to climate change in Africa and the Caribbean through creative action and popular education methods:
- African Family Fun-day outings to environmental sites and projects;
- Environmental Bus Tours to Clydebank and Grangemouth,
- Series of panel debates, seminars/workshops with Glasgow & Edinburgh universities student unions and African Caribbean Societies
- Promote low carbon technologies through the greening of the African Caribbean Centre refurbishment which can also highlight domestic A&C fuel poverty.
The project will also include
– Debating climate change causes, impacts and solutions in Niger Delta region’s oil extraction, Haiti’s earthquake, and Darfur-Sudan’s and DR Congo’s land and resource wars
– Providing tools and perspectives for developing multiracial perspectives and inclusive strategies for direct action through videoconference links with MEND (Nigeria); Capacity Global (UK) and author Van Jones (US) – making solidarity links between affected communities in African and Caribbean nations and Scottish Diaspora A&C communities.
– Highlighting the inspiring tradition of resistance to environmental racism by marking the 15th Anniversary of Saro Wiwa’s execution with a guest speaker from Remember Saro Wiwa campaign.
– Overcoming barriers to participation through challenging perceptions of those interested in climate change on race and class grounds, relating climate change to immediate concerns of poverty, unemployment & poorer housing, providing platforms for refugees and asylum seekers to speak about climate justice – a key reason for seeking sanctuar, encouraging our communities to take the necessary positive action for climate justice, looking at Scottish African & Caribbean attitudes to climate change – and make preparations by reducing high carbon emitting activities and wasteful consumption, encouraging greater A&C participation and planning of future Climate Camp events.
Join a new series of events to explore how our daily lives connect to climate change in Africa, the Caribbean and beyond
See flyer here
A global economy based on fossil fuels will lead to more natural disasters, resource wars and scorched frontiers of oil & gas exploration. Across the world, it is our Black and indigenous communities who are hit hardest by climate change and pollution. But why should these groups be denied the right to livelihood, or to clean and healthy environments? Social justice movements can challenge the ‘environmental racism’ embedded in our dependence on fossil fuels.
Dates, Venues and Times
16th April – 6pm African, Caribbean Network Office, 6pm 30 Bell Street, Glasgow – Ben Amunwa of Remember SaroWiwa Project leads “No Condition is Permanent: oil politics and resistance” – a discussion-based workshop on strategies to address environmental injustice, it’s race, class and gender impacts, in Africa and beyond.
19th April – Edinburgh University, Balcony Room, 12-2pm Ben Amunwa of Remember SaroWiwa Project leads “No Condition is Permanent: oil politics and resistance” – a discussion-based workshop on strategies to address environmental injustice, it’s race, class and gender impacts, in Africa and beyond.
19th April Aberdeen 6-8pm – University of Aberdeen (MacRobert Building near the intersection between King Street and St Machar Drive) MacRobert Building King’s College, Aberdeen, AB24 5U – Debate: ‘”Exploitation or Development? Oil, Politics and Human Rights in Nigeria” – Ben Amunwa of Remember SaroWiwa Project and other speakers. With a discussion on “how women’s experiences of our local environments are significant in understanding the power structures that determine the global conditions of our struggles.”
3rd May – Edinburgh University, Teviot Dining Room 1-3pm – Maria Adebowale – Director Capacity Global – Living in a clean and health environment is everyone’s right
3rd May – 6pm Glasgow, African, Caribbean Network Office, 30 Bell Street, Glasgow -Maria Adebowale – Director Capacity Global – Living in a clean and health environment is everyone’s right
Why Black is the New Green organisers are from all over the UK. We recognise the integral links between anti-racist struggle, social justice and environmental injustices. We are committed to integrating an anti-oppression framework and analysis into all of our work. This means addressing whose voices are heard, which priorities are chosen, what actions are taken, who does the work, and who gets the credit.
Our aim is to connect our communities fighting for basic human and environmental rights whom refuse to let ourselves or those close to us, live in uninhabitable conditions. We will continue to provide tools and perspectives for developing multiracial perspectives and inclusive strategies for action to defend our communities for dignity and justice in the face of growing inequality.
Watch the brilliant AfroGossip Trailer with Heather and Graham from the ‘Black Gold Injustice’
Supported and Organised by:
The African and Caribbean Network Ltd (A&CN) (www.acnglasgow.org) is a voluntary sector umbrella organisation and coordination body providing surgery, advice and support services in housing, anti-poverty work, employment, group capacity building and community development for 40+ African and Caribbean community groups representing 10,000 people in Glasgow and the surrounding region.
So We Stand (www.sowestand.com ) So We Stand is a peoples movement for empowering social change building self defence strategies to better our lives and communities. We provide training, support, and solidarity to grassroots struggles for environmental, social and multi-racial justice. We engage with popular education to build a culture of creative action and self-determination connecting different local experiences of injustice to protect life.
AfroGossip (www.truegossip.co.uk) are an inspirational medium for African & Caribbean communities based in Scotland? We promote and encourage greater awareness and appreciation of the African culture through media. We showcase and create opportunities for fresh talent and already established entertainers/ performers of all backgrounds while developing Black pride to challenge wrongful stereotypical views associated with people of black origin.
AMINA – The Muslim Women’s Resource Centre (http://www.mwrc.org.uk/) Amina the Muslim Women’s Resource Centre is a Scotland-wide Charity works with mainstream agencies and policy makers to enhance their understanding of muslim community and of barriers preventing muslim women from accessing services and participating in the society. MWRC also provides direct helping services, community development and a listening ear to muslim women.
Remember Sarowiwa (http://www.platformlondon.org/remembersarowiwa/events.htm) Remember Saro-Wiwa is a coalition of UK-based organisations and individuals encompassing the arts and literature, human rights and environmental and development issues.
Platform London (http://www.platformlondon.org/) PLATFORM works across disciplines for social and ecological justice. It combines the transformatory power of art with the tangible goals of campaigning, the rigour of in-depth research with the vision to promote alternative futures.
Capacity Global (www.capacity.org.uk) believes that everyone has the right to live in a clean and healthy environmen. Any action, item or process infringing on this right can be described as environmental injustice. We work specifically with people and communities in urban areas, who suffer most from environmental injustice, to ensure their voices get heard and fight environmental injustice to create opportunities for environmental justice.
Scottish Ecological Design Association (SEDA) (http://www.seda.uk.net/) aims to promote the design of communities, environments, projects, systems, services, materials and products which enhance the quality of life of and are not harmful to living species and planetary ecology.
Gratefully Supported by:
Artists Project Earth (APE) (www.apeuk.org/) aims to create a better world through the power of music and the arts.
“We are delighted to receive APE Trust support for this grant in a new and exciting area of community awareness and campaigning work for the A&CN. We have engaged in partnership with So We Stand since November 2009 when they co-hosted Nnimmo Bassey the Executive Director of Friends of the Earth Nigeria for a talk on “Why Black is the New Green” at our African Caribbean Centre. We are very hopeful that through this unique collaboration between environmental activists and African & Caribbean community leaders shall help frame the Scottish debate on climate change within our communities and in the wider society to include the struggle to address racism and environmental justice issues. APE Trust’s support in this work will be invaluable”
Graham Campbell, Network Development Coordinator, African & Caribbean Network
Reflections on The Black Gold Injustice: Where Next?
A&CN was proud to launch the Black Gold Injustice: Why Black is the New Green series of talks at Glasgow University African Caribbean society in a discussion facilitated by outgoing GUACS Chair Amani Aydeeri Mugasa and incoming GUACS Chair Alex Makilliwa – our thanks to them for allowing us to take time out of their annual officer elections.
We began by focusing on the Niger Delta region and the experiences of Chimezie Umeh (A&CN Acting Chair) during his visit to the region and the impact of oil exploration on the environment with oil flaring and constant spillage ruining the land for agriculture and bringing few benefits to local minority groups. How this contrasted with the residential site at Bonny which oil companies had ensured was a clean environment for their largely expat staff to live in. It showed that oil companies could clean up their act if pushed but that Nigerian governments had previously not been effective in doing so.
Dan Glass focused on the links between race and environmental justice, how Black Minority Ethnic (BME) communities were experiencing the brunt of pollution. He talked of the climate change refugee challenge in developing countries and how those countries had teamed up in Copenhagen in December 2009 to demand changes from the developed countries; and educated us on thinkers like US Activist Van Jones and Capacity Global who are making the link between racism, poverty and environmental injustice movements.
Graham Campbell focused on carbon emission reductions and lifestyle changes in the Scottish African Caribbean communities. He asked people how many walked, used public transport, or cars for their journeys. So – How green is the African Caribbean community? Pretty green as we tend to live in or near city centres (thus cutting down the length of our journeys), have much lower levels of car ownership and higher dependency on public transport so generally lower CO2 emissions. However much more of us or in fuel poverty, living in poor qulaity high density public housing.
Most GUACS students walk to work, only a few drive, and most use public transport every day.
We feel that that this workshop generated healthy and powerful dialogue and there was a thirst for more workshops and a keenness to build a wider network between the student and wider community. We are soon to start the rest of the workshop series across Scotland with a wide range of organisations and individuals. Even throughout the process, and before the events have started, it has been a strong and positive process building a network on race and environment grounds between people and groups who hadn’t previously made the connection.
The workshop on April 2nd at the A&CN Annual General Meeting was led by Dr Asma Abdalla of the AMINA Muslim Women’s Resource Centre and focused on the UN Climate Change conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia which Dr Abdalla attended in October 2010. She highlighted the results of the UN Conference where many developing nations resisted the agenda of developed countries to limit the CO2 reductions and spending pledges they were expected to make. The poorer countries successfully argued that richer nations were responsible for the CO2 emissions causing climate change damage in Africa. Several commissions and bodies were set up under the auspices of the conference to tackle technological issues, ClimDev – including a Climate Development Bank to mitigate the effects of climate change. A common African position was also agreed for international negotations. The main thing that came across was that African countries’ policymakers were actively discussing solutions to tackling climate change, in keeping with the need to develop the economies of poor countries. A&CN members were now much better informed about these.
For one of the interview examples please see http://istheglassfull.blogspot.com/2011/03/black-gold-injustice-permanent.html