The Thirteenth Recommendation – adding Internationalism to the Climate Agenda (for Leeds and Beyond)

13th RECOMMENDATION

Back in July 2019 RJN were asked to become a part of the Leeds Climate Change Citizen’s Jury oversight panel. In our limited capacity, we were able to contribute some thinking to the recruitment process and methodology as well as providing testimony as commentators to the jury. At every stage of our engagement we were keen to emphasise the need for an international framing and to ensure that colonial legacies, climate debt, and the various struggles/ solutions already in existence from the Global South were considered.

RJN was allocated 15 minutes in one of the 9 sessions (30 hours in total) to deliver our testimony, and 15 minutes to field any questions (this shared presentation from RJN director Peninah Wangari-Jones and trustee Sai Murray, together with filmed interview questions posed outside the session, can be seen here).

Aware of the voluminous critiques on the whiteness of the UK climate movement and the sidelining of global majority voices we hoped our testimony would be afforded status as a vital underpinning to any recommended action for the city. However, on attending the November 2019 launch event to announce the 12 recommendations, no international framing was included.

Our existing work of engaging with global majority activists continued.

January 2020 saw RJN travel to Kenya to learn, skill-share, strategise and decolonise; and in March 2020 we held the next in our series of Collective Conversations on Race and Climate Justice: Our interconnected struggles. Out of these experiences and the enthusiasm shown by participants who would go on to form a dedicated Race & Climate Justice collective, the Thirteenth Recommendation was birthed.

We continue to do this work and to connect with individuals, communities and organisations locally and globally who have this consciousness embedded, and who demonstrate a desire to build in solidarity and work together for true planet repairs.

The 13th Recommendation is conceived therefore as a statement rather than an amendment or addenda. A foundation statement to underpin all other 12 recommendations and without which they are redundant.

THE THIRTEENTH RECOMMENDATION   

[working draft Sept 2020]

Act local, think global. 

There can be no climate justice without addressing the international impact of actions on a local level. 

Leeds is not an island – any and all recommendations on action moving forwards must take account of and engage with: 

  • Colonial legacies and the climate debt owed to the majority world from exploiting countries (such as the UK)
  • International perspectives on climate justice and the many solutions already being modelled by frontline activists and communities in the majority world.
  • Climate action as climate justice as social justice – the interconnectedness of oppressions and struggles, specifically: race, gender, class, migration, geography.
  • Solidarity to indigenous, Black, and brown communities whose livelihood, land and lives are disproportionately threatened by the destructive neocolonial practices of extractive industry and multinational corporations.
  • Solidarity to all those facing the brutality of fortress Europe, the Hostile Environment, and the institutionally racist security, prison and policing infrastructure. 

**************

A note on the significance of the number 13.

Capitalism is not in sync with nature. 

The present day Empire recognises and tries to contain the power of 13 (note the significance of symbology on the American dollar – 13 stars, 13 steps on the pyramid, 13 leaves & berries on the olive branch, 13 arrows…); the 13 original US colonies; the 13th amendment to the US constitution…

The partitioning of time under the Gregorian calendar into 12 hour days and 12 oddly numbered months is a patriarchal ordering at odds with the rhythms of mother nature.

There are 13 major joints in the body.

The moon orbits the earth 13 times a year.

The 13 month, 28-day calendar is, and has been, used by many ancient and indigenous cultures throughout history.

The 13 month moon cycle corresponds with the menstrual cycle.

The number thirteen holds power.

The Thirteenth Recommendation will be launched next month on the 13th October 2020.

Sign up to The 13th Recommendation: Climate Justice, Internationalism  and Coloniality event, by clicking on the link below:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-13th-recommendation-climate-justice-internationalism-and-coloniality-tickets-122031979937

Published by Sai Murray

Poet, writer, graphic artist of Bajan/Afrikan/English heritage. Trustee @racejustice Creative director @liquorice_fish Founding artistic director @voicesthatshake Artist @VirtualMigrants Organising member @ParcoeInfo

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