Climate Week 2020 September 21–27
Listening to each other’s experiences as Africans impacted by the climate crisis is an important part of Climate Week/COP26. We need stories of hope, commitment, and courage—stories that can unite us, inspire us, and rekindle our spirit. We also need to share our struggles in relation to the climate emergency, and how it is impacting our continent, countries, and communities.
This Forum on African Voices welcomes African climate activists, and all Africans, to come share their stories and struggles, learn from each other, and get a broader picture of the threats of climate change. At intervals during the forum, participants will take turns listening to each other in pairs. In this way, everyone will have a chance to process what they have heard, tell their own story, and express any feelings they have about the climate crisis. Sharing like this can be a powerful way to strengthen our resolve, commitment, and activism.
Our goals are:
1. Increasing awareness of the existence of and damage caused by the climate emergency,
2. Freeing each other from oppression and other hurts that turn people against one another and make them compete for resources,
3. Supporting each other to organize effectively to preserve and restore the environment.
The Work of SAL and UER
It is possible to limit the effects of human-caused climate change and restore the environment—and some big changes are needed if this is to happen. Sustaining All Life (SAL) and United to End Racism (UER) believe the environmental crisis cannot be resolved without ending racism, genocide of Indigenous peoples, classism, sexism, and other oppressions. The impact of environmental destruction and climate change falls most heavily on the groups targeted by these oppressions, and on other vulnerable populations (including populations of people who are elderly, disabled and very young).
To build a movement powerful enough to resolve the climate crisis, SAL and UER believe that the following barriers must be overcome: (1) longstanding divisions between nations and between groups of people caused by oppression (especially by racism, genocide of Indigenous people, and classism), (2) wide-spread feelings of discouragement and powerlessness, (3) a too-slow response to the escalating damage to the earth’s climate, (4) difficulties in effectively addressing the connections between the environmental crisis and the failures of our economic system.
We have found that these barriers are most quickly overcome as people heal from the mental and emotional harm caused by oppression. SAL and UER events provide opportunities for people to take turns listening to each other while encouraging emotional release. We become better able to think, speak out, organize, unite, and lead others in building a sustainable world.
SAL and UER are projects of and use the tools of Re-evaluation Counseling, which currently exists in 95 countries.