Climate Refugee Stories: Earth Day 2022 Toolkit
by digital designer Jamila Hammami
Dear Friends of the Climate Refugee Stories project,
On Earth Day 2022, we are excited to share this digital toolkit of stories and resources from the borders of the struggle for climate justice:
The Earth Day 2022 Toolkit is designed by Jamila Hammami and includes:
Global Forced Migration Key Terms
Who are Climate Refugees?
Suggested Readings from the #ClimateMigrationSyllabus
Art and K-12 Curriculum
Interviews and perspectives from Indigenous resistance in Brazil and the US-Mexico borderlands, US immigration detention, Puerto Rico, Marshall Islands, Ghana, and Bangladesh
Please share our toolkit with friends, students, and on social media, using the hashtags #ClimateRefugeeStories and #EarthDay2022:
As a historian studying immigration and social movements, I used to think my concerns over climate change were somehow separate from my academic work and activism. But I’ve learned the idea of a divide between social and environmental justice is a fiction.
Today is the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day in the United States. On Earth Day 1970, news reports criticized the movement, saying it was predominantly white and that focusing on the environment would distract from more urgent issues of poverty, racism and civil rights, and the war in Vietnam. But taking a closer look at actions and rallies across the country on that day reveals a much more intersectional picture.
Students, workers, Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and AAPI groups led organizing, and college campuses were key sites for coalition-building. Latinx and Native students in New Mexico marched on a sewage plant. In St. Louis, the group Black Survival acted out impacts of lead poisoning and air pollution. In Boston, students staged a die-in at the airport. And long before Earth Day was founded, Indigenous peoples around the world have been fighting to protect land, water, and lifeways from the ravages of colonialism and extractive industries.
Having worked to support people in immigration detention over the past decade, I see that climate justice IS racial, gender, migrant, and Indigenous justice. After visiting the US-Mexico border, where the building of a wall has destroyed ecosystems and divides Indigenous lands, I have come to see the connections, as well as the importance of histories of resistance to the origins of climate change: systems of exploitation rooted in colonialism, capitalism, and racism.
The Climate Refugee Stories project originated at UC Irvine as a student-led response to rising nationalism and eco fascism worldwide during the Trump administration. We are now a small, global Team of interdisciplinary scholars, practitioners, students, im/migrants and refugees, artists, educators, and storytellers. We have met an increasing number of people whose stories of displacement and migration have environmental dimensions--including, for example, Indigenous peoples; people displaced by hurricanes in the Caribbean or rising tides in South Asia; or a confluence of drought and crop failure, political instability, and poverty in Africa or Central America. And yet, there are no protections for climate refugees in international law. Those most affected by environmental injustice and unjust border laws can best help us understand how we got here, and where to go next.
We share stories to provide a framework for documenting and understanding climate migration—and for imagining just futures. Join Us!
Tina Shull, project director, and the Climate Refugee Stories team:
Tanaya Dutta Gupta, Saumaun Heiat, Emma Crow-Willard (Climate Now), Christine Wheatley (NED Africa), Monica Curca and Thor Morales (Activate Labs), Sienna Leis, and Keana Gorman
Special Thanks to Digital Designer Jamila Hammami!
Web Design: Lotus Digital Consulting LLC
FB: Climate Refugee Stories