“The way that we win on mitigating climate change is to enforce government accountability to its citizens and right now, that means fighting for justice for George Floyd.”– Dany Sigwalt in “Climate Activists: Here’s Why Your Work Depends on Ending Police Violence.”
“To white people who care about maintaining a habitable planet, I need you to become actively anti-racist. I need you to understand that our racial inequality crisis is intertwined with our climate crisis. If we don’t work on both, we will succeed at neither. I need you to step up. Please. Because I am exhausted.”– Ayana Elizabeth Johnson in the Washington Post
We at Artists & Climate Change condemn the racist murders of Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Tony McDade, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, and so many other Black people here in the United States and around the world. We stand in solidarity with our Black friends and colleagues in demanding justice for Black people who have faced the violence of police brutality, over-policing, and other manifestations of white supremacy and structural racism. We also stand with activists, organizers, and protestors who are facing continued violence at the hands of racist and oppressive police forces. We see and validate the strength, beauty, rage, grief, and exhaustion of our Black friends and colleagues, and of Black communities everywhere.
The mission of our parent organization, The Arctic Cycle, dedicates us to the fight for climate justice, a term adapted from the concept of environmental justice, which was developed by the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit in 1991. In a world in which the climate crisis disproportionately harms Black people, Indigenous people, and other people of color, there can be no climate justice without racial justice.
Racial justice must therefore be a core part of our mission, and we commit to showing up for other movements, especially those fighting directly for Black liberation. As an organization run by white people, we acknowledge that we benefit from entrenched structural racism, and commit to continuing to educate ourselves on anti-racism and racial injustice, including the environmental movement’s historical links to white supremacy. We recommend this essay by Julian Brave NoiseCat in VICE as a starting point, alongside this collection of readings on racism and the environment compiled by Somini Sengupta in The New York Times
Our primary function as an organization is to provide resources and platforms for artists and storytellers addressing the climate crisis. We recommit to amplifying and supporting BlPOC artists by increasing their representation throughout our initiatives and to continually reevaluating our work to ensure that it supports both racial and climate justice.
With power and justice,
Chantal, Julia, and Thomas