A seat at the table

Magid Magid on his first day as Sheffield lord mayor in his ceremonial lord mayor robes.

A new movement is empowering those on the frontline of the climate crisis.
 

The fight for climate justice is the fight of all our lives. However, the effects of the climate crisis are unequal and unfair.

This crisis was created by the privileged few, but it is hitting people of colour and marginalised communities the hardest.

So we cannot talk about the climate crisis without recognising that it is also an inequality and race issue.

Dedicated

And without a radical and rapid change of course, this unjust trend adds itself to all the other profound historical injustices marginalised communities across the UK, Europe and the world already confront.

The fight for climate justice requires a collective effort, and if we really want to bring the climate crisis to an end, we must urgently place the people on the frontline of its harshest effects at the heart of the conversation.

Working in the climate movement in the UK and in Europe for several years has taught me that the vast majority of climate organisations do not have a good track record of handling issues of equity or understanding climate change in dimensions beyond strictly environmental.

This experience and wanting to ensure that those mostly affected by the climate crisis have a seat at the table led me to set up Union of Justice – a European, independent, people-of-colour-led organisation dedicated to racial justice and climate justice.

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Inclusive

We’re a team made up of activists, researchers, artists and elected representatives from across Europe – all working towards building a Europe and a world that are equitable, just and sustainable.

Our aim is to defend, protect and extend human rights and basic entitlements in pursuing racial equality across Europe while bringing about a just climate transition.

Our proximal goals are, therefore, to ensure that centralised projects and decisions regarding European climate action do not worsen injustice and that the voices of marginalised communities and their concerns are heard and embraced.

A just climate transition demands that we ensure that any and all remedial action against climate change is just, inclusive, and diverse in outlook.

Our three pillars are:

1) Empower

We are building a vibrant people-of-colour network across Europe, where we facilitate training so that those most affected are equipped with the skills and knowledge to bring about change in their communities.

2) Influence

We are not a neutral organisation. No more ‘fence-sitting’. We openly and proudly advocate for positions and policies that in any way promote racial equality and climate justice.

We will do this through research, advocacy and policy proposals, and by building connections with key decision-makers as well as mobilising activists.

3) Change

From local campaigns to campaigns aiming to shift policy within the EU, we will ensure that people of colour are driving the conversation, whether it’s a focus on rebutting eco-fascist narratives, campaigning for climate reparation, or pushing for a globally aware, just and inclusive European Green Deal.

If you want to be part of a movement that reflects the wonderful blend of shades and voices of communities of colour from across our continent, if you want to reverse the climate crisis and help build a Europe and world that are equitable, just and sustainable, please support us and join the movement.

This Author

Magid Magid is founder and director of Union of Justice. He is former MEP for Yorkshire and Humber and former lord mayor of Sheffield. His book, The Art of Disruption: A Manifesto for Real Change, is published by Bonnier Books (2020). More information on the Union of Justice can be found on its website

Magid Magid will be joining the next Resurgence book club on 20 October 2021, 7-8pm. Join Magid for a Q&A with Marianne Brown, followed by an interactive book club chat. Free tickets are available online.

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The Ecologist has a formidable reputation built on fifty years of investigative journalism and compelling commentary from writers across the world. Now, as we face the compound crises of climate breakdown, biodiversity collapse and social injustice, the need for rigorous, trusted and ethical journalism has never been greater. This is the moment to consolidate, connect and rise to meet the challenges of our changing world. The Ecologist is owned and published by the Resurgence Trust. Support The Resurgence Trust from as little as £1. Thank you. Donate here