Our Black History Month inspirational profiles
Throughout the course of October, we showcased on Twitter a number of Black people who, along with countless others, are making inspiring contributions for environmental and social justice. Those posts have been collated within this page below.
Alice Kazimura is a farmer, community leader and champion of women�s rights from Buliisa in Uganda. Since 2006 oil reserves estimated to contain 6.5billion barrels of oil have been discovered in this biodiverse region, triggering a rush of land-grabbing, conflict and human rights abuses.
"Unfortunately, the social and environmental cost of extracting oil and gas is increasingly becoming unbearable. Extraction has come along with grabbing of community land and forceful evictions of the communities by private individuals, government & companies."
Cleo is a current Green Councillor in Bristol and a former Lord Mayor of the city (2018-19). She has established her political reputation as a strong social justice activist and campaigner, particularly regarding anti-austerity and issues affecting African heritage communities.
She describes her focus as a Councillor as 'supporting the youth and underrepresented groups into politics and action'. She has also been a strong voice for the movement to de-colonise Bristol.
"I am energised by our young people, how they understand the challenges that we must overcome in terms of equalities and the environment. It is my duty to mentor, support and guide them in whatever way I can."
Beth Collier is a nature-based psychotherapist and anthropologist. She runs Wild in the City and has pioneered research into Black and Asian people's relationship with nature, and works to provide opportunities for leadership in nature for these communities.
"This absence is not simply about people of colours' relationship with nature, but also about our relationship with other people and how we�re received and responded to in natural settings."
Karen Larbi is a campaigner & facilitator who works for Campaign Bootcamp. She founded POC In Nature, a Black-led community for people of colour to explore the healing power of nature, environmental justice & land-honouring ancestral traditions. She has also recently been appointed as an advisory committee member for RSPB. Upon her appointment Karen said:
"I want everyone to feel inspired and equipped to act for the protection of birds, wildlife and nature. It's important that we dismantle barriers preventing people from doing so through emphasising climate justice and connecting to the people already doing this work in our communities.
�It's so important that charities shift the balance of power so it's in the hands of those most affected by the issues they're trying to address, especially those most marginalised, instead of the tokenistic involvement opportunities that currently prevail."
Gillian Lobo is head of UK litigation at environmental law charity ClientEarth, using the law to protect the planet and the people who live on it, compelling governments to put proper environmental measures in place.
"Climate change is so amorphous that it affects everything � how much food we can grow, whether our homes are flooded, what damage payouts insurance companies have to make. All these areas involve legal risks. In the future, I think you will see more individuals seeking to hold governments to account to reduce emissions. You could see more claims against companies for not doing enough. And there will be more challenges related to human rights, by the people impacted by climate change. Lawyers will be busy."
Yacouba Sawadogo is known as �the man who stopped the desert�. Starting around 1980 during a phase of severe drought, he has successfully created an almost 40-hectare forest on formerly barren and abandoned land. Today, it has more than 60 species of trees and bushes and is arguably one of the most diverse forests planted and managed by a farmer in the Sahel.
�This project is for future generations. I don�t want to eat today and leave future generations with nothing to eat. The work I do is to create the seeds for wealth � not only for Burkina Faso but for many other countries.�
Rosamund Kissi-Debrah is Co-founder of The Ella Roberta Family Foundation, set up in memory of her daughter Ella. The aim of the Foundation is to improve the lives of children affected by asthma in South East London by raising awareness of asthma, campaigning for better treatment of asthma and campaigning for clean air as it is everyone�s fundamental right to breathe clean air.
Mathare Green Movement
The Mathare Green Movement is run by the Mathare Social Justice Centre "to foster a community ethic, physical discipline, mental empowerment and healing" in Nairobi, Kenya.
Its first exhibition, using art & music, is being showcased free at BOM in Birmingham until March 2021.