ClimateCovid P1.1: What COVID is teaching us about the fight for climate justice



Panel 1.1: What COVID is teaching us about the fight for climate justice


Marlene Hale (Wet’suwet’en elder, activist, chef, and educator), Tasnim Rekik (decolonial feminist, community organizer and mental health worker), Kristen Perry (community organizer and is currently managing collective gardens at a local food security organization), moderated by Jennifer Gobby (Concordia University)

Q & A

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5 replies
  1. Ash Valenti says:

    Thanks so much for sharing all your thoughts, labor, and hopes with us.

    Tasnim, I agree that just putting a band-aid on the problem is not enough and looking for bigger solutions is vital, thank you to everyone dedicating so much labor and faith into this kind of work.

    Marlene, thank you for sharing the struggles of the native community accessing their traditional food, culture, clean air and water. The struggle of dealing with fires, climate change, environmental desecration, pollution, and species loss, and COVID… these problems all exacerbate each other… imagine catching COVID or living in fear of catching it as someone with vulnerable lungs or immune system while there is smoke in the air and a food shortage… so scary and so unfair…
    I’m glad you brought up spiritual health, I think our modern systems have severed a lot of folks’ spiritual health but at our core most people want to be connected and help others. I think leaders on these issues are so important and that folks who don’t consider themselves activists but still care should be offered opportunities to be brought in and give back too.
    I agree about indigenizing how we view Elders. I hope for a world that words toward seeing everyone and everything as part of interdependent systems and supporting each other and the natural world around us. I don’t have any indigenous heritage but I am so grateful to learn from and build relationships with Indigenous activists and I have come to believe, although it is unfair, yours is one of the most important lenses to finding solutions to the crises brought on by colonization, industrialization, environmental destruction, racial capitalism, patriarchy, etc.

    Kristen, so happy to hear that you are able to garden with your community. Food sovereignty is one of my passions. Interdependence is a really important concept too.

    I’ve seen comments on social media recently talking about how everyone is responsible for just their own health and the imperialist idea about the individual being the center of everything, not to mention the folks who are not taking masking/distancing seriously and only thinking about themselves. For example, Rep Ilhan (progressive new member of US Congress) told the story of her father passing away from COVID, where she is real about Trump’s failing to take any responsibility, and there are comments saying it is her and her fathers fault not Trumps for catching COVID. The truth is we are interdependent and what we do affects our community, as well as on a bigger level with climate change and everything.

    In Santa Barbara we have the privilege of a perfect climate for growing tons of nutritious food, yet most of our food is still brought in from elsewhere so I am supporting initiatives to get more food grown locally, including in our public Parks we are working on a Food Forest project that uses permaculture and indigenous principles of fostering interdependent plant systems and perennial food trees, creating a canopy and microclimate, fostering cross-pollination and healthy fungi networks.

    Thanks again for sharing your passions with us, may you all be happy and healthy,

    peace and solidarity,
    ash valenti
    UC Santa Barbara, Isla Vista, Chumash land

  2. Daphne Prodis says:

    Thank you so much Marlene, Tasnim, and Kristen for sharing your wisdom and progress regarding the fight for climate justice during such unprecedented times of the coronavirus. It was inspiring to hear you all speak about resilience and how although we’ve experienced many moments of emergency, trauma, and chaos during the past several months, it has also exposed major cracks in our governmental systems and has made the need for radical systemic change more apparent for a larger audience.
    As Kristen mentioned, seeing these systems fall apart makes it easier to advocate for change and take the initiative to solve problems that government resources often do not cover. I loved Kristen’s practice of ‘redistributive justice’ as a means to provide essential materials and funds to those who need them the most, especially during this pandemic. The “Share My Check” project was very interesting to me as well, since it can force people to think more about what their community needs and not just themselves individually, all while redistributing funds from those that have excess to those that need more. One question for Kristen that I was curious about was how have you encouraged individuals who have a surplus of funds or ‘pandemic dividends’ to indeed donate their resources? What sort of methods, tactics, or messaging have you been using or have worked best to get more people involved and inclined to share their wealth? I imagine that it might be tricky to convince someone in a global crisis to be selfless, so what has been key to the “Share My Check” project in particular? Again, thank you so much for taking the time to speak at this conference. I learned so much and am grateful to hear from awesome speakers like you!

    -Daphne Prodis (she/her)
    UC Santa Barbara undergrad

  3. Jolie Gobler says:

    This panel was amazing! Thank you all so much for sharing and for the work that you are doing.

    I really appreciate what Kristen said about how the pandemic has opened many people’s eyes to how the systems that are supposed to support people have failed. As someone who is privileged in many aspects, I knew that the healthcare system and other social safety nets weren’t great, but I didn’t realize the extent of it. The COVID-19 crisis has magnified these failures and inequalities. For many people, myself included, it has shown the need to create pathways outside of racial capitalism. All of the panelists discussed how there is a strong need to turn our attention towards our communities and find ways to help one another, whether it’s teaching people to provide food for themselves, sharing our paychecks, or fighting for food security within indigenous communities. All of these things not only help build resilience within our communities but actively reject racist fossil capitalism by operating outside of it.

  4. Jennifer Gobby says:

    Ah!!! Thanks for all this great comments! I am going to send some emails and make sure Tasnim, Marlene and Kristen can log in here and see the comments and respond! I’ll be back with my own responses and comments soon!

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