Climate Justice: A Conversation with Vanessa Nakate, Alice Aedy & Farhana Yamin
byClimate & Sustainability
Climate activist Vanessa Nakate, documentarian Alice Aedy and environmental lawyer Farhana Yamin are three prominent voices in the global discussions around climate change and the effects it’s already having on lives.
Often framed as a challenge for the next ten years, they will bring their individual perspectives and point out that the effects of climate change are already here – and it’s those who have contributed least to the problem who are feeling it first.
Vanessa Nakate, 24, is all too aware that, in times of crisis, it’s the rich who have the means to survive. Growing up in Uganda, she’s observed how the climate has changed and the effects this is already having on a country that depends heavily on agriculture.
Alice Aedy, 27, is a film-maker and campaigner whose work focuses on social justice issues including forced migration, climate justice, and women’s stories.
They’ve experienced how climate change is already having a devastating impact on communities, and they’ve seen how race, gender, and socio-economic status often determines a person’s ability to survive climate-based disasters. They’ve witnessed first-hand how vital it is that we reshape this planet in a way that makes it liveable for all.
Join Vanessa, Alice and Farhana as they discuss how we can build this truly inclusive future today. Referencing Vanessa’s new book, A Bigger Picture, the discussion will demonstrate how our only hope of saving the planet by addressing inequalities and injustices, and through working together across continents towards a common goal.
Vanessa Nakate is a climate activist from Uganda. She grew up in Kampala and started her activism in December 2018 after becoming concerned about the unusually high temperatures in her country. Vanessa founded the Youth for Future Africa and the Rise Up Movement, which aims to amplify the voices of activists from Africa. Her work includes raising awareness to the danger of climate change, the causes, and the impacts. She spearheaded the campaign to save Congo’s rainforest, which is facing massive deforestation. This campaign later spread to other countries from Africa to Europe. She is working on a project that involves installation of solar and institutional stoves in schools. She holds a degree in Business Administration in Marketing from Makerere University Business School. Vanessa was one of the young climate activists who were chosen to speak at the COP25 gathering in Spain, and she was one of 20 climate activists who penned a letter addressed a letter to the participants of the World Economic Forum in Davos, calling on them to stop subsidising fossil fuels.
Alice Aedy is the co-founder of Earthrise, a media platform communicating the climate crisis, leading innovative partnerships with Choose Love, Stella McCartney and Penguin Classics. The Breakdown, a five-part series on climate, was produced by Earthrise and commissioned by Waterbear Network. Alice graduated with a degree in History and Politics from LSE in 2015 and an MA in Documentary Film-Making from UCL in 2018. From 2015-19 Alice documented the frontlines of the refugee crisis across Europe and the Middle East. She has since travelled to the frontlines of climate change to document the human cost of the climate crisis.Alice’s debut short documentary Disconnected premiered at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2019 and screened at festivals globally, before being published by The Atlantic. Her documentary Somalinimo was made with a grant awarded by the BFI/Doc Society and published by The Guardian. Alice’s Stella McCartney Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign film A Letter to My Loved Ones was shared globally, including by Oprah. Alice’s work has been published in The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Vice, and more. She has been featured as a storyteller and activist in Vogue, i-D,The Sunday Times and The New York Times among others. She is also the creator of Frame of Mind, a platform celebrating female storytellers.
Farhana Yamin is an internationally recognised environmental lawyer, climate change and development policy expert. She has advised leaders and ministers on climate negotiations for 30 years, representing small islands and developing countries and attending nearly every major climate summit since 1991. In addition to founding Track 0, she is an Associate Fellow at Chatham House, a Director of Impatience Earth, Senior Advisor to SYSTEMIQ, an FRSA and Visiting Professor, University of the Arts, London. She was voted Number 2 on the 2020 BBC’s Power List with the judges describing her a “powerhouse of climate justice” and is active in numerous community-based initiatives and social justice movements and Coordinator of the Climate Justice & Just Transition Donor Collaborative Project. From 2013- 2018, she was an Advisor to the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and has been Deputy Chair of the Expert Group of Advisors to the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a coalition of 48 of the world’s most vulnerable countries, that played a key role in the 2015 Paris Agreement negotiations. She is widely credited with getting the goal of net zero emissions by midcentury into the Paris Agreement through strategic communications and behind the scenes political and diplomatic coalition-building. She has worked with larger developing countries on climate and development policy issues including China, India, South Africa and Brazil. She has extensive experience of private philanthropy, having worked at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. She has published numerous books and articles on the intersection of climate change & social justice. She has taught in UK universities since 1995, including as a Visiting Professor at University College London. She stepped back from the world of academia and UN negotiations in 2018 to focus on non- violent civil disobedience and social justice movements challenging capitalism. As a Political Coordinator of Extinction Rebellion for a year, she played a key role in XR April 2019 protests, gluing herself to the Shell HQ offices in London, alongside thousands of other activists. She is a champion of community based action and cofounded Camden Think and Do, where she is experimenting with radical inclusion and concepts of spatial justice by supporting communities create “pop up” actions hubs in high streets and public spaces. She also sits as an expert on various Commissions including Camden Renewal Commission and IPPR’s Commission on Environmental Justice. She serves as trustee or an advisor to a number of organisations working on the intersection of social, racial and ecological justice, including Greenpeace UK and Julie’s Bicycle an organisation working on supporting artists and the cultural sector tackle climate and sustainability.
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