350.org is an organisation at the front line of the fight for climate justice, which is why throughout 2021 we have been working with a number of partner organisations to develop our work on migrant justice.
We believe it is vital that we work at the intersection of migration and climate. It is necessary for a climate safe future, that equity, dignity, and humanity are core principles.
“The climate movement must work with the migrant justice movement to ensure safety for those seeking protection with equity, dignity and humanity at the core of its principles. A future of walls, cages, bullets and surveillance is not what we are fighting for.” May Boeve, Chief Executive, 350.org
In the last 12 months we have been building out our work in this area. Here’s a snapshot of what we have been doing:
1. Learning how to speak about migrant justice in the climate space.
In February 2021, along with partners, we released and held a series of workshops on dangerous narratives and climate migration. Our work in this area aims to challenge current narratives around climate and migration often deployed by the global north climate movement and security think tanks feeding into the populist right-wing agenda, and are potentially more detrimental than useful in supporting people who have been forcibly displaced. In order to ensure we don’t amplify existing human rights abuses, we need to explore and redefine how we communicate around the climate migration nexus.
2. Bringing groups together to strengthen bonds and work on solutions.
In June, 350.org, IRAP (International Refugee Assistance Project) and ACLU (America Civil Liberites Union) convened a three-part discussion among innovative legal, policy, and organising experts to strengthen relationships and generate short- and longer-term action items to address climate displacement both across national borders and in-country. The convenings improved understanding of climate change and displacement through analysis of recent trends and future migration projections, research into narratives, case studies of climate migration from around the globe, and discussions of potential strategies and action plans to address climate migration.
3. Revealing the countries that are fanning the flames of the crisis instead of helping to put out the fire.
In October we worked alongside Transnational Institute and others to amplify the release of the Global Climate Wall report. Bill McKibben recorded this powerful video and authored this opinion piece, published in Project Syndicate. The report finds that the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases are spending, on average, 2.3 times as much on arming their borders as they are on climate finance. This figure is as high as 15 times as much for the worst offenders. This “Global Climate Wall” aims to seal off powerful countries from migrants, rather than addressing the causes of displacement.
4. Putting migrant justice centre stage at the world climate summit in Glasgow.
Ahead of COP26 we worked along with partners to produce this brief on talking about borders in a heating world.
Migration was not on the agenda at COP26, and as an organisation we were keen to change that. We connected with the Good Chance theatre company to bring Little Amal to the UN climate conference. Little Amal is a 3.5 puppet of a Syrian girl, created as part of the walk project that aimed to highlight the plight of refugees, and walked 3000 kilometers from the Syrian border to Glasgow.
Little Amal and Brianna Fruean from the Pacific Climate Warriors opened Gender Day at COP26 — it was incredibly moving, and along with reaching world leaders and influencers, it got a lot of media attention: Sky News, Reuters Independent, Euro News , The Scotsman.
Little Amal then met leaders from the Global Green New Deal Alliance before going on to meet MAPA youth activists, and alongside them presented a petition to COP26 calling on world leaders to take action on the climate crisis. 350.org participated in a panel on climate justice and migrant justice that was organised as part of the visit.
5. Building for the future.
We contributed to this new report by Unbound Philanthropy on where migration meets climate change, and seek to inspire justice-oriented funders to invest at the nexus of the climate and immigrant justice movements, with a particular eye to the unique vulnerabilities and contributions of immigrants.
As the year 2022 gets underway, 350.org will continue to explore and develop ways to work at the climate migration intersection. We believe that there are many ways that safe migration can be viewed as a solution to the climate challenges we face.
We are in the process of reaching out to other organisations to collectively explore this work, and we would love to hear your thoughts as well. For now, here is a list of projects, resources, and past articles we’ve found useful. If you are interested in finding out more and joining our work, please reach out to [email protected]
Other campaigns that have caught our eye this year include:
- The work of the climate migration network is essential in highlighting the impacts of climate and migration and fighting for humane and empowering policies that will protect people who move due to the impacts of climate change.
- The People and Planet: Divest Borders Campaign, which targets UK universities that directly profit from the border industry and the cruelty it inflicts on migrating people through investments in the companies that enthusiastically make border injustices possible.
- The Abolish Frontex campaign. Frontex is the European Union’s border agency, involved in deportations and the military and security industry. On the 18th of December, Abolish Frontex will be running a series of actions calling to end the EU border regime — find out more here.
- This campaign against Thompson Reuters by Mijente, calling on them to cut their ties with ICE (United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement).
- The campaign by Mijente and Friends of the Earth US for Blackrock to stop investing in the deportation machine.