Friday’s tragedy affirmed that in our fight for climate justice, we must confront this rise of racism. We know that climate change impacts black, Indigenous and people colour — particularly in the global south — first and hardest. And, we know that around the world, the same political forces defending fossil fuels are also escalating attacks on migrants and refugees. There is no justice for our planet without justice for people.

Hoda Baraka, Global Communication Director for, put it beautifully when she said,

“In a world being driven by fear, we are constantly being pitted against the very things that make this world livable. Whether it’s people being pitted against each other, even though there is no life without human connection, love and empathy. Or fear pitting us against the very planet that sustains us, even though there is no life on a dead planet. This is why fighting against climate change is the equivalent of fighting against hatred. A world that thrives is one where both people and planet are seen for their inextricable value and connectedness.”

Much of this has been already said by our colleagues in social justice movements, but again, some things we can all do right now are:

  • In our workplaces, community groups, and social circles commit to upholding a Safer Spaces Policy (here’s 350 Aotearoa’s), so that everyone is aware of the ways in which we hold privileges and power, and to not use those privileges to impinge on other people’s space.
  • Raise and amplify the voices of our Muslim community. Make space for the voices of the affected communities to be heard. Take on board their words, lived experiences and critiques.
  • Talk with your friends about ways in which you can address, learn and combat everyday racism within ourselves and our communities. We must not be bystanders to “casual” racism because this only emboldens hatred and gives rise to violence of white supremacy. There are many resources available, but we’re looking at this handbook written by Muslim woman, Laya F. Saad.
  • Call out all levels of racism and hate on social media, and call on social media platforms to be more responsible when it comes to hosting public conversations.
  • Keep standing up for what’s right.

We hold great collective power when we stand united in fierce love with a shared commitment to building a better future. The student strikes are a tribute to the fact that even in the most devastating circumstances, beauty arises from unity and love.

Let’s demonstrate that kind of power again today.

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