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Climate Change through the Lens of Intersectionality: Tāmaki Makaurau - September 2023

On Thursday 21st September, we hosted a panel event to examine climate change through the lens of intersectionality as part of the Auckland Climate Festival!

Climate change touches everyone's lives - but not proportionately. Our warming planet is a systemic problem which must be addressed in conjunction with other systems of power and oppression.

To address the current climate crisis, we need to use an intersectional lens which recognises the systemic injustices which allow climate-related issues to persist.

Throughout the evening at the Sustainable Coastlines’ Flagship, we explored the intersectional nature of climate with kōrero around racial identity and climate, the reality of climate change for island nations in the Pacific, decolonisation, the importance of mātauranga Māori, and using global knowledge sharing to help us address climate challenges in Aotearoa.

We were thrilled to host the following speakers, who generously shared their whakaaro:

  • Yuan Gao (Cherrie) studied Geography (BSc) at the University of Auckland. With hands-on learning and volunteering experience with Fridays for Future Tāmaki Maukaurau, 350 Aotearoa, and Sustainable Coastlines, she uses interdisciplinary knowledge and holistic approaches to explore how people interact sustainably with the environment on different scales.

  • Lyla Tapusoa comes from the villages of Nofoali’i, Safotu, Luatuanu’u and Falelatai. Lyla is a proud tamaitai Samoa and member of the youth-led network Pacific Climate Warriors since 2019, a grassroots movement for climate justice from the Pacific Islands and diaspora.

  • Pok Wei Heng works as a sustainability consultant at Edge Impact, with a focus on social procurement and modern slavery. Pok is guided by notions of social equity, climate justice and indigenous solidarity. He is a Strategic Council Member of Climate Catalyst, a Board Member of Multiethnic Young Leaders New Zealand, and a former Design Partner with the World Economic Forum on climate justice.

  • Darleen Tana is that rare combination: kaitiaki, scientist, campaigner, entrepreneur, wahine Māori, international. She has more than 30 years experience in senior leadership roles across corporate business and grass-root community spheres in both Europe (1997-2014) and now back here in Aotearoa. Darleen is the Green Party candidate for the Tāmaki Makaurau seat in the 2023 General Election.

  • Arabela Boatwright is a list candidate for Te Pāti Māori in the 2023 General Elections. She has been actively involved in the political space, having worked on the Te Pāti Māori Campaign in 2020 and currently the tumuaki of Te Aro Ture, Māori Law Students Society at AUT as a third year LLB/BA student. She works for Ngāti Tamaoho in her position as the Technical Advisor to the CEO and Te Taiao Unit.

What can you do to continue the intersectional climate kaupapa?

1. Use your vote - stay engaged and informed!

Election Day is on 14 October! Enrol now, or check and update your enrolment, here.

The 2023 Election is a critical one and climate is on the agenda. We’re inviting event attendees to advance climate at the polls by tripling the vote.

Want to triple the vote? Here's some ways to do that!

  • Visit Triple The Vote and sign up! Sign up includes thinking of three friends who also care about the same issues as you, and are unlikely to vote.

  • Get together with your friends to take a group selfie after you've tripled the vote.

  • Send this selfie to ActionStation!

2. Wānanga - share and acquire knowledge with your friends!

Have some intersectional environmental kōrero with your community, highlighting the ways that climate affects people differently across different axes of identities.

Grow your knowledge! Here are some great reads to start with:

  • Māori and the Environment: Kaitiaki by Rachael Selby, Pātaka Moore, Malcolm Mulholland

  • The Intersectional Environmentalist: How to Dismantle Systems of Oppression to Protect People + Planet by Leah Thomas

  • As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonisation to Standing Rock by Dina Gilio-Whitaker

  • Consumed: The need for collective change; colonialism, climate change & consumerism by Aja Barber

3. Get involved!

Tāmaki Makaurau has some awesome intersectional environmental groups such as:

  • Fridays for the Future is a youth-led and - organised movement that started with Greta Thunberg climate strikes and an opportunity for young people to connect around climate.

  • Women4Climate is an Auckland Council supported programme bringing together female climate activities to empower and raise awareness of the intersection between gender and climate.

  • Generation Zero is a community lead climate group advocating for climate change from a grassroots perspective.Their mission to mobilise youth to take political action for climate change solutions provided ample opportunities to raise your voice and get involved.

Photo credit: Tracey Wong @traceyofalltrades / Lauren Holloway @laurenyoloway


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