From Grassroots to Global Impact: The Climate Activism Story of Farzana Faruk Jhumu

From Grassroots to Global Impact: The Climate Activism Story of Farzana Faruk Jhumu

Farzana Faruk Jhumu, a passionate Climate Activist hailing from Bangladesh, embodies a remarkable journey of resilience, determination, and unwavering commitment to environmental advocacy. Her foray into climate activism traces back to a pivotal moment in 2017, sparked by a conversation among friends about societal impact and the privilege of making a difference. This catalyzed the inception of “Kaath Pencil,” a heartwarming initiative aimed at spreading joy and knowledge among underprivileged children through educational endeavors. Farzana’s narrative intertwines personal growth with a profound awakening to the urgency of climate action, fueled by encounters with communities bearing the enduring scars of environmental crises like Cyclone Sidr in 2007.

Farzana’s evolution as a climate advocate unfolds against the backdrop of grassroots engagement and global collaborations, notably with initiatives like Fridays for Future MAPA and the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. Her experiences at COP events, from COP26 to COP28, have honed her insights into the intricacies of climate policy and the imperative for decisive action. Through her role as a UNICEF Youth Advocate, Farzana champions youth empowerment, policy advocacy, and community resilience, embodying a vision of inclusive, impactful climate activism. 

Climate activist Farzana Faruk Jhumu at UNICEF
Photo credit : UNICEF Bangladesh

This interview delves into Jhumu’s remarkable journey, exploring her motivations, the challenges she faces, and the unwavering optimism that keeps her going. It’s a story that will inspire you to take action, no matter how small, and join the fight for a more sustainable future for all.

Can you please share a bit about your journey? How did you get involved in climate activism?

My climate activism journey started in 2017 when some of my younger brother’s friends and a few other friends were randomly discussing how privileged we were and that we should try to do something for society. I was completely on board, so later, we started a group called ‘Kaathpencil’ – our whole idea was ‘to make people happy.’ As we started KaathPencil, we began going to various schools for underprivileged children to provide them with free books. Then, around 6-7 months before COVID hit us, we started a school for children living in slums close to where I live. The school ran smoothly for 3-4 months, but sadly, we had to shut it down when COVID-19 happened.

While I was working on this project, connecting with the children, and figuring out what to teach them beyond the alphabet, I had also been educating myself on the climate crisis. This was especially true after hearing Greta Thunberg’s moving speech in 2018. I remember all those climate strikes and how climate change had become a central topic of discussion. While I was exploring and educating myself, there was one particular case I’ll always remember – a family that lost everything due to Cyclone Sidr in 2007 and had been living in this slum ever since.

Satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Sidr on the Bay of Bengal, November 2007
Tropical Cyclone Sidr on the Bay of Bengal, November 2007 (Source: NASA Earth Observatory)

It was a long time ago, and I was very young at the time, so while I don’t have a lot of deep knowledge about Sidr, I still remember the massive electricity crisis that affected the whole of Bangladesh. We had no electricity in Dhaka for almost a couple of days. When the electricity came back, we only had one TV channel, BTV (Bangladesh Television), so I remember how glued we were to the TV, just listening to the news and wondering what was next. This experience left a significant impact on me.

While I never had to worry about that growing up, when I started talking to these families, specifically this family, it struck me how it had been over 12 years since Sidr and they were still suffering the consequences, even though so much money was raised for relief efforts. Later, I learned about Fridays for Future (FFF) and found out they had a chapter in Bangladesh through social media. I joined them, and upon joining, they asked if I could help maintain communication with the international community, to which I happily agreed.

Climate activist Farzana Faruk Jhumu holding Fridays For Future MAPA placard
Photo credit: Marie Jacquemin/Greenpeace

As I engaged with FFF’s larger chapter, I realized how different and vast their thought process was – they had a lot of knowledge about climate change and all the policies surrounding it. As FFF was growing around that time, we had many discussions on fundamental ideas, and I joined every single call. Being very new, I sometimes didn’t understand a lot of things in the beginning, but I participated anyway – I wanted to learn more and play a role.

Later, by the end of 2019, Fridays for Future started building its ‘Most Affected People and Areas’ (MAPA) chapter. The whole idea was to create a safe space for those in the Global South to discuss how climate change relates to them and how they could come to the forefront of the movement – it was more like a brainstorming session. So, that’s where we started.

Farzana Faruk Jhumu participating in a climate justice protest alongside other youth activist and members of Fridays for Future. Photo: UNICEF
Photo credit: UNICEF

And when Fridays for Future (MAPA) started, as Bangladesh is a vulnerable country, I got the opportunity to engage more. Coincidentally, COVID also hit at the same time. Throughout this entire consistent period, I tried to join every call possible, every meeting possible, reading every document they shared on how they relate with different campaigns, banks, finance, and economy. I tried to read and learn everything through that chat through Fridays for Future. Most of the time in Bangladesh, my responsibility was to communicate the information that was coming from there more to my community. However, Bangladesh was more focused on strikes, volunteerism, and action-based movements. That’s why Bangladesh gave me information on strike goals, agendas, and how to organize strikes. But at the same time, my knowledge was growing. Then in 2021, UNICEF International, reached out to MAPA saying they had a children’s climate risk index and wanted to publish a report with a forward. They needed some activists to write the forward and offer support, and they helped us write it. The four of us writing were Greta Thunberg, myself, Eric Njuguna, and Adriana Calderón. So UNICEF widely publicized it, and all the big news media covered it. After that, while still being a related member, I was volunteering in almost every group possible and every working thing possible. That’s why Fridays for Future, especially the MAPA chapter, became known – Farzana from Bangladesh was doing the work. When that thing started getting highlighted, UNICEF Bangladesh got to know that I existed.

Cover image of the report titled "climate crisis is a child rights crisis" by UNICEF
Source: UNICEF

In 2021, we took a delegation from Fridays for Future – MAPA. Every delegation to COP was a huge task in 2020, so two years later, there was a huge push for youth engagement, and for the first time ever, Fridays for Future participated as a delegation. It was huge, and I was part of that team. We discussed how to reach out to the news media. That’s how I got more involved in international processes like UN processes.

At the same time, kind of funny, when we were supposed to go to Sweden for a four to five-day training program with UNICEF Sweden to learn more about what was going on, we ended up in London for a campaign against Standard Chartered Bank. It was a cleanup campaign because Standard Chartered Bank is a UK-based bank, but they are funding fossil fuels in 12 countries in Asia, and funnily enough, they were one of the best banks in Bangladesh. So they were earning our money, getting our money, and funding fossil fuels. Based on that idea, we did a campaign. But then my visa to Sweden was rejected because, fun fact: they told me that as a young woman who is unemployed, unmarried, and has no children, they think I will not return to Bangladesh if I got my visa. Feeling helpless, I posted it on Twitter, and luckily famous personalities like Greta, Vanessa, and others noticed it and started retweeting it. UNICEF saw it and claimed that I was working with them and that they were sending me. As UNICEF was also working with Sweden, they confirmed that I was going there for them. So, although I initially had to go to Sweden, UNICEF now knew me.

I came back, and UNICEF reached out to me again. They said they wanted to work with me and offered a new youth advocate position. It’s a voluntary position, but they would support me in different areas. I had always been passionate about UNICEF since my childhood from watching the Meena Cartoon, so I was very happy and said yes. That’s how I got involved with UNICEF and then with many other UN processes. 

Meena Cartoon by UNICEF
Meena Cartoon by UNICEF (Source: UNICEF)

You’ve been actively involved in international initiatives like Fridays for Future MAPA and the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. How do you see these collaborations contributing to global climate action?

Fridays for Future is a movement with a goal to amplify the voices of frontline communities, their ideas, and ensure intersectional justice through climate justice. The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty is an initiative that pushes for a treaty to phase out fossil fuels. These are just a few examples, and I work with many other organizations like 350.org that are all involved in climate action.

Here’s how I see collaboration: Global climate action is a complex idea. Policymakers create policies, but national circumstances are also very important. MAPA, a grassroots movement, focuses on getting that grassroots work done.

When we talk about climate action, it’s crucial to understand that it’s a process. Initiatives like the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, MAPA, or any others I work with all emphasize the importance of action. For example, in Bangladesh, ‘goat rearing’ was a form of climate adaptation effort for many many days, but without addressing the root cause of climate change, adaptation alone won’t be enough.

The same principle applies across the board. MAPA, the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, or any other organization – the main thing is to make sure we understand the bigger picture. We need to know that if fossil fuels aren’t phased out, no matter how much adaptation or resilience we build, or how much we discuss loss and damage, nothing will truly work.

Similarly, if we don’t explore the connections between climate justice and issues like child rights and women’s rights, and if we don’t elevate the voices of the Global South, no matter how many initiatives we have, they won’t serve the communities most affected by climate change. Those who contribute the least to the problem are often the ones who suffer the most.

Initiatives like the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty address this with its three pillars: phasing out fossil fuels, ensuring a just transition for workers in the industry, and involving all stakeholders in the decision-making process.

You have participated in three COPs so far, from COP26 to COP28. What have you learned from these three events, and what do you think the next COP29 needs to deliver, from your experienced point of view?

My COP journeys have evolved significantly. At the first COP I attended, the focus was on advocating for more youth inclusion and discussions around climate change’s impact on frontline communities and the most affected people and areas. COP26 was more about following trends, media narratives, and learning how to communicate with a broad audience. Attending side events became a priority to gain a deeper understanding of the COP process itself.

COP27 and COP28, however, were more policy-focused, which aligns with COP’s core purpose. However, a key takeaway across all these COPs is the lack of public awareness about them. It’s become clear that we, the public, have more influence than we might realize. Unfortunately, powerful lobbies and the prevalence of capitalist mindsets make it difficult to have productive discussions. Trust in the process is waning because we haven’t seen enough bold decisions emerge.

Overall, I’ve learned the immense importance of COP policies. They’re not just events, but platforms for crucial decisions that ultimately impact local communities. It’s a two-way process, but COP doesn’t always reflect this. Every word, sentence, and contribution holds significant weight. The political nature of the climate space is undeniable.

Farzana Faruk Jhumu and other youth climate activists at COP27
Photo Credit: Marie Jacquemin

COP29 must deliver more concrete language on fossil fuel phase-out, and just as importantly, the financing required for that phase-out. Without these discussions, achieving the 1.5-degree target is simply impossible. My views, and those of the organizations I work with, are clear: we can’t address climate change without tackling both justice and financing issues. This year, COP29 will be heavily focused on finance, which is a positive step. However, it needs to deliver more concrete results.

The most critical issue for this year’s COP29 is undoubtedly the $100 billion pledge for climate finance. Developed nations committed to providing this amount annually to the most vulnerable countries starting in 2020. However, they haven’t met that goal. This year will bring a report detailing the amount delivered, by whom, and when. With this information, we can move forward and discuss a New Collective Quantified Goal (NCG) for future climate finance.

As a youth advocate for UNICEF Bangladesh, what campaigns or initiatives are you particularly excited about, and how do you see youth driving change in climate action?

As a UNICEF Bangladesh Youth Advocate, my role is twofold. One aspect involves policy pushing, lobbying, and advocating for climate justice and children’s rights. The other involves supporting initiatives and campaigns. UNICEF focuses on child rights and youth inclusion, but overall, as a youth advocate, I work in my field on campaigns and initiatives that I’m passionate about.

The campaign initiative I’m most excited about is capacity building. It’s not a one-day event; it’s an ongoing process to raise awareness and equip people with the knowledge to take action on climate change. I’m incredibly proud of the people working on the ground level who make my policy advocacy work possible. I appreciate and support every initiative people take at the local level. I see change coming through climate action, which has evolved beyond just strikes. People are taking innovative initiatives like vertical windmills – these are the kind of ideas I support.

Capacity building, in this sense, is a continuous process of teaching people how to take action. This action can be individual, local, national, or even involve policy, negotiation, innovation, or environmental research. Every change, big or small, contributes to progress. As a youth advocate, I deeply appreciate seeing people take action. We need to spread awareness about green jobs and how young people are using AI for climate action. These are all campaigns and initiatives I support, with a special interest in policy.

I want more people to understand policies and how to follow them. I don’t expect everyone to be an expert, but I want people to know that climate action isn’t just about planting trees.

Could you please share the story behind KaathPencil and its impact on underprivileged children, particularly in terms of climate education?

Initially, the KaathPencil campaign focused on basic climate education. When COVID hit and offline work became difficult, we launched the ‘Poribesher Proti Projonmo’ (PPP) (meaning ‘Generation for Environment’) campaign. The idea was to share knowledge through simple quizzes to reach our target audience. These quizzes weren’t just about finding the right answer; we used them as a springboard to explain the importance and connections behind climate issues. Then, we launched the ‘Act Now’ campaign, which covered climate change, child rights, and child abuse. We reached out to schools to educate students on these basic topics. We didn’t want to replace teachers, but rather to help students expand their knowledge and develop critical thinking skills. Our goal was to empower them to educate themselves.

The ‘Act Now’ campaign reached a significant number of students last year (around 48 schools in 2023). We’re planning another, more comprehensive campaign around climate change for this year (2024).

Sailing on the “Rainbow Warrior” of Greenpeace must have been incredible. What were the most impactful moments for you during that experience?

I could talk all day about how amazing the journey was! Our goal was to get more youth involved and create a more youth-friendly space within the activist movement. It was performative activism, which is different from my policy work, but that’s natural for activism, and I loved it. The Rainbow Warrior is a symbol of hope, and we wanted to show that young people can contribute in different ways, not just through flying or traditional means. Sailing was significant because it connected to the reality of our sinking island nations.

Fridays for Future youth climate activists Farzana Faruk, 22, from Bangladesh, left, Jakapita Faith Kandanga, 24, from Namibia, second from left, Maria Reyes, 19, from Mexico, second from right, and Edwin Moses Namakanga, 27, from Uganda pose for a photograph aboard the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior Oct. They are sailing to COP26 in Glasgow Scotland.
Photo credit: Suzanne Plunkett / Greenpeace

Everyone took the experience incredibly well. There was a huge strike happening in Glasgow at the same time, and we had volunteers and activists from various places joining us, making our movement feel bigger and stronger. That was a powerful message in itself. It’s hard to pick just one impactful moment, but if I had to, it would be a situation that wasn’t directly related to climate change.

The ship’s captain, a woman, faced resistance from the police who tried to stop the ship from passing under a bridge, claiming it was illegal. We were all on board at night, and the entire ship was wired with microphones, so everyone could hear the exchange. The captain was determined to take the ship under the bridge, even though the police warned it could damage the bridge.

The captain’s courage was inspiring. The Greenpeace crew assured her they would handle any potential damage, but she emphasized her responsibility to give hope to people who were watching. She took a calculated risk, and after successfully passing under the bridge (which was full of journalists covering the event), she explained her actions. She knew her job was to give hope, and she wouldn’t shy away from taking risks to do so. The fact that a woman captain took such a strong stance was incredibly impactful.

This experience connects to the work I do. I need to give people hope and maintain my own. Even when people don’t see the results of my work all the time, I know what I’m doing and why it’s important. That’s why I take calculated steps and risks, just like the captain. There are many challenges ahead, but sailing on the Rainbow Warrior showed the power of collective action, inspired me, and solidified my purpose.

Given the challenges we face, how do you maintain a sense of climate optimism? What advice do you have for others looking to stay hopeful and engaged in the fight against climate change?

For me, hope comes from the community I work with. The climate community is small, but we take care of each other. It’s not just about climate action; it’s about a broader movement for social justice, elections, women’s rights, and children’s rights. This sense of community is crucial because the movement itself can feel capitalist and broken. We face internal and external problems, so having good people to work with is essential.

The second source of my optimism is Bangladesh’s local communities. Bangladesh is a champion of climate adaptation because they have to be. People in the countryside and coastal areas have very little, and they are finding solutions. They inspire me because I have the privilege of things like food, water, and a house. This responsibility motivates me to work for them, as they can’t be activists or policymakers.

If you read stories or visit these communities, you see they don’t lose hope when they have to migrate. They are sad and feel the unfairness, but they remain hopeful. This is fuel for the entire youth movement, not just me. It’s also important to be aware of the many people working on solutions; that knowledge is supportive.

What’s your favorite local food? Does climate change have any impact on it?

I don’t have a specific favorite, but I enjoy Fuchka and Pitha. Climate change likely has a bigger impact on our cultural connection to seasonal foods. Pitha is traditionally eaten during winter, but with climate shifts, we’re losing this seasonal aspect. It’s not a direct impact on the food itself, but on the cultural practices surrounding it.

Tell me about a practice(s) in your culture that’s actually very sustainable and good for the planet.

There are SO MANY things! In Bangladeshi culture, we don’t believe in throwing things away. We use clothes until they’re unusable. This anti-consumerist approach focuses on getting the most out of what we already have. Even when considering eco-friendly options, reusing and repairing what we have is important because making anything requires resources.

Another sustainable practice is our local cuisine. We eat local and seasonal foods throughout the year, which minimizes waste and transportation needs. This approach reflects a long history of living in harmony with nature.

Seasonal vegetables
Photo credit: Eva Bronzini

What would your advice be to someone in the climate movement who feels hopeless and burned out?

I understand burnout – I experience it too. My advice is to know your capacity and who you’re working with. Don’t try to do everything, especially as a Bangladeshi youth. There’s pressure to be involved at every level, but every action counts.

Climate activism can take many forms. You don’t have to be a public figure. Identify your skills and how you can contribute. Whether you’re a doctor offering sustainable food suggestions or an engineer working on renewable energy, your individual actions matter. Start learning, value the people around you, and focus on your specific contribution.

How do you envision your future?

I want to work on policy and potentially be part of the UN system. I see myself representing Bangladesh and working with UN agencies or even government agencies on policies related to climate change and energy security. I’m also pursuing a Master’s degree in energy security and policy to further prepare myself for this path.

Do you have an idol?

Yes, I have several! One is BTS. Their UN speech about inclusion and self-love resonated with me, especially for those feeling hopeless. They support the climate movement and youth issues, and their songs address mental health and social issues. Their lyrics are intelligent and deep, which I appreciate. Their music also helps me when I’m feeling burned out.

BTS
BTS (Source: Wikimedia)

Another idol is Amina J. Mohammed, the UN Deputy Secretary-General. She’s my inspiration – I see myself in a similar position someday. Seeing her navigate complex situations and lead the UN is impressive. She’s a role model for ambitious women.

What do you do for fun? Any hobbies or passions?

For fun, I listen to a lot of music.  I don’t have any specific hobbies, but I enjoy trying new things. I love the experience of exploring and doing different activities. Traveling falls into this category – I don’t get to do it often, but I love it when I can.

If I had to define a passion, I’d say it’s observing people. I do this with great interest. I try to understand them and see things from their perspective. I also enjoy talking to friends and meeting new people.

What’s your mantra for life?

It might sound a bit cliché, but it’s something I came up with when I started climate activism: “I don’t want to die because that’s the only thing I can do. I want to die because that’s the last thing I can do.” The idea is not to die in vain, but to make my life’s journey meaningful. Additionally, I follow the saying, “If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.” I don’t want to be the best in any space; that limits my opportunities to learn. I stay connected to climate activism but also explore other areas to broaden my knowledge.

How can others join you in the climate movement?

That’s a fantastic question! The most important thing to remember is that anyone and everyone can join the climate movement and still be sustainable in their own spaces. This includes engineers, doctors, researchers – anyone. However, the climate movement we’re leading is specifically for those who want to focus their efforts on climate change. Fridays for Future is one example, and 350.org has a huge network within their organization. Women also have their own climate movement. Finding out what someone’s interests are is the key to finding the best way to get involved. Everyone has their own way of joining.

If someone’s interested in climate policy, they can join the Youth Constituency for the UNFCCC (YOUNGO). If they’re interested in following environmental policy, they can join the UN Major Group for Children and Youth. If they want to join Fridays for Future, they can find them on social media – every movement has a social media presence these days. If someone wants to learn about capacity building, they can join their local organization through social media. It’s very easy to find them. Joining a bigger movement is also an option. Fridays for Future has its own website, with details for every country. You can simply search for them.

So, joining the movement is very easy. But even if you’re not technically a member, you can still be part of the climate movement by taking action in your own space. This includes everyone – students, doctors, engineers, policymakers, lawyers, journalists – everyone! 

Click to connect with and find out more about Farzana Faruk Jhumu.

This is part of a series where Green & Beyond Mag explores the stories and takes a peek at the lifestyles of incredible people like green entrepreneurs, innovators, climate advocates, activists, community leaders, and content creators, all around the world, who love the planet and are working tirelessly to make the world a better place.

Islands Rise as One: A Deeper Look at the Climate Justice Camp: Caribbean

Islands Rise as One: A Deeper Look at the Climate Justice Camp: Caribbean

Imagine the Caribbean’s crystal-clear water and beautiful islands – perfect vacation spots, right? Well, there’s a dark cloud over this paradise. Climate change is hitting the Caribbean islands hard. The rising seas are swallowing coastlines, threatening the coastal communities, crazy storms are wrecking everything, and the whole island way of life for all species is at risk. But here’s the good news: the islands aren’t giving up without a fight. In March 2024, the historic Climate Justice Camp: Caribbean emerged on the shores of Sint Maarten, uniting 120 passionate advocates from across the region. It wasn’t just a meeting, it was a big “we’ve got this” moment. The initiative brought them all in one place so they can unite and work together to create a better future for their islands.

Group photo of all participants of the Climate Justice Camp: Caribbean in Sint Maarten
Photo Credit: Haus of Hyman Production Company

Shared Struggles, Collective Hope: How The Climate Justice Camp: Caribbean Fostered Collaboration

Agustin Maggio, Program Leader of Roots, painted a stark picture of the region’s challenges for us. 

“The Caribbean is on the frontlines of the climate crisis facing a multitude of threats, from ocean acidification, heat waves, permanent water inundation due to sea level rise, changes in rainfall patterns, loss of biodiversity to food insecurity, health impacts, loss of tourism revenue, migration, and displacement. There are many strong initiatives centered on issues ranging from human rights and decolonization to social and climate justice in the region, however, these groups are isolated from each other across the many islands, facing hurdles of distances, funding, and resources.”

Agustin Maggio, Program Leader of Roots

Curaçao Sea Shore Cliff View
Photo Credit: Thiago Japyassu

The Climate Justice Camp: Caribbean was born from this very need for unity. It aimed to bridge the divides, fostering a space where these isolated voices could come together, share experiences, and forge a collective path forward. For four days, the energy crackled with the electricity of collaboration. Participants, hailing from diverse nations from all over the Caribbean, delved into workshops on critical issues –  the transition to a sustainable energy sector, adaptation and resilience, marine conservation, and the crucial intersection of gender and climate justice.

The stage of the Climate Justice Camp: Caribbean in Sint Maarten
Photo Credit: Haus of Hyman Production Company

Riddhi Samtani, a young climate leader from Sint Maarten, shared with us why fruitful collaborations are important in the Caribbean region.

“As a local movement builder and organizer from Sint Maarten, I’ve long recognized the fragmentation within the Caribbean due to colonial legacies and political divides. These barriers hinder our ability to convene, share ideas, and collaborate on regional campaigns effectively. Despite our differences, we share common threats from climate change—rising tides, eroding shores, coral bleaching, and severe hurricanes. Beyond environmental challenges, socio-economic issues like minimum wages, gender justice, and political instability plague the region, rooted in our colonial past.” 

Riddhi Samtani, Climate Advocate from Sint Maarten

Samtani also reflected on the profound impact of the camp. In her words, 

“The Caribbean Climate Justice Camp has been a beacon of hope, igniting solidarity among activists and movement builders. The energy is palpable, as we collectively rewrite the narrative of our collective future. The camp has provided the space for transformative dialogue and collaboration, leaving me feeling hopeful for the future. In these moments, I’ve come to believe that community truly is resistance—the heartbeat of change. As we continue to unite and advocate for our islands, I’m filled with optimism for what lies ahead.” 

Riddhi Samtani, Climate Advocate from Sint Maarten

Speakers on the stage of the Climate Justice Camp: Caribbean in Sint Maarten
Photo Credit: Haus of Hyman Production Company

The camp aimed to create a space and an opportunity for those working at the forefront of social and climate justice in this region to come together – many for the first time – to build knowledge and networks, share stories and skills, and align on strategies and demands to unify the climate justice movement across the Caribbean’s islands and territories.”

Agustin Maggio, Program Leader of Roots

An Unforgettable Set of Impactful Events

Beyond the formal sessions, the camp buzzed with the infectious positive energy of the Caribbean. Cultural evenings illuminated the region’s rich mosaic of heritage. A moving ritual on the first night, led by Sint Maarten’s Head of Culture, Clara Reyes, gathered participants on the beach to honor the place by the art of poetry and offerings of hibiscus flowers to the sea. Stories were exchanged under the starlit sky, each a powerful reminder of their shared struggles and unwavering hope.

One of the most inspiring outcomes of the camp was the birth of cross-border collaborations. During the Marine Conservation thematic track, for instance, which had a program centered around marine threats in the region including blue economy, shark and sea turtle conservation, and the impacts of deep-sea mining; participants fostered future collaborations with local organizations, government agencies, and international conservation groups to amplify their efforts and leverage their resources. Moreover, it opened up research opportunities for participants, allowing them to contribute to ongoing studies on marine biodiversity, habitat restoration, and the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems.

Beyond the Islands: The Reach of the Climate Justice Camp: Caribbean

The success of the Climate Justice Camp: Caribbean extends far beyond the four days spent in Sint Maarten. The organizers, a collaborative effort by 25 organizations, envision a growing network that empowers island communities and fosters a unified voice for climate action on the global stage. 

Group photo of participants of the Climate Justice Camp: Caribbean in Sint Maarten
Photo Credit: Haus of Hyman Production Company

“In just four days, we have seen a strong and diverse community flourish and build bonds that will carry over for years to come. We have seen organizers, activists, and advocates take full ownership of the program and the mission of the camp platform, and use it as a launching point for integration and coordination. Conversations and plans for future collaborations and projects are already underway. We could not be happier with the outcomes.”

Agustin Maggio, Program Leader of Roots

Aerial group photo of all participants of the Climate Justice Camp: Caribbean in Sint Maarten
Photo Credit: Haus of Hyman Production Company

The story of the Climate Justice Camp: Caribbean is not just about a single event; it’s about a movement taking root. It’s about islands scattered like emeralds across the blue Caribbean Sea, coming together to face the storm, not as separate entities, but as a united archipelago. It’s about the powerful hum of collaboration, the unwavering spirit of resilience, and hope for a future where the islands not only survive but thrive.

Learn more about Roots and the Climate Justice Camp.

What Does Your Lifestyle Have to Do with Climate Justice?

What Does Your Lifestyle Have to Do with Climate Justice?

Picture this: You’re scrolling through your phone, hypnotized by a new trendy outfit or the latest gadget. You double-tap, a heart fluttering on the screen. But have you ever stopped to think about the ripple effect of those seemingly harmless actions? Our everyday choices, from the clothes we wear to the food we eat, cast a long shadow beyond the glow of our screens. This shadow, unfortunately, isn’t painted with sunshine and rainbows; it’s often formed by the harsh lines of exploitation, environmental harm, and injustice. In our daily lives, we often overlook the profound interconnections between our choices and the broader issue of climate justice. The phrase “climate justice” extends beyond the conventional discourse of carbon footprints and sea level rise; it’s about the ethical, social, and environmental implications of our lifestyle decisions.

Understanding Climate Justice

Climate Justice and Lifestyle

Climate change isn’t just about rising sea levels and melting glaciers; it’s about the systemic inequalities and injustices that leave certain communities disproportionately vulnerable to its impacts. The exploitation of workers in developing countries, the unsustainable practices that harm ecosystems, and the unequal access to resources – all of these are components of the world of climate injustice.

But here’s the good news: you, yes you, hold the power to unravel these threads and reweave a more just and sustainable future.

Photo by Lisa Fotios

Climate justice requires us to acknowledge the impact of our actions on a global scale. It’s not merely an abstract concept but a reality deeply connected to our daily habits and consumption patterns. Our choices, whether related to food, transportation, energy, or even entertainment, contribute to the environmental footprints that shape the world we live in.

While systemic change is crucial, empowering individuals to recognize and alter their contributions to environmental challenges is equally vital. By understanding how our daily actions align with or contradict the principles of climate justice, we become advocates for positive change. This acknowledgment of individual responsibility is a catalyst for broader systemic transformations.

Traditionally, climate action has centered on reducing individual carbon footprints. However, the scope of climate justice encompasses far more. It delves into the broader social and environmental impacts of our lifestyle choices. Consider ethical sourcing in the fashion industry, fair labor practices, and strategies to reduce food waste; all these elements are interconnected with climate justice.

Connecting the Global to the Personal

Do you know the story of Máxima Acuña? More importantly, did you know that gold is used even in our smartphones and computers? It is not always easy to trace the gold where it is coming from due to the complexity of supply chains. If for a second, we consider a worst-case scenario, the gold in our devices might have come from places where unethical practices of mining are present. Unsafe working conditions, child labor, and affecting the local communities and environment – all might be components of the mines from where the golds of our devices came. 


So now comes the story of Máxima Acuña. Máxima is an indigenous leader from Peru, who stood strong against the encroachment of a gold mining company onto her community’s land. This land holds immense cultural and ecological significance, but the mining threatens water sources, biodiversity, and the traditional way of life for Máxima’s community. Despite facing intimidation and violence, Máxima became a global symbol of resistance against extractive industries and the fight for indigenous rights and environmental protection. Her story underscores the devastating impacts of unsustainable resource extraction on vulnerable communities and ecosystems worldwide.

And it is not just about gold and our devices….

Consider your smartphone, nestled comfortably in your hand. Its journey might have begun in a Congolese mine, where cobalt, a crucial mineral for lithium-ion batteries, is extracted using force and harmful practices that endanger the health and livelihood of local communities, contributing to deforestation and the destruction of crops and homes of the locals. The discarded e-waste it becomes could end up in landfills like Agbogbloshie in Ghana, releasing toxic chemicals like lead and mercury. This pollution impacts the health of the workers and residents of nearby areas causing respiratory illnesses, skin diseases, eye infections, and even cancer.

Photo by Mumtahina Tanni

The trendy outfit you bought for a steal online might have been stitched together in a sweatshop in Bangladesh, where garment workers, predominantly women, endure long hours, unsafe working conditions, and meager wages that barely cover basic needs. Shockingly, a 2019 report found that 0% of Bangladeshi garment workers and 1% of Vietnamese garment workers earned a living wage. Meanwhile, the textile industry is a major polluter, contributing 20% of global wastewater and accounting for 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, leaving its mark on ecosystems and contributing to climate change.

Trendy outfit shopping
Photo by Harry Cunningham

And that delicious avocado toast? Its creamy goodness could come at the expense of water-stressed regions like California, where drought conditions have left communities struggling to access this vital resource. Additionally, avocado production in Mexico can involve deforestation, displacing indigenous communities who have stewarded these lands for generations and threatening biodiversity hotspots crucial for maintaining ecological balance.

The reason for this discussion is not to make you go through a guilt trip but to help you understand the simplicity of the fact that our lifestyles have a crucial relationship with climate justice.

Intersecting Threads: Where Climate Justice Meets Broader Struggles

The branches of climate justice reach far and wide, deeply bound to social, environmental, and economic concerns. To truly understand the fight for a sustainable future, we must explore its intersections with other critical struggles, and acknowledge the role our daily choices play in reinforcing or unraveling these interconnected issues.

Climate Justice and Racial Justice:

A 2021 study published in Nature Communications found that people of color in the United States are 3.7 times more likely to live near an industrial polluter than white residents, highlighting the unequal burden of environmental hazards. This disparity isn’t simply a coincidence; it’s often rooted in historical policies like redlining, which denied communities of color access to mortgages and investments, concentrating them in areas with higher pollution levels.

Photo by Jon Tyson

Climate Justice and Gender Equality:

Women and girls are often disproportionately affected by climate change due to their roles in water collection, food production, and childcare. Additionally, they may lack access to resources and decision-making power during climate disasters. Indigenous women play a crucial role in safeguarding biodiversity and traditional ecological knowledge, yet their voices are often marginalized in climate discussions. Recognizing and amplifying their leadership is essential for achieving climate justice.

Photo by RDNE

Climate Justice and Indigenous Rights:

Indigenous communities steward vast areas of the world’s most biodiverse lands, playing a vital role in mitigating climate change. However, they face threats like deforestation and resource extraction on their territories, impacting their livelihoods and cultural heritage. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples affirms their right to self-determination and participation in decision-making processes affecting their lands and resources. Respecting these rights is crucial for achieving climate justice and upholding indigenous sovereignty.

Indigenous people lifestyle
Photo by Breston Kenya

Now, instead of feeling overwhelmed, remember – you have the power to rewrite this narrative.

Empowering Change: Making Your Daily Choices Count for Climate Justice

Every action, big or small, contributes to the world of climate justice. This guide equips you with concrete steps across various aspects of your life, along with inspiring success stories and resources to support your journey:

Food:

  • Embrace mindful consumption: Fight food waste by planning meals, composting leftovers, and supporting local farmers. Apps like Too Good To Go connect you with discounted food nearing its expiration date, while Food for Soul helps you donate unused food to those in need.
  • Choose plant-based options: Enjoy meatless meals more often to reduce your carbon footprint. Explore delicious recipes and discover the vibrant world of plant-based cuisine with resources like Forks Over Knives.
  • Prioritize whole, unprocessed foods: Opt for locally sourced fruits, vegetables, and whole grains for a healthier you and a healthier planet. Look for certifications like USDA Organic or Fairtrade to ensure responsible sourcing practices.

Vegan food
Photo by Ella Olsson

Fashion:

  • Embrace slow fashion: Buy less, buy quality, and invest in timeless pieces that last. Explore vintage shops, clothing swaps, and ethical brands committed to sustainability and fair labor practices. Good On You app rates brands based on their environmental and social impact, making informed choices easier.
  • Extend the life of your clothes: Repair, mend, and upcycle existing garments before buying new ones. Learn basic sewing skills or support local tailors. Organizations like Mend for Good offer workshops and resources for clothing repair.
  • Choose natural materials: Opt for clothing made from organic cotton, hemp, or linen, which have lower environmental impact compared to synthetic fibers. Certifications like Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) can guide your choices.

Photo by Eunhyuk Ahn

Transportation:

  • Walk, bike, or use public transport whenever possible: Reduce your reliance on cars and enjoy the health and environmental benefits of active travel. Explore bike-sharing programs like Capital Bikeshare in Washington D.C. or Divvy Bikes in Chicago, and advocate for improved public transportation infrastructure in your city.
  • Carpool or choose fuel-efficient options: If driving is unavoidable, share rides with others or consider electric vehicles when feasible. The PlugShare app helps you find charging stations near you, and many carpooling apps connect you with potential carpool partners.

A man cycling in nature

Technology:

  • Reduce your digital footprint: Declutter your inbox, unsubscribe from unnecessary emails, and utilize cloud storage efficiently. Choose energy-efficient devices and extend their lifespan with proper care. Initiatives like The Green Web Foundation work on reducing the environmental impact of the internet.
  • Support sustainable tech companies: Look for brands committed to responsible sourcing, ethical manufacturing, and e-waste recycling. Companies like Fairphone and SHIFT Phones prioritize sustainability in their practices.
  • Energy: Opt for renewable energy sources at home, conserve energy through mindful usage, and invest in energy-efficient appliances. Look into community solar programs or ENERGY STAR-certified appliances for sustainable options.

Photo by Bradley Hook

Be an Advocate for Change:

  • Raise awareness: Share information about unsustainable practices, unfair labor, and climate justice issues on social media and within your networks. Support organizations working for systemic change in these areas, amplifying their voices and raising awareness of the issues.
  • Demand transparency: Hold brands and corporations accountable by choosing companies committed to ethical sourcing, fair labor practices, and sustainable practices. Write to them, engage in social media campaigns, and support initiatives demanding transparency and accountability.
  • Support policy change: Advocate for policies that promote fair trade, environmental protection, and sustainable practices. Contact your elected officials, participate in public hearings, and join organizations working to create a more just and sustainable world.

Throughout your journey, explore additional resources, engage with communities working towards climate justice like 350.org or The Sunrise Movement, and share your experiences to inspire others.

Also, here’s a resource to help you convince your friends and family to live more sustainably.

Building a Symphony of Justice and Sustainability

The fight for climate justice isn’t a solo performance; it’s a harmonious symphony where countless instruments play their part. Each social justice movement, each community on the frontlines, each individual choosing sustainable practices contributes a unique melody to the overall composition. Recognizing these diverse voices and their interconnectedness is crucial to composing a future where justice and sustainability resonate in perfect harmony.

The score may seem complex, the challenges daunting, but remember: even the most powerful symphonies begin with a single note. Every act of solidarity, every voice raised in awareness, every mindful choice you make adds to the crescendo of positive change. We have the power to demand accountability from corporations and governments, to amplify the voices of marginalized groups, and to empower ourselves and others with knowledge and action.

Remember, change starts with small actions, but the impact can be significant. By making conscious choices, demanding transparency, advocating for change, and supporting sustainable alternatives, we can rewrite the story of our consumption habits, weaving a brighter future where technology empowers, fashion respects, and food sustains. Let’s choose collaboration over discord, hope over despair, and action over inaction. Let’s learn from the wisdom of indigenous communities, celebrate the leadership of women and marginalized groups, and hold ourselves and others accountable for building a just and sustainable future. Together, we can create a symphony of hope, note by powerful note, where every instrument contributes to a world where all beings thrive in harmony.

Diving Into The Depths of Ocean Conservation with Carissa Cabrera

Diving Into The Depths of Ocean Conservation with Carissa Cabrera

Carissa Cabrera, a dynamic force merging her roles as a CEO, accomplished marine biologist, recognized content creator by Harvard, and passionate advocate for environmental stewardship stands at the forefront of ocean conservation and climate activism. Rooted in her Ecuadorian American heritage and based in the vibrant landscapes of Hawaiʻi, Carissa’s life’s mission revolves around democratizing access to ocean conservation knowledge and empowering individuals to find their voice and purpose in the movement.

With a multifaceted approach to her work, Carissa serves as the driving force behind Futureswell, a platform dedicated to amplifying regenerative solutions for our planet’s most pressing environmental challenges. Through her leadership roles in various organizations and initiatives, including her work with community restoration groups and partnerships with renowned institutions like National Geographic, Carissa embodies the spirit of innovation and collaboration in the fight to protect our oceans. Her expertise in digital storytelling, project management, and science communication underscores her unwavering commitment to bridging the gap between scientific research and public engagement, offering a pathway for collective action and meaningful change.

Carissa Cabrera diving in the ocean
www.carissacabrera.com

Could you please tell us about your journey?

My story is not special, and that is why I love it. I grew up as the child of first generation immigrants from Ecuador and Hungary. We lived in a desert, and I saw the ocean a handful of times in my childhood. But my dad took me snorkeling when I was a toddler, and I was never the same after I put on that mask. I grew up wanting to learn, watching National Geographic, and begging for more ocean experiences. I wanted to study marine science at a coastal school, but my scholarship required me to stay in the desert for college. I spent four years in college taking the few marine science classes my university offered, joining an ocean club, and developing skills like education and outreach. In my first marine conservation class, I learned about oil spills, unsustainable fishing, and mass extinction. I vowed to continue my schooling to protect these ecosystems, and found myself in a master’s program in Hawai’i in my early twenties. During my graduate work, I was studying the causes of death in dolphins and whales so we could better understand their threats and help address them. During my first whale necropsy, which is essentially a dissection, we found over 50 pounds of fishing nets and other marine debris in the stomach of a pilot whale. I was 23, looking at my colleagues, realizing I cannot save these animals without standing up to the systems that are harming them. I could not protect our ocean without sharing the stories of what’s happening to them as a result of our actions. And I could not be a scientist that did not actively participate in applying solutions to heal our ocean.

What led you to transition from the realm of scientific research to the power of storytelling as a tool for ocean advocacy?

When I pursued marine science throughout my graduate schooling, I was working under the impression that a deeper understanding of our ocean would mean more action to protect it. If we understood what was at stake, we would change. I realized very quickly that scientific research without an inclusive and accessible science communication strategy does not get applied. I transitioned to education to raise awareness around threats and solutions, but also explore creative ways to bring that education to the masses. Storytelling can be entertaining, personal, emotional, or joyful, and I believe all forms of storytelling are valuable for the ocean climate movement. Our individual stories can change systems through advocacy, and connect elected officials to solutions that can change the course of our climate narrative. 

How do you see your work in ocean conservation intersecting with broader climate justice movements and initiatives?

The environmental justice leaders of our generation have raised the alarm on what intersectional activism means and changed the climate movement in a tremendous way. As our federal leaders begin to prioritize EJ in their practices, I’m particularly passionate about ensuring ocean justice initiatives are part of that conversation. Coastal communities are frontline communities, and disproportionately suffer from the impacts of the climate crisis like sea level rise, marine debris pollution, and extreme weather like hurricanes. The communities with less resources and access cannot be left behind as we adapt, mitigate, and transition within our climate future. This specific intersection is finally getting the attention it deserves, with the White House sharing its first ever Ocean Justice Strategy at COP28 in December 2023. 

You empower young women to find their unique roles in the ocean movement. What advice would you give to a teenager or someone unsure where to start?

I would say you are needed, and we all start somewhere. We are all bad at things before we are good at them. We only become more confident through practice, and we have special gifts that can benefit our movement and protect communities and our planet. Teenagers today are some of the most educated and passionate environmental advocates, and they continue to inspire me in every initiative I work in. I watch elected officials listen closely to their stories, and they serve as a reminder to our leaders of exactly who will be impacted by the decisions of today. Their participation is a powerful tool, and I would start now. I firmly believe that over half of impact work is showing up, so that would be my advice. Show up, as yourself, ready to listen and learn, and magic will happen.

Imagine you could have a conversation with the ocean itself. What would you ask, and what message do you think it would convey to humanity?

This is a powerful question, and I believe I would only have gratitude to share with the ocean itself. I wouldn’t ask anything of it, because it has already given us everything. Our ocean is what made our planet habitable, where life began, the source of our fresh air, food, and biodiversity. I would just listen to what it had to say. I imagine it would be something along the lines of, “don’t forget where you came from,” as the ocean is so often left out of our larger climate discussions. I believe it would highlight that we are losing parts of our family here on Earth, with so many species facing extinction. These are our distant cousins and relatives. As humans, our extractive practices cause great suffering to the ocean, far more than many of us realize, and I believe the ocean would let us know. 

While acknowledging the challenges, what practical steps or initiatives give you hope for a future where both ocean health and climate concerns are effectively addressed?

Personally, I carry the most hope when I’m working alongside local communities working to steward their own resources or working as part of an advocacy coalition. I fundamentally believe in a place-based approach to conservation and ocean climate solutions that is decentralized and led by the local communities that know their areas and environment the best. For example, indigenous groups that carry the wisdom of ancestral resource management should be informing planning activities for a watershed and ideally, consulting and leading the implementation. For all of us, tapping into these larger, community-based solutions is a matter of engaging with what’s going on in your specific community, and is unique. Joining a chapter meeting, attending a nonprofit event, and volunteering with a community group reminds you very quickly we are part of a movement so much bigger than individuals. 

In reference to the ocean, I find so much hope in how much nature holds the answers. We call these technically nature-based solutions, but they are the ones that are built from the natural processes our Earth has refined over millions of years and practices by the original stewards of our planet. Some of my favorites are kelp forests, regenerative ocean farming, reconnection of ridge to reef watersheds through streamflow, preservation of apex predators to balance ecosystem health top-down, and closing areas of an environment from human pressures to allow them to recover. 

We all experience fear or anxiety about the future of the planet. How do you navigate these emotions and maintain your dedication to activism and storytelling?

I view fear and anxiety about climate as part of the process. I believe they are valid, natural responses to the state of our planet and highlight our humanity. I spend time taking care of myself, feeling the full experience, and nurturing those sadder parts before coming back to my work. I spend time outside, I spend time processing with my colleagues at work, and I know what I need when something poor happens in our collective climate work. My motivation to continue doing this work is wrapped up in the need and my purpose. I never thought I would be a storyteller, I just saw a gap in ocean climate storytelling and knew we needed to fill it. We still need more ocean climate stories to integrate more perspectives into the discourse and reach our leaders. 

I am by nature a hopeful person, I want to believe the best outcome is achievable. It has taken time for me to know that sometimes, we simply did our best and it is not always enough. Last year, an enormous climate policy I’ve worked on for years died one step before passing. It was the most severe loss in my career thus far, and taught me an important lesson that taking pause is not giving up. I have an unwavering dedication to the movement, even if I take pause from my work. When you acknowledge you are part of a collective, it is easier to see that we can take time to rest and recover as our neighbors carry the movement forward. That space I gave myself enabled me to return to advocating for this solution again this year. It also reinforced my personal belief that a primary difference between which ocean climate solutions pass and which ones that don’t is whether we give up or not. 

What is your take on climate optimism?

I am more of an advocate for climate joy rather than optimism. Climate optimism describes the confidence in the successful outcome of our climate fight, which contradicts much of the IPCC data we have and continue to read each year. Progress is being made, and I believe progress will continue to be made, but I do not believe it will come from electric vehicles and carbon offsets. Rather, I believe in the slow and steady shift of our society’s values to one of connection with the environment around us, reciprocity with the nature that provides for us, and a return to the indigenous practices that sustained communities for generations. 

Climate joy celebrates the progress we are making now, and the communities working to advance that progress. It celebrates the vast potential of today’s climate solutions, and today’s people power, and today’s fight to replace extractive systems with new ones. My experience with climate wins and losses is intimate, and I experience climate grief just like my peers. The work we are doing does not come with a guarantee, but it does not mean we shouldn’t do it. Frontline communities are suffering now, the solutions exist now, and we are far more powerful together than the corporations that created this problem. There is nothing but opportunity for us. 

Can you share a heartwarming or unexpected anecdote from your experiences that captures the joy and humor amidst the challenges of ocean advocacy?

There are hundreds, but I can choose one! I shared before that a climate policy I worked on died one step before passing in 2023, and it was devastating. Part of my role in the coalition was to engage young people in the political process, teach them how bills pass into law, and empower them to testify. That group of young people stole the show at every hearing we were at. Elected officials listened to them closely, and each testimony they gained more and more confidence in their message. When the bill died, I had to share the news with the youth coalition, and I was terrified. I was met with the messages I didn’t know I needed to hear. One individual told me he left marine biology for policy because he didn’t think he could build a career, but this initiative taught him that both can work together and he can protect the ocean through policy. Another one told me they now have the toolkit to testify on bills for the rest of their lives. It really reminded me that progress looks different for everyone, and big solutions are often made up of many small steps forward. 

What’s your mantra for life?

The best has yet to come. It’s true. 

Click to find out more about Carissa Cabrera and FutureSwell.

This is part of a series where Green & Beyond Mag explores the stories and takes a peek at the lifestyles of incredible people like green entrepreneurs, innovators, climate advocates, activists, community leaders, and content creators, all around the world, who love the planet and are working tirelessly to make the world a better place.

The Tale of the First-Ever Entertainment + Culture Pavilion at COP : An Editorial POV

The Tale of the First-Ever Entertainment + Culture Pavilion at COP : An Editorial POV

Remember how Michael Jackson’s “Heal the World” filled us with hope, or how Mad Max: Fury Road‘s representation of a dystopian future got us thinking? That’s the incredible power of entertainment and culture – to move us, connect us, and motivate us to make a difference. And guess what? As media partners of the groundbreaking first-ever Entertainment + Culture Pavilion at COP28 in Dubai, we witnessed this power firsthand!

Imagine 12 days pulsating with energy, packed with over 100 programming events representing 60 countries and reaching a combined audience of 22 million! The E+C Pavilion wasn’t just a space; it was a global movement in action, fueled by the diverse voices and shared passion of artists, activists, and policymakers from around the world; it was a stage where cultural icons and celebrities weren’t just name drops, but passionate advocates; where music wasn’t just background noise, but a call to action; where speeches weren’t just lectures, but heartfelt pleas for a better future. That’s what we witnessed the Pavilion offer – a space where emotions ran high, connections were made, and one truth resonated loud and clear: change is possible, and it starts with the fire in our hearts and the actions in our hands. 

The essence of this editorial is to share not just the impact of the Pavilion, but to also explore how impactful narratives can spark conversations and inspire change. Ultimately, this is my reflection on the potential of entertainment and culture to become powerful tools for positive change, a message carried by every performance, panel, and conversation that unfolded within the Pavilion’s walls.

Assessing Success: A Multifaceted Triumph

At COP28, the E+C Pavilion was a movement in action, fueled by nine key themes that intertwined like musical notes to create a powerful symphony of change. Now, in order to actually understand the impact of the pavilion, let’s explore the nine key programming themes of the pavilion and also take a trip back in time at the Cop28 blue zone, B7, Building 90 of the Expo City in Dubai, to revisit some of the incredible events(only some, because there were like over 100 of them!).

Programming themes of Entertainment + Culture Pavilion

  • Creative Economy & Narrative Impact Climate Storytelling: We witnessed incredible exhibitions showcasing diverse artwork, poetry, and stories from Southeast Asia amplifying voices and perspectives often unheard in climate discussions. Workshops like the “Climate Music Workshop: Disappearing Studio Ghibli World,” merged music education with climate awareness, empowering participants to use their creativity to address environmental challenges. Moreover, events like the Indigenous Youth Perspectives on Climate Program provided a platform for young indigenous voices, highlighting the importance of intergenerational knowledge transfer and youth leadership.

A particularly engaging installation,Storytelling with Saris’ by Monica Jahan Bose, added a unique cultural perspective to the narrative. Draping colorful handwoven sarees from Bangladesh, symbolizing sustainability, this art installation was covered with collaborative climate art and climate pledges by individuals from around the world. 

“Through this initiative, Monica uplifts traditional practices in rural Bangladesh, utilizing her own traditional clothing as a tool for movement building, climate action, and empowerment. During COP, Monica will lead a performance and host a workshop at the E+C Pavilion.”

– Organizers at the E+C Pavilion

We talked to Climate Psychologist and Activist, Jessica Kleczka who believes that by harnessing the power of creative collaborations, grassroots movements can propel climate messages into the mainstream, fostering a collective recognition of everyone’s role in building a sustainable future. 

“Creativity has the potential to supercharge our campaigns, break echo chambers and reach audiences who care about the state of the planet but lack a powerful message they can identify with”

– Jessica Kleczka
  • Intersectional Artivism: The pavilion organized film screenings highlighting experiences from communities often overlooked in climate conversations. These sparked empathy and understanding, fostering the spirit of intersectional activism. Meanwhile, discussions linking science and storytelling, like the one with Christian Clauwers on climate photography, showcased innovative approaches to raising awareness.

  • Climate Communication & Cause Marketing: Powerful films like “YOUTH v GOV Film” sparked important conversations about mental health and youth advocacy. Events like the “Time for Better Earth Disco × Hope House event” combined music, dance, and community building, reminding us that climate action can be fueled by hope and collective action.

Founder of The Climate Propagandist, Julie Mallat conducted a unique workshop called “Posters for Climate Action” where she enlightened the audience on how we can craft impactful posters for climate action and what elements contribute to persuasive design, language, and storytelling. The workshop drew from the historic roots of persuasion and explored iconic propaganda posters to equip us with the tools, insights, and inspiration to encourage the cultural rebellion we so urgently need.

Climate Propagandist Workshop at Entertainment + Culture Pavilion

  • Social Impact Entertainment & Health & Mindfulness: The Time for Better Earth Disco wasn’t just entertainment; it was a space for collective joy, hope, and a sense of shared purpose in tackling climate challenges. On a more introspective note, Amina Rahma’s poetry reading offered a space for emotional expression and reflection on the human cost of climate change, promoting mindfulness and personal connection to the issue.

Some of the coolest highlights of the E+C Pavilion at COP28 was meeting iconic musicians like Ellie Goulding, Nile Rodgers and AY Young, and witnessing how passionate they are to use their art and platform to contribute in our movement to shape a better world. 

“Music culture and art are something that can break down all the barriers and build bridges to connect every facet of humanity on every level.” – AY Young, Founder, Artist & Performer at Battery Tour Movement

  • Cultural Heritage & Audiovisual Sovereignty: We enjoyed captivating performances by Singer Yana Mann and Violinist Annabelle Ho, where artistic talent intertwined with climate awareness. Events like the Trashion Kenya Expo & Open Call for Cultural Fashion Show organized by fashion activist Habiba Abdulrahman shed light on the waste challenges in Kenya using fashion and art as powerful and creative mediums while also empowering young people from different parts of the world to showcase their beautiful cultures and heritage and advocate for sustainable practices within the fashion industry. Exhibition by Bow Seat showcased student artwork centered on climate change, amplifying youth voices through creative expression. These events highlighted the power of art to connect people to environmental issues while celebrating diverse cultural heritage.

  • Sectoral Innovation & Policy: Events like the “Amazon: The New Minamata?” Film screening and discussion offered insights into the environmental impact of certain industries and potential solutions, aligning with the theme of sectoral innovation.

Film screening at Entertainment + Culture Pavilion

At this point, it’s pretty clear that The E+C Pavilion’s work at COP28 was a powerful evidence to the potential of entertainment and culture to ignite positive change. But how does this approach compare to past COPs, and what does it tell us about the future of storytelling in climate action?

Evolution of Entertainment at COPs:

While previous COP conferences have dabbled in artistic expression, it often played a marginal role while talks and policy discussions dominated the scene. The E+C Pavilion marked a significant shift, placing entertainment and culture at the heart of the conversation. This wasn’t just about raising awareness; it was about building a community, fostering empathy, and inspiring action.

Significance of this Shift:

The E+C Pavilion’s success demonstrates the immense power of engaging audiences on an emotional level. Unlike policy papers or scientific reports, stories, music, and art have the unique ability to connect with hearts and minds, bypassing cognitive barriers and sparking deeper understanding. This shift in approach at COP28 paves the way for future conferences to harness the full potential of entertainment and culture in driving meaningful change.

COP 28 Photo

Stories and Art: The Changemakers We Didn’t Know We Needed

I see you’re still reading this, so I’m sure by now, you and I both get why songs like John Lennon’s “Imagine” or Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” echoed through history, fueling movements for peace and justice; why documentaries like “An Inconvenient Truth” or “Blackfish” ignite public outrage and policy changes around the environment and animal welfare. 

These are just a few glimpses into the vast power of stories and art. They don’t just fill us with facts; they touch our hearts, spark empathy, and push us to act. Music ignites collective action, films shed light on pressing issues, literature fosters understanding, and visual arts provoke critical thinking. I find it strikingly beautiful, how art can really change the world, one story, one song, one image at a time.

Challenges still remain.

Despite the strides, the entertainment industry isn’t exactly a superhero just yet. Let’s talk challenges and opportunities:

Access to Funding: Securing dedicated funding for climate-focused projects remains a challenge. Innovative models like impact investing and crowdfunding can offer solutions.

Greenwashing: The risk of corporations using entertainment for greenwashing needs to be addressed through stricter regulations and independent fact-checking mechanisms. We need more transparency.

Greenwashing

In a recent conversation, Founder of TUAessence, Fernanda Lopez Lima shared with us how transparency is a key theme in her vision for change in the fashion industry. 

“Differences only occur when people care. And people only care when they engage, which is only possible by learning the whole truth. Without good and real storytelling it’s impossible to create mass consciousness awareness. Therefore, the best way to change the global culture of fast consumption is to make information transparency mainstream!” – Fernanda Lopez Lima

Limited Reach: While COP28 attracted a massive audience, ensuring wider accessibility along with diverse representation in storytelling efforts remains crucial. While the E+C Pavilion actively utilized multilingual content, subtitles, and partnerships with local organizations to help bridge these gaps, climate change issues still involve jargon and a narrative that limits involvement to a specific group of people.

“This narrative needs to shift, we need to make our movements as accessible as possible and we also need to change the way we are communicating about climate change, that is more understandable, that resonates more, and draws upon people’s lived realities. Art has had and can have a huge role in helping to do this.” – Ayshka Najib, Climate Activist

But wait, there’s hope too!

Hopeful

We interviewed Max Han and Nurfatin Hamzah, the co-founders of Youths United for Earth (YUFE), Malaysia’s leading grassroots nonprofit mobilizing youths toward environmental action through storytelling, campaigns, and advocacy. Han was also one of the highlighted talents of the E+C Pavilion. Here’s what they think,

“Culture and entertainment enable us to look at the sobering reality of climate change from different perspectives while filling us with hope to keep going – even when we feel like the world is doomed. Climate change can feel complex and overwhelming, which is why some people push these thoughts aside or even deny it. But we can’t afford to do so. Culture and entertainment can break down difficult concepts in ways people can understand, regardless of language or location.”

– Max Han and Nurfatin Hamzah, the Co-founders of Youths United for Earth (YUFE)

In terms of traditional entertainment, Farzana Faruk Jhumu, Youth Advocate for UNICEF from Bangladesh, highlighted its role in creating resilience against rapid urbanization and environmental challenges. From farmers crafting songs as a source of rural entertainment to facing the climate crisis, these cultural expressions help communities cope with changes, resist urbanization, and inspire grassroots movements.

“This connection to nature, expressed through cultural activities, becomes a source of resilience, inspiring grassroots movements that emphasize the importance of culture and entertainment in shaping and sustaining our communities”

– Farzana Faruk Jhumu

So, the opportunities for overcoming those challenges and harnessing the industry’s influence are vast as well. Let’s take a look.

Collaboration: Cross-sector partnerships between artists, activists, businesses, and policymakers can leverage diverse expertise and resources for impactful storytelling. Did you notice how the E+C Pavilion championed that at COP28?

Panel event at Entertainment + Culture Pavilion

In line with the importance of collaboration in the climate and entertainment arena, Mitzi Jonelle Tan, Youth Advocate for Climate Action Philippines reflected on the intrinsic connection between entertainment + culture collaborations and the ability to construct a vision of a better world. She points out the power of culture to unite diverse communities against profit-oriented global systems. As she puts it, “Cultural and entertainment collaborations are so crucial because they can reach new audiences and bring more people into the climate movement.”

According to her, these collaborations are like VIP passes to reaching fresh audiences and getting more people on board in the climate movement. Not only that, but she sees them as essential in constructing the better world that’s living rent-free in our minds and hearts.

“Once we have an idea in the grasp of the joy and love in the safety, and the softness that we could be having in a better and cleaner future, it’s a lot easier for us to keep fighting no matter what, and culture and entertainment has the amazing power to build all this in our minds & in our hearts.”

– Mitzi Jonelle Tan

On the other hand, Winnie Cheche, the Founder of The Eco Advocate, envisions collaborations as a tag-team match, where culture and activism amplify each other’s voices.

“The goal is also to connect with people’s hearts and minds, and to portray climate action as both relatable and cool”

– Winnie Cheche

Technology: Utilizing immersive technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality can create really powerful, interactive experiences that raise awareness and drive action.

Data-driven strategies: Tracking the impact of campaigns and gauging audience engagement can really help us maximize impact. Data helps us understand what works and what doesn’t, making future efforts even more effective. 

By addressing these challenges and embracing innovative solutions, the entertainment and culture industry can unlock its immense potential to not only raise awareness about climate change but also inspire collective action and build a more sustainable future.

My take on the Entertainment + Culture Pavilion at COP

To be honest, from the point of view of a climate journalist who is always exposed to the doom and gloom of the climate crisis, it gets pretty overwhelming. But seeing it through the lens of art, music, and personal narratives really hit me differently. Instead of climate anxiety it gave me inspiration to act and play my part. Entertainment and culture, to me, have stopped being just distractions; they have become powerful tools for understanding, connection, and most importantly, action.

Panel talk at Entertainment + Culture Pavilion

By the time COP28 ended, I didn’t just have new information; I had a renewed sense of purpose. It wasn’t about waiting for someone else to save the day; it was about finding my own voice, my own story, and using it to contribute to the movement. Whether it’s sharing sustainable practices, supporting artists who raise awareness, or simply having honest conversations, there’s a role for everyone in this fight.

So, what’s our role in this story?

Are we content to be passive viewers, scrolling mindlessly through climate documentaries or tuning out powerful songs about environmental injustice? Or will we step onto the stage, utilizing the power of our choices and voices to rewrite the narrative? Such a revolution can only be possible when we all feel like playing our own roles effectively to make that happen. For that to happen, understanding the climate crisis from an empathetic point of view, not just from numbers and graphs and data, is needed. 

Mic on stage

“Getting this conversation started from a more human perspective is extremely important because facts have come out, scientists have come out, but it’s just not sticking. An important side to this is the human side, and I think that’s something that we can all connect on.”

– Maria Poonlertlarp, Thai-Swedish model, actress and singer

Here’s how we can play a major role in this (very real) apocalyptic movie:

Let’s Demand Change: Don’t be a silent supporter. Speak up! Contact your favorite streaming services, studios, and production companies. Let them know you demand climate-conscious content and sustainable practices throughout the industry. Share petitions, join advocacy groups, and raise awareness about greenwashing tactics. Show them that entertainment with a conscience is what the audience truly craves.

Amplify Diverse Voices: Seek out and share stories that go beyond the headlines. Support filmmakers, musicians, and artists from underrepresented communities who are using their talents to showcase the human stories behind climate change. Celebrate indigenous knowledge, highlight innovative solutions from developing nations, and give a platform to those often unheard in the mainstream narrative. Together, let’s create a richer, more diverse accumulation of voices fighting for our planet.

Panel discussion with musician Nile Rodgers at Entertainment + Culture Pavilion

Start Conversations: Climate change isn’t just a documentary topic or a social media hashtag. Make it a dinner table conversation, a watercooler chat, a casual chat with your neighbor. Share your concerns, listen to different perspectives, and encourage open dialogue. Remember, even small conversations can spark curiosity, plant seeds of change, and inspire collective action.

Remember, every action, every story shared, is a ripple in the pond, creating a wave of change. Let’s rewrite the narrative, turning entertainment from a distraction into a powerful tool for building a more sustainable future. But the most important question remains: what story will YOU tell?

Entertainment + Culture Driving Climate Action: Conversation with Experts

Entertainment + Culture Driving Climate Action: Conversation with Experts

What is the superpower of any kind of art? It has the unique ability to touch our minds, our hearts in such a way that can be inexplicable in words but so powerful that it can help us understand the complex, and make us achieve the unimaginable. You might ask, how? This year at COP28, we had the first ever Entertainment + Culture Pavilion that is now here to help you understand the answer to that question. Why? Because it is illogical and impossible to act on something meaningful without understanding, and without actions, nothing can be achieved. Achieving a safe future free from the threat of the climate crisis is the answer to that “why”, precisely.

You still might be wondering about how entertainment + culture can play such a significant role, in such a significant mission. We talked to twelve incredible game-changers in their respective fields to try to understand it a bit more clearly.

The Transformative Power of Entertainment + Culture

If you try to go through a little bit of research, it won’t be tough for you to understand that we, all around the globe, are going through a climate crisis. It also won’t be too tough to notice that numerous individuals and organizations from every corner of the world are tirelessly working not just to address the crisis but to overcome it. But still, it is not enough, it does not feel like enough, it does not seem like enough. An authentic global revolution is needed to actually get the job done. 

Such a revolution can only be possible when we all feel like playing our own roles effectively to make that happen. For that to happen, understanding the climate crisis from an empathetic point of view, not just from numbers and graphs and data, is needed. “Getting this conversation started from a more human perspective is extremely important because facts have come out, scientists have come out, but it’s just not sticking. An important side to this is the human side, and I think that’s something that we can all connect on,” said Thai-Swedish model, actress, singer Maria Poonlertlarp who was crowned Miss Universe Thailand in 2017, also reached top five of Miss Universe Beauty Pageant that year.

She further adds,

“We have all, in one way or another, been affected by climate change, some more than others. Clearly, some more than others.  So it’s important to bring these conversations to the table, and I think once this starts happening,  people may start understanding more,  and that’s actually how policies will end up being changed as well.”

Maria Poonlertlarp on Entertainment + Culture for Climate Action

Every form of art surely has the ability to present this scientific reality from an empathetic perspective. The arena of entertainment + culture can not only make that real but also has the ability to help us act on that understanding from a positive mindset.

Anne Therese Gennari on Entertainment + Culture for Climate Action

Renowned climate author, Anne Therese Gennari, known as the Climate Optimist, says,” I believe art in any form is incredibly impactful in inspiring climate action and nurturing a mindset of optimism, possibilities, and change. It’s easy to get stuck believing we must either fight the old or fight to keep the old, but what we really need right now is the courage to dream of something new. What would the world look like if we embraced change and decided to take action? What if we acted on climate change, not because we’re afraid of what might happen if we don’t, but because we’re excited to find out what will happen if we do?” 

Artist and Activist Rick Frausto, who is famous for his unique style of art using pen and ink, believes so too.

According to Frausto, “I see myself as a way-shower. Through my work, I strive to contribute to a shift in consciousness that leans toward a more balanced, harmonious, and compassionate world. In this moment in time, the climate crisis is the fight of our lives. My hope is that my art connects with people universally on a deep intuitive level.”

Rick Frausto on Entertainment + Culture for Climate Action

Every form of artist holds this power of art to bring the cultural shift that is necessary to secure the safe future that we all deserve. There are different roles to be played and different audiences to be reached and inspired, differently.

Dorcas Tang on Entertainment + Culture for Climate Action

Singaporean artist Dorcas Tang Wen Yu who plays her unique role as an artist in this mission says, “I see my art less as telling people what to do, but as creating that space where they can engage with sustainability in a gentle, fun way. For example, getting kids to participate in painting a marine mural. Or create a fun adventure about composting from the perspective of little soil microbes to teach children about our relationship with the environment.”

Helping children to learn about our environment, the climate crisis, and meaningful climate actions is an effective and amazing way to shape cultures and ensure a positive cultural shift, because surely, today’s empathetic children are tomorrow’s conscious empathetic guardians of our planet.

Inspiring Individual Empowerment and Collective Changes through Entertainment + Culture

Artists are the stewards of change, they have the amazing ability to inspire people at an individual level. As we are going through the climate crisis, it is crucial for artists to play their role not only as entertainers but also as that kind of stewards. When millions of individuals, inspired at their own personal levels, start taking action, we get collective changes, and surely that is the kind of change that we all need now.

“All social movements have been strengthened by creatives. Artists help people to process events, to connect emotionally with information, and to feel motivated to stand up and act.”

– said illustrator and educator, Brenna Quinlan, who was the winner of the prestigious Circle Awards in 2022.

Brenna Quinlan on Entertainment + Culture for Climate Action

Qiyun Woo on Entertainment + Culture for Climate Action

Every kind of artist has the power to contribute to this much-needed revolution. In the words of Singaporean climate activist and artist Qiyun Woo,

”Art transforms minds and hearts, and plays a revolutionary role in helping society imagine and visualize the green and just future that we want – can work towards.”

Artists, who are doing their parts know exactly how important the job is. The powerful rapper on the mic for our planet, Hila Perry says beautifully, “Culture is community.”, and artists have the power to shape communities because through their artworks and performances, they can shape cultures, build communities, and bring changes. 

One of the major cultural changes that is needed to overcome the climate crisis is to move away from the toxic culture of hyper-consumerism, convenience culture, and the culture of throwing away. Instead of glorifying these harmful cultures, artists have the power to do the opposite and drive people in the right direction. “My mission really is to make loving the earth and living on earth really trendy and cool,” said Perry. It surely is not an easy job to shift the narrative, but it is surely important to do so to shift the culture, and entertainment + culture can bring that shift.

When we have an earth consciousness attached to us, basically then we can live more in alignment with our planet and have a more harmonious life with animals and plants,” Perry added to emphasize on the mission that artists need to pursue to inspire people culturally and bring the much needed meaningful change for us and for our planet. 

Hila Perry on Entertainment + Culture for Climate Action

“Everything that you do from your lyrics to your shows, your live shows, to your merch, to your statements, what you put out into the world – you’re influencing people. Your fans are looking to you to know what to wear, what to drink, what to eat, how to be, how to live. So when you model earth consciousness in your art, you’re basically giving a lot of other people permission to think that that’s cool.” said Hila Perry when we asked about what message she wanted to convey to other artists,” Go deep with what it means to be a human being on Earth and discover that also just for yourself.”, she added.

Deciphering the Climate Crisis through Entertainment + Culture

It’s not tough to assume that we get confused and feel lost when things like the climate crisis are described from a scientific point of view. We, the general people, understand that it’s important, but the tough narrative makes us move away from the curiosity of learning about it properly. This is a crucial spot where entertainment + culture can play as a medium between scientists and the general people. Through their art, artists can help us not only to understand critical scientific theories but also to figure out and take proper actions guided by those theories.

Cicely Nagel on Entertainment + Culture for Climate Action

“Culture and entertainment contribute significantly to inspiring change. The key to making climate science more accessible is clear communication! Simplifying complex scientific findings can help connect scientists to the wider public. By helping the public understand important scientific concepts, we can help increase awareness on climate issues and inspire real change.”

said Marine Biologist Cicely Nagel.

British Actress and BBC New Creative Amelie Edwards agrees to this by saying, “We hear all the stuff from scientists, which is so, so useful, but it can be quite overwhelming and hard to unpack and really complicated as well. Whereas seeing a story unfold from a human perspective is often easier for people to connect with and therefore easier to take action and see how you can change things within your own life and in your own world.” Edwards added further by saying, ” I feel like the best way to contribute to a message is through displaying it in our work because otherwise no one’s ever going to see it and no one’s going to know it exists or talk about it. And I feel like having a conversation is often the start of being inspired to take action and to make changes.”

Amelie Edwards on Entertainment + Culture for Climate Action

Artists through their specialties can reach millions of people, and the science behind the climate crisis is crucial for everyone to understand to take action, to ensure a safe future.

Joelle Provost on Entertainment + Culture for Climate Action

We need those that feel the strongest to create, to make meaning of this messy time and to decipher it.”

– said artist Artist and the Director of Sarcophagus Project, Joelle Provost while sharing her perspective about the role that artists need to play to make the science of climate accessible for all.

She also added, “Artists play a critical role in the reimaging of a better future. Artists push society along, just as Kandinsky said. All of this is vital; the difficult topics presented through visual and performing arts, and the dreaming of a better future.”

There are already many artists all around the globe who are actually doing this job if you’re wondering whether artists are playing their roles in it or not. Qiyun Woo said, “As someone who combines climate science and art, I hope to inspire action by quelling the panic, and fear and providing the tools to get things done.” Brenna Quinlan is also someone who continuously tries to educate her audience about the climate crisis and give them ideas to take action through her artworks. When we asked her about the knack of her artworks, she said, “My particular passion has been in making abstract information more accessible, and in changing the narrative on climate change from one of doom and gloom to one of positivity.

Art can surely be the most effective force in transforming culture in the right direction and bringing meaningful changes. Amelie Edwards reminds us that by mentioning, “I think in the eighties, there was a hole in the ozone layer. And in this country, there was a soap opera that had a conversation between two girls about hairspray just whilst they were getting ready; and they discussed the fact that the hairspray was creating this hole in the ozone layer and all contributing to it. And it was through that that obviously, people started to think, “Oh my gosh, we need to actually do something about this.” And then the government started to ban aerosols that were contributing to the hole. And when you remember that things like that have happened, you think, oh yeah, we really can do something about this with the stories that we tell. And it’s so important to tell stories.” 

Optimism and Inspiration for Positive Change:

It is undeniable that climate change as a topic can be really depressing. It will surely not be very effective if entertainment + culture just brings up the narrative of doom and gloom. In fact it has a chance to backfire because no one can take effective actions while feeling scared or depressed. 

So it is important for artists not just to make scientific information accessible to mass people through their arts, but also and more to instill hope in them and inspire them to take meaningful actions. “Climate optimism is a mindset that nurtures that curiosity. It’s not about sitting back and hoping for the best to happen but about sparking the inspiration and courage needed to let go of the old and build something new. We know what to do to reverse global warming. We have the science, the tools, and much of the technology. What we need now is our shared willingness to accept and embrace the changes needed for us to get there. Art in any form, may it be written, painted, or through music, has the ability to transport our minds to those new places. It helps us imagine new realities and spark a feeling of both joy and excitement.”, said author Anne Therese Gennari. 

Artists like Hannah Tizedes who is also the founder of the nonprofit The Cleanup Club agree with Gennari by saying,

“Art is an incredibly important part of creating change and the world we want to live in. Creativity has a way of connecting with people and right now, that’s what we need most. We need people to care, to come together, and to understand why raising their voices for a better planet matters. Art empowers people and because of that, art can help create positive change.”

Hannah Tizedes on Entertainment + Culture for Climate Action

Inanna on Entertainment + Culture for Climate Action

Talented musician Inanna also believes in the power of creative expression to inspire positive changes. ” Our creative expressions have the power to transcend, to connect with people on a profound level, and spark durable change. As performers, we are entrusted with a unique platform to influence hearts and minds. In this crucial time for our planet, it is fundamental to recognize and embrace the profound impact we can have on the global conversation surrounding climate action. It’s time to recognize the interconnectedness of all life on Earth and the role we play in shaping the narrative around environmental stewardship.”

However, it is understandable that artists might also find scientific theories tough to understand. It won’t surely be possible for them to educate others and inspire actions if they don’t get it properly. But it is surely not impossible, rather it can be fun. 

Maria Poonlertlarp shares her perspective on this from her own experience. She said,” For those who don’t know much about it,  who feel like it’s too big of a topic to chew or it’s too serious,  I just want to say I totally understand. I just also want to say that there are so many sources out there where we can get to, where we can learn,  whether it’s through documentaries or blogs or just joining groups.”

She further adds, “I want everyone to ask themselves first and foremost what they care about.  What is it on this planet that they care about?  Maybe it’s fashion, maybe it’s food,  maybe it’s art,  and then from there see,  okay,  that’s what you care about.  Now, what are you good at? And then third,  what organizations or what groups or communities are working on this?  And once you start getting involved,  it’s beautiful because you get to work on something that you’re already interested in,  and you get to utilize something that you’re good at to contribute to fighting for our world.

So I think it’s possible to do something about it.  It doesn’t have to be big.  You just need to start.  And once you start,  you’re going to be connected to more and more people who are doing this.  And from my own experience, I can just say that it feels great.  And I would want all my other friends in the entertainment industry to feel this feeling as well.”

So it can surely be very empowering for artists too, to learn, get involved, and share the lesson with mass people, and drive them in the right direction with an optimistic mindset to build the future that we all dream of, that we all deserve, that is possible. 

The Universal Language of Art

Now you might wonder, why do artists have to carry out this responsibility to educate and inspire others. If you take a minute to think properly, you will find out that the answer is not only easy but logical too. It is because art is surely a form of global language that has the power to connect us all.

Inanna acknowledges the power of art from her perspective as a musician by saying, “Music has a global reach, transcending linguistic and cultural barriers. This universality provides an opportunity to create a shared understanding of environmental challenges and global solutions.

She further adds, “Art is a potent catalyst for change. Through music, film, poetry, visual arts, and more, we can elevate the environmental conversation, raise awareness, inspire action on a global scale, and contribute to a collective cultural shift that is essential for addressing the challenges our planet faces.” 

Brenna Quinlan adds her thoughts on this by saying,” Artists help people to process events, to connect emotionally with information, and to feel motivated to stand up and act.”, and they surely need to use their platforms to make the climate conversation mainstream. 

Artists can undoubtedly go beyond their art to play their roles. To reflect on her thoughts on this, Hila Perry said, “It’s important to make sustainability the norm. When you see what artists are wearing, when you see the production, you’re thinking, what if everything they did was very sustainably minded? They would be influencing so many people and their whole production would actually be a message, or it would have this bigger impact beyond just the music and their dancing and all the things that they already give on top of that.” 

By using the power of the global language of art, artists have the ability to reach every corner of our planet and inspire people. That can surely bring cultural changes, and changes in the policies and how we do business. It is important for artists to realise the power they have. Just like Maria Poonlertlarp realized it and said, “For me in the entertainment business,  I think it’s mainly about the fact that I can use my platform and try to make it mainstream.

All of us love our families, our friends, our surroundings, and ourselves – and our planet is the home that holds these that we care about dearly. We need to understand that we all can play our parts to overcome the climate crisis through entertainment + culture. Some of us might not feel like we have an artist inside of us but that surely does not mean we don’t enjoy arts, so what we can do at least is to listen to the artists and share their message with others. Those of us who know that there is an inner artist, we need to step up now, not only because that would be an incredible experience but also it would mean something to contribute to the movement that matters, and it can surely give us a calm feeling of peace too.

In the words of artist Joelle Provost, “My aim is to express this admiration for Planet A and humility in the process, via paint and text. If my work is able to impact just a few lives then I can sleep well at night.

Art, Activism, Action: How Entertainment + Culture Amplify Climate Activism

Art, Activism, Action: How Entertainment + Culture Amplify Climate Activism

In today’s world saturated with media and entertainment, our daily encounters shape our mindset towards a certain lifestyle and mentality. This not only influences what we buy and wear but also how we perceive the world around us. But have you ever wondered about the dynamic role culture and entertainment play in steering climate action? It’s not as tricky as it sounds. Remember the cartoon Popeye the Sailor? It made eating spinach look cool as his main source of superpower, which influenced millions of children to see vegetables in a positive light. Through entertaining storytelling, it effectively conveyed the message that healthy eating can be enjoyable and beneficial. In the same way, we can encourage climate action and sustainable choice as the new cool trend to follow. This optimism and drive to make a change have paved the way for the emergence of the Entertainment + Culture Pavilion at COP28 this year with a particular focus on the unique relationship between- culture, entertainment, and climate.

To take the ever-evolving landscape of climate activism one step ahead, artists and performers have united with their creative force that mobilizes grassroots movements. This collaboration, born from a diverse community, holds the potential to spark real change. How, you ask? Let’s hear from seven passionate voices shaping the crossroads of entertainment + culture and climate action.

The Power Creative of Collaboration

Science and Data are crucial when advocating for climate action. Yet, to inspire action, Jessica Kleczka, Climate Psychologist and Activist emphasizes on incorporating the magic ingredient: CREATIVITY! She believes that by harnessing the power of creative collaborations, grassroots movements can propel climate messages into the mainstream, fostering a collective recognition of everyone’s role in building a sustainable future.

“Creativity has the potential to supercharge our campaigns, break echo chambers and reach audiences who care about the state of the planet but lack a powerful message they can identify with”

Jessica Kleczka

In her opinion, incredible groups like Climate Live are harnessing the power of music to engage a greater audience in campaigns like Stop Rosebank, fighting the largest undeveloped oil field in the UK. In recent conversations with Green & Beyond Mag, Kleczka dished out some insights on how creativity can play a major role in boosting our efforts against climate change. She pointed to research suggesting that there’s a goldmine of untapped potential in using creativity for climate action. From her own experiences, she shared how teaming up with influencers and celebrities can be a game-changer, with campaigns blowing up and petitions scoring big when backed by music and sports big shots.

Social influence is the number one factor determining whether a person acts on the climate crisis, and creatives are uniquely situated to shape what that influence looks like.– Jessica Kleczka

In line with this, Mitzi Jonelle Tan, Youth Advocate for Climate Action Philippines has reflected on the intrinsic connection between entertainment + culture collaborations and the ability to construct a vision of a better world. She points out the power of culture to unite diverse communities against profit-oriented global systems. As she puts it, “Cultural and entertainment collaborations are so crucial because they can reach new audiences and bring more people into the climate movement.”

According to her, these collaborations are like VIP passes to reaching fresh audiences and getting more people on board in the climate movement. Not only that, but she sees them as essential in constructing the better world that’s living rent-free in our minds and hearts.

Once we have an idea in the grasp of the joy and love in the safety, and the softness that we could be having in a better and cleaner future, it’s a lot easier for us to keep fighting no matter what, and culture and entertainment has the amazing power to build all this in our minds & in our hearts.

– Mitzi Jonelle Tan

Edwin Namakanga, Climate Justice Activist from Uganda pointed out the transformative power that talented artists and performers hold in influencing change. In his words, “Talented artists and performers possess a unique ability to influence, inspire, and effect change.” Their reach, whether on stage, screen, or in concerts, is expansive, making them potent advocates for addressing climate change issues.

Namakanga advocates for the integration of environmental messages into their art, seeing it as a catalyst for a movement towards sustainable living. He believes that collaboration with existing climate action advocates further amplifies the message and enhances public understanding of the critical need for action.

“It’s important to remember that artists and performers are not just entertainers; they are an integral part of our culture and their creations shape our perceptions. Their art can catalyze a movement, spark action, and be remembered in history.”

– Edwin Namakanga

Transforming Narratives for Climate Action through Entertainment + Culture

In terms of creative collaborations, Natalie Chung, Climate Advocate and Entrepreneur from Hong Kong also emphasized on creating new imaginaries of sustainable futures through culture and entertainment. In her opinion, we have all the technologies to solve climate change, the only thing lacking is the political will to implement solutions with long-term benefits. For her, entertainment + culture are powerful tools to drive climate action optimistically and create hope. As a personal experience, Natalie talked about the Antarctic Climate Expedition with Dr. Sylvia Earle where they created an Antarctic Rhapsody that was performed on the icy continent in front of calving icebergs and also used as the background music for their Antarctic documentary. This is how incorporating music and artistic mediums can be a great use to unite humanity to dream and construct a hopeful future through collective action.

She encourages artists to use their creative mediums uniting humanity to dream and construct a hopeful future through collective action. 

“If we intend to tackle the greatest challenges like the climate crisis, we need to change our view of human nature, believing that we are born with goodwill instead of selfishness. Through artistic mediums, we are presented with a window to gaze into the past, present and future climate scenarios.”

– Natalie Chung

On the other hand, Isaias Hernandez, Environmental Educator and Creative highlighted the storytelling role of grassroots climate activism and the transformative power of entertainment + culture. He recognizes the challenges of social media fatigue and time constraints but sees an opportunity to leverage creative mediums like music, talent, photography, and video to build a narrative of an ecological future where every community member can share their story.

For Hernandez, stories are the glue that binds people together, keeping culture vibrant and thriving.

“Stories are what keep people together, they allow for culture to be alive and to thrive.”

Isaias Hernandez

He also believes that artists possess a unique power to influence culture and captivate minds with a single stroke of a paintbrush, a note of a song, a structural design, or a rhythm. According to him, the general citizen doesn’t need to be an expert in climate science to grasp the peril their ecosystem faces and the urgency for community support.

Hernandez calls for scientists to embrace their inner artists, communicating differently to bridge the gap between complex scientific information and public understanding. He recognizes performers for their ability to balance the nuanced challenges of conveying both the grim reality and advocating for solutions, emphasizing that collective suffering can pave the way for the emergence of effective strategies.

Cultural Roots: Entertainment + Culture as Activism

Niharika Elety, Climate Activist and Sustainable Fashion Designer points out the roots of grassroots climate activism in cultural protest, emphasizing the profound impact of art, music, and fashion in conveying climate advocacy messages.

“The origins of grassroots climate activism are rooted in cultural protest. From art to music, and fashion, songs, paintings and fabrics all have climate advocacy messages threaded through.”

Niharika Elety

Elety envisions collaborations through music, film, art, and literature as powerful tools to simplify complex environmental topics, fostering a deeper understanding and urgency for climate action. Elety encourages artists to infuse pro-environmental themes into their work, recognizing the potential of storytelling to evoke emotions, spark conversations, and drive meaningful engagement with climate issues. Drawing inspiration from figures like Bob Marley, Joni Mitchell, and Michael Jackson, she underscores how celebrities can be influential advocates, inspiring fans to adopt eco-friendly lifestyles and actively support grassroots initiatives. Moreover, she notes that cultural collaborations extend beyond individual behavior change, contributing to increased funding and support for grassroots organizations.

Art for Change: Connecting Diverse Audiences

To paint the whole scenario, Melissa Tan, Climate Action and Sustainability Advocate from Malaysia conceptualized activism as a personal journey for everyone, not just activists; urging everyone to act for the world they want to see. She stresses the importance of contextualizing activism for each person, making it accessible through things they resonate with and showcasing how and where they can influence. According to her, the key lies in connecting the dots through various forms of art and creation.

Tan believes in the infinite possibilities that art offers, reaching individuals in ways that cold data cannot.

“It’s connecting the dots through art and creation in all forms. The possibilities are infinite and it reaches a person in ways that cold data cannot. We must use every tool in our chest.”

– Melissa Tan

Her message to artists and performers is a straightforward call to action – either speak for the planet or perpetuate the norm, as they are inherently standing for something, whether intentional or not. Tan encourages tapping into the intrinsic love shared by all human beings – the connection to our living planet and between all living things. This, she believes, is a journey of self-discovery that can help individuals find parts of themselves while fostering a deeper connection to the Earth.

Here’s the simple truth..

Entertainment + culture are not just things we enjoy; they’re tools we can all use to make a real impact on the urgent issue of climate change. Whether you’re a writer, artist, singer, actor, or someone who appreciates the arts, your unique talents have the power to inspire action. Because these conversations are the beginning of tangible climate action, and taking care of our planet is something we can all get behind. Let’s harness the universal language of culture and entertainment to drive change, one creative expression at a time, for a better, more sustainable future.

Written by Nawar N. Khan (Raeesa) and Maesha Nawreen

Harmonizing Hope: Voices of Activists Amplifying the Role of Entertainment + Culture in Climate Action

Harmonizing Hope: Voices of Activists Amplifying the Role of Entertainment + Culture in Climate Action

In the worldwide effort to combat climate change, entertainment, and culture have always been influential forces in shaping perceptions and steering collective action. As COP28 kickstarted this week in Dubai, let us turn our attention to the Entertainment + Culture Pavilion, a game-changing initiative fostering collaboration, education, and inspiration for climate action. This groundbreaking initiative marks the first-ever dedicated space within the COP28 Blue Zone, exploring the dynamic intersection of Entertainment, Culture, and Climate.

Activists globally recognize the impact these aspects can have in reshaping perspectives and driving meaningful change. To dive deeper into this, let’s hear from seven activists, youth advocates, artists, and conservationists to explore the significance and interlinkage between grassroots climate activism and the realms of entertainment and culture.

Creating Resilience Through Entertainment + Culture

Farzana Faruk Jhumu, Photo by @MarieJacquemin
Farzana Faruk Jhumu, Photo by @MarieJacquemin

In terms of traditional entertainment, Farzana Faruk Jhumu, Youth Advocate for UNICEF from Bangladesh, highlighted its role in creating resilience against rapid urbanization and environmental challenges. From farmers crafting songs as a source of rural entertainment to facing the climate crisis, these cultural expressions help communities cope with changes, resist urbanization, and inspire grassroots movements.

This connection to nature, expressed through cultural activities, becomes a source of resilience, inspiring grassroots movements that emphasize the importance of culture and entertainment in shaping and sustaining our communities”

Farzana Faruk Jhumu

Marinel Sumook Ubaldo, Photo by Pau Villanueva
Marinel Sumook Ubaldo, Photo by Pau Villanueva

These underscore the profound connection between cultural activities and the resilience needed to face environmental adversities. To further emphasize the expansive influence of artists and performers, extending far beyond the stage and screen, Marinel Sumook Ubaldo, climate justice activist from the Philippines, considers integrating cultural and entertainment elements into grassroots climate activism as a dynamic and influential dimension.

Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of our time, and the role of cultural icons places them in a unique position to inspire meaningful action.

Marinel Sumook Ubaldo

Increasing Accessibility in the Climate Movement

Ayshka Najib on Entertainment + Culture and Climate Action
Ayshka Najib, Photo by Pamela EA

To highlight the significance of cultural and entertainment collaborations, Ayshka Najib, Dubai-based climate Activist, reflected on the decolonization struggle of her home country, India. In her words, art, music, and culture are powerful tools in various decolonial movements, integrating music, songs, and visuals to convey emotions and narratives when words fall short. These tools serve a similar purpose in terms of climate activism, enhancing accessibility for all. She believes that climate change issues often involve jargon and a narrative that limits involvement to a specific group of people.

“This narrative needs to shift, we need to make our movements as accessible as possible and we also need to change the way we are communicating about climate change, that is more understandable, that resonates more, and draws upon people’s lived realities. Art has had and can have a huge role in helping to do this.”

Ashka Najib

Tania Roa
Tania Roa

Tania Roa, a passionate advocate for wildlife, environmental preservation, and social justice, had a similar perspective regarding the collaboration between grassroots climate activism and cultural/entertainment figures. In her opinion, this collaboration enhances storytelling, utilizing culturally meaningful stories that connect with more people, making it easier for the local community to understand the climate crisis.

“Simply by talking with people in non-environmentalist spaces, you can show others how the climate crisis affects them, their passions, goals, careers, and livelihoods. That’s when more people take action, and we need as many people as possible to create the greener, more just future we’re working towards.”

Tania Roa

Inspiring Actions and Bringing Changes Through Entertainment + Culture

Lamech Opiyo
Lamech Opiyo

The collaboration of activism and entertainment can be a powerful tool for inspiring action. Apart from visibility and awareness in climate activism, Lamech Opiyo, an environmentalist from Kenya, believes it can also create a shared sense of community and collaboration. They provide platforms for youth engagement, attracting large audiences through the influential figures of the cultural and entertainment spheres.

“Through high-profile collaborations and partnerships, this can attract the attention of policymakers and leaders, therefore influencing them to take more decisive action on climate issues.”

Lamech Opiyo

He also added that collaboration with cultural and entertainment figures can enhance fundraising efforts for grassroots movements through celebrity endorsements and participation in events to attract sponsors, donors, and philanthropists who may be more inclined to support a cause that has the backing of well-known personalities. 

Winnie Cheche
Winnie Cheche

On the other hand, Winnie Cheche, the Founder of The Eco Advocate, envisions collaborations as a tag-team match, where culture and activism amplify each other’s voices.

“The goal is also to connect with people’s hearts and minds, and to portray climate action as both relatable and cool”.

Winnie Cheche

Winnie believes that artists and performers’ voices can carry weight beyond the stage, acting as a tool for fostering a collective commitment to a more sustainable and harmonious world. 

In terms of cultural norms, Katharina Maier, the National Coordinator of Fridays for Future-USA considers collaborations to be shaping public discourse, influencing decision-makers, and contributing to a world where eco-friendly choices are the norm.

Artists and performers wield significant influence in shaping public perceptions, emotions, and attitudes – giving them a unique power to transform climate action from a scientific or political discourse into a cultural movement that resonates with people on a deep, emotional level. This cultural shift is essential for building a sustainable and eco-conscious global society.”

Katharina Maier

In the global movement to fight climate change, a powerful synergy emerges when grassroots climate activism, entertainment, and culture unite. From the songs of local communities to global performances, artists and cultural figures do more than entertain – they inspire. As we navigate towards a sustainable future, these collaborations light the way, encouraging us all to commit to a more harmonious and eco-friendly world that we all dream of. 

What Does Entertainment + Culture Have to Do With Climate Action?

What Does Entertainment + Culture Have to Do With Climate Action?

Can I ask you something? You can take a couple of minutes to think before answering. How can culture and entertainment play a part in driving climate action? Too tough? It’s actually not. Let me tell you why. But first, let me tell you that, there is a relationship between these three and that is exactly why there is a pavilion focusing just on Entertainment + Culture at COP28 this year.

The relationship between culture, entertainment, and climate is actually very simple. If you have ever listened to folk or country music from any part of our planet, you will find out that there are many songs from the point of view of the farmers; they express their emotions through these songs. You also might get some extra agricultural lessons from those songs too! There are different songs for the times of planting the seeds, different songs for the times of taking care of the crops, and different songs for the times of harvest. It’s not tough to understand that, the time for different agricultural tasks; from sowing to reaping; is different and depends on the seasons. So climate plays the most important part in agriculture, and for different tasks and times for those agricultural activities there are different songs, now these songs are part of a culture, and when you listen to them, they become a form of entertainment. I’m sure you’re starting to see the picture more clearly at this point.

Elders Chen Shifan, Dai Bisheng, Chen Shida and Jiang Xinglong, sing Wa Wu Mountain Song in the field in Yaozu, the Yao ethnic town in Longhui county, Central China's Hunan province on Aug 25, 2012. [Photo/Xinhua]
Old farmers Chen Shifan, Dai Bisheng, Chen Shida and Jiang Xinglong, sing Wa Wu Mountain Song in the field in Yaozu, the Yao ethnic town in Longhui county, Central China’s Hunan province on Aug 25, 2012. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Intricate Link Between Entertainment + Culture and Climate

It’s impossible to think about culture and entertainment without the role of climate. Because the environment that we all live in, which we experience differently in different parts of our planet, shapes our cultures differently, so the forms of entertainment are also heavily influenced by climate. Just like there are poems and songs and celebrations to pray for and welcome summer in the countries that go through severely cold winters, there are different forms of artistic expressions and celebrations that pray for and welcome rain or winter in the countries that experience intensely hot summers too. For example, Juhannus, the midsummer festival of Finland which is marked by bonfires, traditional songs, and dances to welcome and celebrate summer holds an ancient and important cultural value. There are similar festivals in countries that experience similar weather patterns too –  Midsommar festival in Sweden, Jaanipäev or Midsummer day in Estonia, Līgo svētki or Midsummer festival in Latvia. Similarly, countries that experience warm and hot weather throughout the longer part of the year welcome and celebrate monsoons and winters. For example, Barsha Utshab in Bangladesh, Songkran or Thai water festival in Thailand.

Songkran or Thai water festival in Thailand
Songkran or Thai water festival in Thailand

Now you might ask, why are we talking about all of these? It’s because we, human beings, are at a crucial time now regarding the health of our planet. Due to the usage of fossil fuel, usage of toxic chemicals, deforestation, overproduction, overconsumption, etc., we are at the point of a time where we need to act vigorously to prevent our global climate from changing and going to an irreversible point of no return

This is not only a threat to our lands and lives, but also to our cultures too. You might argue that if some cultures get lost in time due to climate change, it’s not a big deal, new cultures will take birth and fill up those gaps. But it’s not that simple, because the cultures that we might lose due to climate change will be lost along with the lives of the people who represent those cultures and the lands that they live in, that they call home.

Cultivating the Power Art Holds in Shaping a Better World

But instead of getting lost in the feeling of sadness and helplessness, we all can do something about it. And you know what? Entertainment + Culture can be our tools to take those actions. Music, poems, stories, acting, painting, dancing, movies – everything can help us to take action for our planet and secure a future that is safe, joyful, sustainable, and just for all. These forms of arts and entertainment can not only help us to get out of the endless black hole of feeling helpless but also they can help us to be optimistic and dream about a beautiful future. Not just that, they can actually make us feel positively powerful to take action for us and for our planet.

Now if you are still feeling unsure how this can be true. Let me tell you that, it’s not only true, it’s effective too. Entertainment + Culture can play crucial roles in igniting climate actions, bringing meaningful changes, and shaping policies. Let’s delve a little deeper into this discussion, shall we?

Entertainment + Culture Bringing Effective Changes Globally

Climate action comes in different forms and it’s important to understand that. From choosing to buy fewer products, and buying eco-friendly products to community-based actions to advocating for policy changes; all are climate actions. Leaders from different sectors of culture and entertainment have the ability to influence many people by using their voices, arts, and platforms to take such actions, and they are doing so. Prominent celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Watson, Billie Eilish have successfully influenced so many people from all around the globe to adopt a sustainable lifestyle. This clearly shows that the sector of culture and entertainment has the ability to contribute to climate actions.

The influence of culture and entertainment is not just limited to bringing lifestyle changes. From ancient times, culture and its representation as a form of entertainment have inspired community-based climate actions too. Indigenous storytelling and performance arts from all around the globe have passed down the knowledge of their ways of living in harmony with nature to the next generations. This knowledge is helping these communities not only to live sustainably but to take care of our planet. Indigenous communities account for only around 5% of the global population but they effectively manage 20 – 25% of Earth’s surface lands and take care of 80% of our planet’s biodiversity.

In modern days, such storytellers and artists are also doing the same work and inspiring community actions. For example, Tanya Tagaq is an Inuk throat singer, songwriter, and activist who raises awareness about the climate crisis, educates listeners about indigenous knowledge, and inspires climate actions through the power of her music. Artists like Olafur Eliasson, founder of The Little Sun Project, Hannah Tizedes, founder of The Cleanup Club, are inspiring community members to take action as well.

It is also important to know that the role of culture and entertainment in driving climate action can reach policy-making levels too. The best example of this could be the small country named Bhutan, nestled in the Himalayas, known for its strong commitment to environmental protection and sustainability. The country’s cultural values, deeply rooted in reverence for nature, have played a significant role in shaping its policies and actions towards achieving carbon neutrality. Not to mention, Bhutan was the first country to be recognized as carbon-negative. The country is also famous for being the pioneer in the Wellbeing Economy movement and measures its progress not in terms of GDP but in terms of GNH or Gross National Happiness. Also, I think we all can agree on the role of the famous documentary of Al Gore, Former Vice President of the United States, “An Inconvenient Truth” in igniting conversation, contributing culturally, and thus having an effect at the policymaking level too.

So, What’s Happening at the E + C Pavilion at COP28

I’m sure by now you have realized the immense power that culture and entertainment hold in driving climate action. That is exactly why, for the very first time there is a dedicated Entertainment + Culture Pavilion at COP28 this year. This pavilion is acting as a hub where people and organizations from all around our planet are engaging to amplify climate action from individual levels to the policy-making stage through the power of culture and entertainment. 

The wide range of programmings of the Entertainment + Culture Pavilion at COP28 clearly echoes the importance of entertainment and culture in climate action. Cultural leaders from all across our planet are joining in to make the voice of the pavilion stronger. From sectoral roundtables, discussion panels, interactive installations to fashion shows and musical performances to many more, the pavilion is platforming events to ignite climate action through entertainment and culture. The Enter + C Pavilion at COP28 is featuring remarkable cultural and climate leaders like Dia Mirza, Farhana Yamin, Jeffery D.Sachs, Hindou Omarou Ibrahim, Nile Rodgers, Mustafa Santiago Ali, Vanessa Nakate, Xiye Bastida, Omnia El Omrani, Laurel Kivuyo, Leo Cerda, Max Han, Habiba Abdulrahman Hemed, Isavela Lopez, Monica Jahan Bose. If the powerful voices of all of these talents believe that entertainment + culture can play a significant role in driving climate action and bringing effective changes, then it’s surely the safest bet to believe in them too!

Your Voice Matters, Your Actions Matter

Culture is an inseparable part of all of our lives. We are always consuming or taking part in entertainment in one way or another in this digital age. So it is actually possible for all of us to play our own roles in climate action through entertainment + culture. You can surely write, draw, paint, sing, act, play, perform in your own ways, and use your power to inspire others to take climate actions from individual stages to bring changes in the policies. Even if you’re someone who is not involved in any of these, you can still play an active role by sharing the messages of those who are doing those things to amplify the cause and inspire others to take climate action. It surely doesn’t take much to share songs or poems or any other form of art with your friends and have a chat with them after that to start the conversation about taking the necessary steps. Why? Because the beginning of that conversation will definitely result in some kind of climate action and it’s important. Isn’t it important to take care of our home, our only home, planet Earth? 

Beyond Borders: Entertainment + Culture Pavilion at COP28

Beyond Borders: Entertainment + Culture Pavilion at COP28

In the labyrinth of global efforts combating the climate crisis, a distinctive initiative takes center stage at the blue zone of COP28 – the Entertainment + Culture Pavilion (E+C Pavilion). This pioneering endeavor stands as the first dedicated space within the COP Blue Zone, delving into the dynamic intersection of Entertainment, Culture, and Climate.

Introducing the Entertainment + Culture Pavilion

The Entertainment + Culture Pavilion is an initiative of the Entertainment + Culture Foundation, a non-profit organization based in the USA & fiscally sponsored by Climate Generation. The Pavilion is co-managed by organizations in the climate & entertainment community namely Climate Generation, Dubai Climate Collective, Youth Climate Collaborative, The Climate Propagandist, Sauntr, and Entertainment & Culture for Climate Action (ECCA).

The Pavilion aims to serve not only as a physical space within the COP Blue Zone but as a metaphorical bridge connecting the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the creative industries. Their mission is to provide a platform for collaboration, education, and inspiration, and to establish a vital connection between the creative industries and the global climate discourse. This connection goes beyond symbolism, manifesting in interdisciplinary activations and programming events that inspire concrete climate action.

“As members of the creative sector, we hold immense power to shape mainstream perspectives, raise awareness on important issues facing our planet, build shared understanding and consciousness, and encourage behavioral change.”

The Partnership and Impact Director of E+C Pavilion, Samuel Rubin shared with Green & Beyond Mag

At the heart of the Pavilion’s significance is its unique ability to amplify climate dialogues globally. The Pavilion, according to the organizers, aims to be a space where “entertainment, culture, and intricate global climate dialogues intersect.” Its goal is clear: to use the influential realms of entertainment and culture to articulate, disseminate, and amplify pivotal climate discussions emerging from COP28 to a global audience.

Significance of the Entertainment + Culture Pavilion at COP28

Amidst the urgency of climate action, the E+C Pavilion emerges as a dynamic hub pulsating with creativity, activism, ambition, and hope. In an era where social media platforms dominate communication, the Entertainment + Culture Pavilion recognizes the power of narrative impact and climate storytelling. “Uplifting the power of narratives and stories in promoting planetary justice and fostering an understanding of interconnectedness, kinship, and care for people, flora, fauna, and the planet” is a focal point.

Photo by Spemone

This approach aligns with the Pavilion’s mission to inspire collective action through the emotive strength of storytelling. Positioned within the Blue Zone, this pavilion seeks to amplify the emotional resonance and transformative power of Entertainment and Culture, fostering heightened awareness, inspiring collective action, and catalyzing systemic change.

“Climate change not only threatens natural resources, but also the cultural heritage of communities intricately tied to ancestral lands and waters. Culture therefore provides the imperative to educate and empower generations of community members to band together to generate locally-suited solutions to preserve natural and cultural heritage.”

– Samuel further shared with Green & Beyond Mag

Hence, the Entertainment + Culture Pavilion at COP28 marks a groundbreaking venture as its genesis lies in recognizing the transformative potential of culture and entertainment in steering climate conversations. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) underscores the power of narrative shifts and cultural efforts, estimating that the committed engagement of 10-30% of social influencers and thought leaders is pivotal for shaping new social norms.

“The creative sector urgently needs more hubs like the E+C Pavilion. These spaces are crucial for building essential infrastructure, advancing decarbonization initiatives, crafting policies, creating economic incentives, securing funding, and ensuring diversity and representation across the entertainment industry.”

– The Communication & Content Director of E+C Pavilion, Kirsten Wessel shared with Green & Beyond Mag

The significance of such a platform extends beyond the COP event. The organizers envision a world where the creative industries and cultural expressions play a pivotal role in shaping the global climate agenda. The pilot edition of the Pavilion at COP28 is designed to be a stepping stone for a permanent presence at COP and potentially other high-level conferences within the UN ecosystem. This ambition is rooted in the understanding that the creative sector, employing over 50 million people globally, is a powerful force that can drive meaningful change.

Cultural Catalyst for Policy and Action

Emerging from this understanding, the Pavilion aims to be a nexus where entertainment and culture converge to exert influence. In crafting this unique space, the organizers draw inspiration from UNESCO‘s view of culture as the “ultimate renewable resource” to combat climate change. The Pavilion is more than a platform; it’s a testament to the urgent need to leverage the interdisciplinary skills and global reach of the creative industries for climate advocacy.

“Tackling the climate crisis will take decisive action at all levels of society, so why not harness the interdisciplinary skills and global reach of the creative industries to actively address and combat climate change? We have no alternative but to make an earnest effort, crucially because it involves adapting to the evolving climate and mastering the art of navigating our current reality. Whether conveyed through music, film, art, or otherwise, it’s essential to feel acknowledged and share narratives of resilience and joy within our global communities.”

– organizers at the E+C Pavilion

Connecting Threads: Entertainment, Culture & Climate Action

The Entertainment + Culture Pavilion positions itself as a bridge between the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the creative industries. The mission resonates with a commitment to inspire concrete climate action, fostering collaboration and leveraging culture’s power to engage a global audience. The organizers envision a world where the creative industries and cultural expressions serve as dynamic drivers of climate action and environmental stewardship.

The E+C Pavilion stands as a testament to the potent fusion of creativity and climate action. Through its objectives, the Pavilion aims to showcase the profound impact that culture, arts, music, and storytelling can have in interpreting the reality of the climate crisis. According to the organizers, “The emotive strength of these mediums taps into universal human experiences, transcending borders and languages.”

Quote about the relationship between entertainment, culture and climate.
Photo by Green & Beyond Desk

E+C Pavilion’s offerings throughout COP28 – Programming & Events


The Pavilion’s programming themes craft a vivid portrayal of its objectives. From exploring audiovisual sovereignty to examining the influence of persuasive industries in raising climate awareness, each theme is a thread in the larger narrative of leveraging culture for climate action. Notably, the Pavilion’s emphasis on health, mindfulness, and storytelling underscores a holistic approach to climate engagement.

As the organizers succinctly put it, “The Pavilion and its programming are designed to unite these subsectors and bolster the presence of the entire industry in the climate agenda.”

The Pavilion’s commitment to fostering collaboration is evident in its event formats. Whether through sectoral roundtables, discussion panels, or interactive installations, the Pavilion aims to provide a diverse set of avenues for engaging with climate issues. This inclusivity extends to community mixers, where people from diverse backgrounds converge to network and build bridges within the creative sector.

Panel discussions to be hosted by organizations like NAACP, Harvard, and MENA Youth Network will delve into crucial topics such as storytelling in the Black community for environmental justice, communicating climate change and health solutions through video media, and exploring climate action through the cultural lens of the Middle East and North Africa.

Panel discussions
Photo by Product School

Additionally, the Entertainment + Culture Pavilion will feature a fashion show spotlighting eco-conscious clothing and accessories. This exhibition goes beyond the traditional runway, championing innovative design and creativity while emphasizing sustainability in the fashion industry. It serves as a testament to the Pavilion’s commitment to intertwining culture and climate across various sectors.

Photo of a fashion runway fashion show
Photo by Rudy Issa

The lineup of performances is equally impressive. From Nile Rodgers, renowned for his contributions to the music industry, to spoken word performances by environmental justice advocate Isavela Lopez, the Pavilion offers a diverse range of artistic expressions. These performances aim not only to entertain but also to inspire a sense of responsibility and climate awareness.

Photo of singer and musician Nile Rodgers smiling
Nile Rodgers, Musician – Photo via Wikimedia

The Pavilion’s vision goes beyond COP28. It aspires to be a stepping stone for a permanent presence at COP and other high-level conferences within the UN ecosystem. By encouraging dialogue, igniting innovation, and mobilizing people globally, the Pavilion seeks to contribute to a more sustainable and habitable planet.

As we delve into the details of the Pavilion’s offerings throughout COP28, it becomes apparent that it’s a hub of climate optimism, as the Pavilion’s dynamic programming aims to instill a sense of hope and empowerment. By incorporating diverse voices, the Pavilion seeks to catalyze tangible actions and solutions across borders and sectors.

Recognizing the Importance of Diversity & Inclusivity

The Pavilion’s extensive programming, comprising over 190 proposals from around the globe, reflects its commitment to diversity and inclusivity. Events will be conducted in English, Arabic, Spanish, and Portuguese, making the Pavilion a truly global platform. Private roundtables, interactive exhibitions, and community mixers highlight the diverse array of activities that participants can engage with.

Photo of a corner of a globe
Photo by Sigmund

Another crucial aspect of the Pavilion is its emphasis on talent diversity. From Indian actress Dia Mirza to climate lawyer and activist Farhana Yamin, the Pavilion brings together a diverse array of voices. This diversity is not just symbolic; it mirrors the Pavilion’s broader mission of uniting artists, innovators, and thought leaders from varied backgrounds to foster collaboration and synergy.

“A prime example being featured in the pavilion is Monica Jahan Bose, a member of our Delegation who founded “Storytelling with Saris”. Through this initiative, she uplifts traditional practices in rural Bangladesh, utilizing her own traditional clothing as a tool for movement building, climate action, and empowerment. During COP, Monica will lead a performance and host a workshop at the E+C Pavilion.”

– Organizers at the E+C Pavilion
Photo by Storytelling with Saris

“The Pavilion also features filmmaker collectives like Mullu, Midia Ninja, and Sauntr representing Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, and the US, establishing community- or Indigenous-led media platforms to create fresh content that focuses on community cinema and collective creation while supporting audiovisual sovereignty over their narratives. With over 100 community events and 150 partners, the Entertainment + Culture Pavilion represents a diverse array of approaches to intertwining environmental concerns with arts and culture.”

– the organizers further said.

Highlighting Individuals and Talents of the Entertainment + Culture Pavilion

The Pavilion boasts an impressive lineup of individuals who have made significant contributions to the intersection of climate action and culture. Dia Mirza, an Indian actress and Goodwill Ambassador for UNEP, brings her influence to amplify environmental causes. Climate lawyer, author, and activist Farhana Yamin, along with world-renowned economist Jeffrey D. Sachs, adds depth to the Pavilion’s discussions.

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, President of the Indigenous Women & People’s Association of Chad, and Mustafa Santiago Ali, Vice President of the National Wildlife Federation, represent voices from regions deeply affected by climate change. Their perspectives offer valuable insights into the intersection of culture, indigenous rights, and environmental stewardship.

The Entertainment + Culture Pavilion also features youth leaders and renowned climate activists like Vanessa Nakate, founder of the Rise Up Movement, and Max Han, co-founder of Youths United for Earth. Their presence underscores the importance of empowering the younger generation in the climate discourse.

Xiye Bastida, co-founder of the Re-Earth Initiative, contributes to the Pavilion’s narrative with her focus on engaging communities and fostering a sense of global responsibility. Laurel Kivuyo, founder of Climate Hub Tanzania, brings a unique perspective from the African continent, emphasizing the importance of diverse voices in the climate dialogue.

Highlighted-Talents of the Entertainment + Culture Pavilion at COP28

Musical contributions come from Nile Rodgers, known for his guitar prowess and influential contributions to the music industry. The Pavilion also hosts a spoken word performance by Isavela Lopez, offering a poignant narrative of environmental injustices in Mexico and the United States.

These talents, along with others, represent a mosaic of experiences, expertise, and creativity. Their collective presence reinforces the Pavilion’s commitment to fostering a truly global and inclusive dialogue on the crucial intersection of culture and climate.

A Vision Unveiled: E+C Pavilion’s Long-Term Impact

In the heart of COP28, the Entertainment + Culture Pavilion materializes as more than a spectacle; it’s a visionary force intertwining creativity and climate advocacy. Beyond the dazzling events, the Pavilion paints a vision of collaboration, birthing a promise for a sustained presence in global conversations. This isn’t just an artistic spectacle; it’s a mission to align with the Paris Agreement’s ambitions.

Camera capturing sunrise
Photo by Ian Dooley

The Pavilion calls for the creative industries to decarbonize, transforming into a stage where the entertainment industry becomes a protagonist in the fight against climate change. It’s a canvas where disciplines intertwine, giving birth to artistic expressions narrating tales of resilience in the face of climate challenges. Here, existing initiatives find a home, converging knowledge to avoid duplication.

The Pavilion acts as a haven for collective wisdom, echoing the argument for the expansion of cultural spaces championing climate causes. Amidst this vision, the Pavilion’s programming themes beat like a heart, each echoing a different facet of the climate story. From the struggle for audiovisual sovereignty to the harmonious blend of music and ritual in service of science-based targets, the themes become threads that create a landscape of climate narratives. As the Pavilion unfolds its programming, it ceases to be just a platform; it transforms into a living, breathing entity — a storyteller in the grand theater of climate action.

Written by Shoummo Ahmed & Maesha N. at Green & Beyond Mag.

Join the Green & Beyond Community!

 

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

Congratulations! You have Successfully become a member of the Green & Beyond community!

Pin It on Pinterest