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A climate justice march held in Glasgow, Scotland during the UN climate conference. Photo courtesy of The Left via Flickr.

“I’d like to say something about faith. Faith in change. Faith in our youth. Faith in the elders who laid the groundwork, the indigenous, global south, the Pacific and Caribbean islanders who are in there right now holding the line. Faith in this movement, faith in collective action.”

- Kathy Jetn̄il-Kijiner, poet and Marshall Islands climate envoy, spoke fervently at a rally outside the summit about faith in the face of existential threat. 

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Hello, friends,

This week, the UN climate summit has left us wondering - who is not there, and therefore not heard or seen? Over the last two weeks, countries across the globe have been participating in the annual United Nations climate summit to hammer out agreements that will slow the impact of global warming and climate change. Many countries have pledged to enact policies that will curb greenhouse gases, in particular methane, and slow down deforestation. 

But as the summit draws to a close, the draft agreement, which was published early yesterday, following all-night talks, also asks for much tighter deadlines for governments to reveal their plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And most interestingly, a story we will be watching, is the renewed and increased support for poorer countries fighting climate change.

Air pollution, poor water quality, flash flooding and fires are among the tangible climate change impacts that disproportionately affect communities of color across the globe. And at this year’s talks it was heartening to see that climate justice was top of mind for many attending, and watching, the negotiations at the conference unfold. 

There were protesters from dozens of Pacific Islander nations who traveled to Glasgow, Scotland to demand immediate and aggressive climate action both in and outside the UN COP26 climate summit. Pacific Islanders are on the frontlines of the climate crisis; studies show that most low-lying coral atoll islands will be uninhabitable by 2030. And many of these nations' disaster preparedness include exit plans in anticipation of having to move some or all of their people.

Bangladeshi climate scientist Saleemul Huq serves as an advisor to the group of Least Developed Countries at COP26. Huq detailed how the most vulnerable Bangladeshis are struggling to cope with extreme heat, flash flooding that wipes away entire villages and poor air quality. In his role as advisor, he has advised the group of developing nations to focus on loss and damage from climate change. The draft of the climate deal is causing much ambivalence but in calling for more support for developing countries and recognizing a need for more financial assistance — that is a step in the right direction.

“For the first time last week the U.S. acknowledged this idea of loss and damage. The idea that the U.S. and the developing world have caused the problems these vulnerable countries are facing," said Justin Worland, senior correspondent for Time Magazine covering climate change and policy, "But what does that mean exactly?”

Jenni Monet, independent investigative journalist and founder of the newsletter Indigenously, shared that for the first time this year’s climate talks showed some gains in the Indigenous space where more and more indigenous voices were showcased.

But our co-founder S. Mitra Kalita also points out that another voice missing from the summit are young people: “The composition of those who get to make the decisions is so fascinating. Young people have been so effective at getting this issue front and center but somehow have not pervaded the narrative of this conference —that is noteworthy,” she explained on the podcast “In the Thick.”

These are all the angles our URL Media partners will continue to watch, report on and dissect through our journalistic storytelling. What we know is that the costs of the coming climate crisis will be borne unequally. The planet may avoid the worst outcome—but certain populations will get stuck with the burden.  

With gratitude and hope,
Leonor Ayala Polley
Head of Audience & Partnerships, URL Media

 

Climate justice takes the stage at COP26
 


Dr. Laalitha Surapaneni (left) and Virajita Singh (middle) of the University of Minnesota, and Jamez Staples (right), president of Renewable Energy Partners, are three Minnesotans of color who moderated on a panel at the United Nations climate conference in Scotland. Photo by the Sahan Journal.


As global climate change accelerates, its disproportionate impact on the health and livelihood of communities of color around the world is (finally) sharing the mainstage during climate negotiations at the UN conference. What is clear is that the costs of the coming crisis will not be borne equally. 

Our partner, Sahan Journal, spotlights the work of
three prominent Minnesotans of color who co-hosted a panel focused on climate justice. The group comprised of a medical professional, an urban planner and the founder of a renewable energy company, all of whom emphasized the importance of ground level solutions, cross-cultural collaboration, and organizing in order to adapt to a warming planet. 

And Next Shark
drills down on the joint agreement this week between the U.S. and China, the two countries with the world’s largest economies, to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Leaders of both countries vowed to work together to address the problem of deforestation and methane. 

Pacific Islanders are on the frontlines of the global climate crisis; they are facing a rate of sea-level rise two to three times higher than the global average. The Yappie reports on the contingent of Pacific Islanders who took to the streets of Glasgow, Scotland this past week to demand accountability as well as immediate and aggressive climate action. Journalist  Shawna Chen reports “ a history of U.S. and other world powers’ nuclear experiments has also exacerbated the environmental threat.”

 

BEHIND THE LENS WITH JAIDA GRAY EAGLE,
PHOTOJOURNALIST, THE SAHAN JOURNAL

URL MEDIA: Who is Jaida Grey Eagle? 

 JAIDA: I am an Oglala Lakota woman, born on Pine    Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and raised in Minnesota. Growing up, I always had access to art, either through my family with beadwork or through school with drawing and painting. From the moment I could -- I’ve always loved to create things and I continue to immerse myself in art along with photojournalism. 

Journalism isn’t a career that was accessible to me, it’s been an aspiration that never felt reachable. I’ve always been interested in journalism even when the doors have not always been open to me. I come from a family of incredible storytellers, and have always been fascinated by visual communication. I think this is what gave me the footing I needed to chase my dream of becoming a photojournalist. But it wasn’t until I was selected as a fellow for Report For America that I finally got my foot in the door. 

 

URL MEDIA: What led you to pursue a career in photojournalism?
JAIDA: Honestly, I’ve been photographing for a long time and I wasn’t sure I would ever get into photojournalism even though I wanted to. Growing up, I saw many photographers come into our communities and tell our stories in a way that left many of us feeling misconstrued. Those experiences both empowered and taught me that I could pursue a career in journalism while staying grounded in my values. I know all too well what it’s like to not be heard and I refuse to leave any person I work with feeling unseen and unheard -- the way many in my community often felt. 


URL MEDIA: How does your background, both personally and academically, inform and shape your work?
JAIDA:  We, Indigenous women, are often referred to as the backbones of our communities. From a very early age, we are taught to listen, and understand how we could be in service to our communities. Listening is such a critical skill in journalistic storytelling. And from the very beginning, I’ve been raised to be someone people could easily talk to. 


Experience Jaida Gray Eagle’s reporting here. 

 

A child holding a sign that says "Justice for Dolal Idd" on Cedar Avenue, in Minneapolis. The graffiti behind him reads "Mama, I can't breathe"--George Floyd's last words before he was killed by Minneapolis Police, seven months earlier and a few blocks away. Photo by Jaida Gray Eagle, The Sahan Journal.

Recognizing and Respecting Boundaries 

For the first time ever, Minnesota has erected highway signs recognizing Native treaty boundaries. The Sahan Journal reports that the state will erect highway signs recognizing boundaries set in an 1854 treaty signed by the U.S. government and three Ojibwe bands.

And newly elected New York City Mayor Eric Adams is setting boundaries and holding firm on his position to curtail ICE deportations. Documented offers analysis on what Adams' support for the NYPD, including a controversial stance on stop-and-frisk, means for immigrant New Yorkers.


WURD Radio's Solomon Jones talked to former Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick about  the future of the Democratic Party and how to keep Black voters engaged. Deval also touched on uplifting Black and Brown communities through job creation and training, and what's missing in the "Build Back Better" infrastructure bill and what to expect in the social infrastructure bill.

Workers at several Kellogg plants across the country continue their strike to demand protections including better wages, and rolling back other rules that limit paid time off and other benefits. Scalawag reports that the South is home to some of the states with the lowest rates of unionization in the country. Workers in the South, on average, earn lower wages and have fewer rights at work than workers elsewhere in the country. 

 

Searching for a New Beginning

Haitian settlers are provided food at a shelter in Ciudad Acuna, Coahuila state, Mexico, on September 21, 2021. Photo by Pedro Pardo, The Haitian Times.

Many Haitians are celebrating the U.S. State Department’s reversal of a Trump-era ban on temporary worker visas for citizens of the island. The Haitian Times reports the decision is a sigh of relief for many on the island as the country continues to rebuild after a devastating earthquake and ongoing political upheaval after the assasination of the president over the Summer.

What we're loving this week from our partners

↦In cities like San Francisco, where rents are the highest in the country, business owners hardest hit by the pandemic turned to high interest loans to cover expenses like the rent. Now, many are struggling to get back on their feet. palabra. digs deeper.

 ↦WURD Radio’s Andrea Lawful will host the 3rd annual College tour on Nov. 15th from the Community College of Philadelphia from 1-4 pm.

↦It’s all cheers and celebrations for New York cabbies.
Epicenter NYC reports how the 46-day strike ended this past week. 

The URLs on URL
 

On November 18th, our co-founder and CEO of WURD Radio, Sara Lomax-Reese will participate in the BIPOC Community Media Summit in Washington, DC. The summit is centered on building and growing community media. Registration and details here.

Check out our co-founder and Epicenter NYC publisher, S. Mitra Kalita, on the podcast "In The Thick Show" produced by Futuro Media.
Mitra Kalita offered insight into the impact of critical race theory debate in elections. 


And, finally, our co-founder and CEO of WURD Radio, Sara Lomax-Reese, shares innovative ways to express yourself and be heard in a feature article in Mindful.  
 

Join URL Media Events

The Laura Flanders Show

 Join us this Sunday on The Laura Flanders Show at 11:30AMET. URL Media will be in conversation with Scalawag, WURD Radio and The Haitian Times. We will be talking about climate justice and how global warming disproportionately affects BIPOC people https://bit.ly/3HlbYht.  And, once a month, you can catch URL Media on The Laura Flanders Show on select PBS stations for a conversation that centers the stories, issues and concerns that our BIPOC media partners are following. 

HAPPY 7th BIRTHDAY SCALAWAG!
↦ Scalawag celebrates seven years of journalism that disrupts the mainstream media narratives of the South. RSVP for their close of 2021 jubilee. 

 

 

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