“The Climate Action Panel organised by Thangam Debbonaire MP was powerful and thought provoking, not least because it wasn’t all White Middle Class Males – see Alice Venn’s graph of who usually gets involved.
Everyone involved deserves a mention, but we are especially proud to be working with Peace of Art who showed, yet again, that being heard is so much more important than being seen when change has to be made.”
Stuart Phelps, Chair of Baggator.
Baggator joins Bristol West MP in discussion on climate change
Baggator Chair Stuart Phelps and Peace of Art co-founder Aumairah Hassan recently participated in a Climate action Panel discussion hosted by Thangam Debbonaire, Labour MP for Bristol West.
The public meeting, which took place over Zoom on July 27, included representatives from Avon Wildlife Trust, Bristol Youth Parliament, Bristol Somali Forum and Malcolm X centre.
Researcher Alice Venn and artist, Emma Blake-Morsi have been working with The Cabot Institute for the Environment at The University of Bristol, were among those invited by Thangam Debbonaire for last week’s meeting.
Lack of inclusivity
The Just Transition research project conducted by Alice Venn and lead researcher Dr Alix Dietzel, investigated the role of sub state actors in decision-making on climate policy in Bristol.
They found that the majority speaking at meetings were white males. Less than five per cent were non-white.
The discussion over the lack of inclusivity started with community champion and Chair of Malcolm X Community Centre in St Pauls, Primrose Granville.
She said, “The agenda on climate change is seen as a white male led agenda”, and it tends to be those who “know how the system works and are already in the system” who make the decisions.
Aumairah talked about language barriers and the need to provide translations to increase inclusivity.
She also talked about the need to “tap into community groups that already exist”. Meeting with community groups and working with them “would have a much greater impact than just organising a meeting”.
Stuart adds that if people are excluded from decision making, it can lead to the wrong decisions, using the example of the tower blocks designed in the 1960s and 1970s: “The experts made decisions without those who were to live there, and they made the wrong decision.”
Aumairah highlighted the need for people to have better public transport options as an alternative to cars: “We need to join the dots”, explained Aumairah; “the new metro bus goes through Easton, but it doesn’t stop here”.
Murals reach everyone
Aumairah and Stuart also talked about their current project to create a mural reflecting SDG3 [Good Health & Wellbeing] from Saaf Hava’s South Asian perspective that highlights the climate emergency. Saaf Hava [Clean Air] is a joint project between the Council of Bristol Mosques and RADE. “Through providing free public artwork, we can reach everyone”, said Aumairah. Stuart added “We wanted to work with Peace of Art to guarantee a diverse perspective was shown in the Mural.”