Over the weekend, I attended a Wretched of the Earth gathering in London focusing on #climatejustice, billed as Building Our Power. This was a first for me to attend such an event; where I knew the majority of participants would be black, brown and indigenous people as well as gathered together to discuss the climate crisis. I didn’t know what to expect but I was excited about the prospect as far too long I’ve been the only black face in the room when talking about the natural world, the environment and conservation.
The event didn’t disappoint. It was such an amazing and inspiring space to be part of as everything was being co-created; the values and actions, the tactics and strategies of the movement moving forward. What struck me and what I take away with me and move forward with is the way that the climate debate is framed within Western society is wrong and misleading. There has been growing concern for endangered species and the melting icecaps and how we can make a change through recycling and other such individual measures. Yet this narrative keeps hidden the major causes of climate change along with the pain and suffering that has been experienced for decades within the Global South because of such.
Climate Justice is about re-writing the narrative and exposing the inequalities and injustices that have been going on for the last 500 years through colonialism, imperialism and capitalism. This climate emergency cannot be divorced from other issues such as housing, crime, poverty and racism. we enjoy a privileged standard of living in the West because communities and people in the south suffer, be that through being used as cheap labour or have their homes and livelihoods decimated due to extractions industries and drought.
There is so much to be learned around these issues which I’m motivated to explore and share. The creative non-fiction memoir of mixed genres which I’ve been writing this year centres about a black woman’s body with/in nature, I envision to take on a more climate justice stance as I continue to champion how nature has helped me heal and how we, humanity, need to heal through our re-connection with nature.
1. Re-entry into my everyday after being away is harsh.
2. The sun glows low.
3. We walk the shore alone and smell the waves.
4. My everyday life is full of kinks.
5. The terns dance within the foam.
6. Strong black coffee steams.
7. Luther Vandross ‘Searching’ on the radio.
8. Emails plying up as is the washing.
9. Box set bingeing late into the night.
10. Not ready to start it all again tomorrow.
When my days are lived at a pace.
When my time is filled with noise.
When my eyes are lit up by a screen.
I feel a creeping dread up my spine.
Red ants invade my hairline
and I feel as if there is no escape.
I’m uncomfortable in my skin,
taking only shallow breaths.
Heavy and awkward, never feeling rest or calm,
I forget who I am.
When I withdraw to slow down.
When I turn off external sounds.
When my ears become accustomed
to the voice deep within my being,
I can feel my soul and she speaks
from heart of love.
Deep within the still centre of my being may I find peace.
Silent,y within the quiet of the Grove may we share peace.
Gently within the greater circle of humankind may we radiate peace.
– Cairistiona Worhington
Still walking to work, I am drawn to these buildings. Apparently these were termed ‘super flats’. Part of the St. Mark’s Redevelopment program, these flats were built in the 1950s to replace the old terrace houses within the Laygate area of South Shields.These flat, centrally heated, were three stories high. These flats of the future split up communities that had lived together for generations. Close families and friends were distributed between different new developments of the area.
Further research is needed, but while passing by this week, it looked like at either side of this glass passageway doors had been opened. Doors I hadn’t noticed before.
I’ve also going in for a closer look by exploring the doorways, steps and the concrete underpass/bridge under this glass passageway. This building holds my attention and curiosity and make a monotonous walk more enjoyable. The work will continue.
On the way to work each day, I pass this concrete construction. I try to just walk on by and not look, not take any images. But at certain times of the day, when the sun is just so, it illuminates this rundown place. It becomes golden. I try and capture this transformation. And even though I’m an artists on hiatus for the next few months, I can’t help but itch this creative spot, can’t help but point the iPhone and shoot.
I’m interested in how this develops over the next few months as I continue to walk by. I’m interested enough to start looking into these buildings further. There are people living here in the flats either side of this glass enclosure. But this linking section seems rundown, vandalised and why is it there if not to allow a thoroughfare? Decoration, a special design feature?
This is a little golden nugget which will keep me going during the long, tiring days of work. A little creative well upon which I can draw inspiration and energy from. Please keep checking back and see the process.
I love starting new projects. Even more so when I say to myself that I’m on hiatus from any kind of creativity. But sometimes that itch comes along that you just have to scratch.
While working full-time, on my way I pass, in my opinion, some iconic buildings; a housing estate that speaks to my soul. I have taken to photographing these blocks of flats, more so, a single glass passageway which links one block of flats to another. This glass corridor seems to be neglected, blocked off from the flats either side. Windows have been broken, chip boards are up at others. But it definitely appears to not be in use.
Until this week, when I noticed doors either side open. Had they always been open? Did I fail to notice this?
Bear with me as I attempt to find out more about these buildings, this area through further research and reading. As I said I do enjoy starting new projects. This one, I have no way of knowing where it will lead. I just know that I am enjoying the process and progress.
‘Super Flats’ continued