Climate collapse is disproportionately affecting low-income communities, people of colour, and countries in the global south. Those who play the most minor role in producing the crisis are often the most vulnerable to its effects. The destruction of habitats, farmlands and livelihoods leads to forced migration, meaning that increasingly, asylum justice is climate justice. By sharing their diverse experiences of climate collapse, farmers, land workers, migrants and indigenous people are raising awareness of the need for radical action, localised ideas and solidarity. For some during the pandemic, nature and the environment have been sources of comfort and respite. Yet for many, this has been where the multiple crises of late capitalism have been most visible.
“We have been a part of this Earth for eons and eons.
Bear in mind though that we have not inherited this Earth from our ancestors but borrowed it from our descendants to whom we are deeply indebted.
High mountains, fields and plains of this Earth, its rivers through which flows the elixir of life, all sing the song of life.
The cooling shade of its trees, which also bear flowers and fruits and shower them on us, have nurtured us.
Who knows how long have these trees lived on Earth? Who knows how many generations of people have been raised on this Earth?
For eons and eons, people have received a constant stream of pure love from Earth.
Let’s not forget that we will need to return the Earth to those from whom we have borrowed it.
We must remember that this not a gift from our forefathers, nor is it a luxury to be revelled in.”
06: Film sent to Mahmoud, an asylum seeker living in Germany, by his family in Niger, which documents the desertification of the landscape and the struggle to regreen it through tree planting.
Be like water...
The surface of water supports the heaviest loads,
And contains the most precious things within it.
And if it falls on dead ground, it will revive it.
And if a rock gets in its way, it runs around it.
Water is not affected by appearances,
Whether served in golden cups or cups of clay,
It makes no difference;
Water remains water.
Soyez comme de l'eau...
Elle supporte les charges les plus lourdes sur sa surface
Et elle contient les choses les plus précieuses à l'intérieur.
Et si elle atterrit sur une terre morte, elle la fera revivre.
Et si un rocher l'intercepter, elle se rôde autour de lui
Elle n'est pas affecté par les apparences
Quoiqu 'elle est servi dans des verres en or
Ou dans des verres en argile, ça ne changera pas.
Ça restera de l'eau
07: Be Like Water,
a poem by Dino, an undocumented man from Algeria living in the Netherlands.
08: Images from a refugee who has been living in Wales for almost three years. They are very active in helping their peers, by distributing food, delivering hot meals and befriending isolated people. During their trips they take time to photograph plants and flowers around them.
Some people look like gold, whereas others, in your eyes, are only worth as much as a piece of wood. But there comes a time, when you are close to drowning in the ocean of the trials of life, when you realise that piece of wood, which you instinctively cling to, is more useful and more precious than all the gold, which would only sink you further.
Certaines personnes te paraissent comme de l'or, tandis que d'autres ne valent, à tes yeux pas plus qu' un morceau de bois. Mais il arrive un moment ou, près de te noyer dans l'océan des épreuves dela vie, tu t'aperçois que le morceau de bois, auquel tu t'accroches instinctivement, et plus utile et plus précieux que tout l'or qui ne servait qu'à te couler d'avantage.
09: Reflection on Gold and Wood, a poem by Dino, an undocumented man from Algeria living in the Netherlands.
10: A Kalimba, which was a gift from a sister to help ease isolation, being played at the beach.
13: Interview with Armando, who is part of the Down to Earth in Swansea project which gives asylum seekers and refugees the opportunity to learn skills while building ecological houses.
12: Project working with analogue film and asylum seeking communities in Wales, coordinated by Tudor Etchells. The project seeks to show the lived experience of asylum seekers from their perspective during lockdown and the beauty we can all see in the mundane.
14: Designer Nylah Mak worked with school children in Swansea to make seed paper, using coriander seeds, and cyanotypes using flowers and plants collected from the park.
15: Project working with analogue film and asylum seeking communities in Wales, coordinated by Tudor Etchells. The project seeks to show the lived experience of asylum seekers from their perspective during lockdown and the beauty we can all see in the mundane.
16: A young refugee in the Oruchinga Refugee Camp in Uganda talks about how Covid-19 has impacted his life, and how he and his brother have turned to fishing in order to eat.