Anti-racism work at Friends of the Earth 

Find out more about anti-racism work at Friends of the Earth.

14 Jun 2023

The climate crisis is a racist crisis. Industrialised countries, the majority of which are northern white countries, make up a combined 20% of the global population but are responsible for around 80% of emissions ever emitted.

Injustice is at the root of the climate crisis, with multinational corporations and rich, white countries like the US, UK and Australia reaping the benefits of burning carbon and exploiting resources, leaving low-income communities to suffer the consequences.

Oppressive systems such as white supremacy, colonialism and the systematic dehumanisation of people of colour and Indigenous Peoples have facilitated this extractivism over the centuries and allowed for the continued destruction of the environment. Climate and environmental breakdown cannot be separated out from other struggles for equality and racial justice.

However, the climate and environmental “mainstream” movements haven’t done a good enough job of reflecting this and, while some brilliant work is happening in communities, policy-making and other spaces are not inclusive ones.

For this to change, people working in these areas must do better at actively combatting racism and being led by those on the frontlines of injustice. We are working to ensure that this approach is at the heart of everything that we do at Friends of the Earth, both internally and in our network support, partnership and campaigning work.

We understand that this will be an ongoing process that continuously takes us through a cycle of learning, accountability, action and support and we want to be as transparent as possible about every stage of this work. Below are some of the activities that we’re currently undertaking:

  • We’re designing anti-racism training for our staff and network as part of an ongoing learning journey. Anti-racism can be explained as “supporting antiracist policies, and ideas through…actions.” (Ibram X Kendi - How to Be an Antiracist). Please get in touch if you would like to find out more about this training.
  • We’re building a space for anti-racism resources to support with this work. Please get in touch if you’d like to contribute to or be involved in this work.
  • We’re building campaigns that are rooted in creating a fairer world and mitigating the effects of oppression. For example our Warm Homes campaign promotes solutions to the energy crisis that supports those on the frontlines of poverty and other social injustices and our international work focuses on solidarity with those endangered by environmental injustice.
  • We understand that in doing this work we risk causing harm, in particular to colleagues and network members of colour. If you consider yourself a person of colour and would like to access support during this time please get in touch.
  • For those who identify as white and are interested in working on how to be a good ally and how to better support those experiencing racial abuse, please get in touch to find out more.

We understand that as we do this work, we’ll get things wrong and that we’ll need to be in a continuous cycle of improvement, and that this is the nature of anti-racism work. We welcome your feedback, constructive criticism and open mindedness at every stage as well as your support. Please get in touch if you’d like to give us feedback or to discuss any of this further.