So… You want to know what to read to become a better designer, urban planner, architect and social activist, who puts inclusion at the forefront of their work? We’ve asked our DCFA Fellow Daphina Misiedjan to name her favourite must-read books related to her Fellowship, Realising Environmental Justice. For all of you city designers who want to empower yourself (and others), let these reads guide your practice of transforming cities for the better. And guess what? You can order these books with a pretty neat discount* through our local bookstore Athenaeum!

 

There is a renaissance blooming in the climate movement: leadership that is more characteristically feminine and more faithfully feminist, rooted in compassion, connection, creativity, and collaboration. While it’s clear that women and girls are vital voices and agents of change for this planet, they are too often missing from the proverbial table. More than a problem of bias, it’s a dynamic that sets us up for failure. To change everything, we need everyone.

All We Can Save illuminates the expertise and insights of dozens of diverse women leading on climate in the United States, scientists, journalists, farmers, lawyers, teachers, activists, innovators, wonks, and designers, across generations, geographies, and race, and aims to advance a more representative, nuanced, and solution-oriented public conversation on the climate crisis. These women offer a spectrum of ideas and insights for how we can rapidly, radically reshape society.

Intermixing essays with poetry and art, this book is both a balm and a guide for knowing and holding what has been done to the world, while bolstering our resolve never to give up on one another or our collective future. We must summon truth, courage, and solutions to turn away from the brink and toward life-giving possibility. Curated by two climate leaders, the book is a collection and celebration of visionaries who are leading us on a path toward all we can save.

 

No matter your age, location or skin colour, you can be an effective activist.

Devastating flooding, deforestation, extinction and starvation. These are the issues that not only threaten in the future, they are a reality. After witnessing some of these issues first-hand, Vanessa Nakate saw how the world’s biggest polluters are asleep at the wheel, ignoring the Global South where the effects of climate injustice are most fiercely felt.

Inspired by a shared vision of hope, Vanessa’s commanding political voice demands attention for the biggest issue of our time and, in this rousing manifesto for change, shows how you can join her to protect our planet now and for the future.

Vanessa realised the importance of her place in the climate movement after she, the only Black activist in an image with four white Europeans, was cropped out of a press photograph at Davos in 2020. This example illustrates how those who will see the biggest impacts of the climate crisis are repeatedly omitted from the conversation. As she explains, ‘We are on the front line, but we are not on the front page.’

Without A Bigger Picture, you’re missing the full story on climate change.

 

The world is in the midst of a storm that has shaped the history of modernity along a double fracture: on the one hand, an environmental fracture driven by a technocratic and capitalist civilisation that led to the ongoing devastation of the Earth’s ecosystems and its human and non-human communities and, on the other, a colonial fracture instilled by Western colonisation and imperialism that resulted in racial slavery and the domination of Indigenous peoples and women in particular.

In Decolonial Ecology, Malcom Ferdinand challenges this double fracture, thinking from the Caribbean world. Here, the slave ship reveals the inequalities that continue during the storm: some are shackled inside the hold and even thrown overboard at the first gusts of wind. Drawing on empirical and theoretical work in the Caribbean, Ferdinand conceptualises a decolonial ecology that holds protecting the environment together with the political struggles against (post)colonial domination, structural racism, and misogynistic practices.

Facing the storm, this book is an invitation to build a world-ship where humans and non-humans can live together on a bridge of justice and shape a common world. It will be of great interest to students and scholars in environmental humanities and Latin American and Caribbean studies, as well as anyone interested in ecology, slavery, and (de)colonisation.

 

Rainforest Warriors is a historical, ethnographic, and documentary account of a people, their threatened rainforest, and their successful attempt to harness international human rights law in their fight to protect their way of life — part of a larger story of tribal and Indigenous peoples that is unfolding all over the globe.

The Republic of Suriname, in northeastern South America, contains the highest proportion of rainforest within its national territory, and the most forest per person, of any country in the world. During the 1990s, its government began awarding extensive logging and mining concessions to multinational companies from China, Indonesia, Canada and elsewhere. Saramaka Maroons, the descendants of self-liberated African slaves who had lived in that rainforest for more than 300 years, resisted, bringing their complaints to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

In 2008, when the Inter-American Court of Human Rights delivered its landmark judgement in their favour, their efforts to protect their threatened rainforest were thrust into the international spotlight. Two leaders of the struggle to protect their way of life, Saramaka Headcaptain Wazen Eduards and Saramaka law student Hugo Jabini, were awarded the Goldman Prize for the Environment (often referred to as the environmental Nobel Prize), under the banner of ‘A New Precedent for Indigenous and Tribal Peoples’.

Anthropologist Richard Price, who has worked with Saramakas for more than forty years and who participated actively in this struggle, tells the gripping story of how Saramakas harnessed international human rights law to win control of their own piece of the Amazonian forest and guarantee their cultural survival.

 

In There’s Something In The Water, Ingrid R. G. Waldron examines the legacy of environmental racism and its health impacts in Indigenous and Black communities in Canada, using Nova Scotia as a case study, and the grassroots resistance activities by Indigenous and Black communities against the pollution and poisoning of their communities.

Using settler colonialism as the overarching theory, Waldron unpacks how environmental racism operates as a mechanism of erasure enabled by the intersecting dynamics of white supremacy, power, state-sanctioned racial violence, neoliberalism and racial capitalism in white settler societies. By and large, the environmental justice narrative in Nova Scotia fails to make race explicit, obscuring it within discussions on class, and this type of strategic inadvertence mutes the specificity of Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian experiences with racism and environmental hazards in Nova Scotia. By redefining the parameters of critique around the environmental justice narrative and movement in Nova Scotia and Canada, Waldron opens a space for a more critical dialogue on how environmental racism manifests itself within this intersectional context.

Waldron also illustrates the ways in which the effects of environmental racism are compounded by other forms of oppression to further dehumanise and harm communities already dealing with pre-existing vulnerabilities, such as long-standing social and economic inequality. Finally, Waldron documents the long history of struggle, resistance, and mobilising in Indigenous and Black communities to address environmental racism.

 

*All books can be ordered at Athenaeum Bookstore by emailing [email protected]. With code DCFA2122 you get a 10% discount on non-Dutch publications. Please mention the code when ordering your books.

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