This episode focuses on Black and African people who dedicate their creative practices and activist work to climate justice and sustainable futures. While the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) is taking place in Madrid, edna bonhomme discusses the climate crisis with Rebecca Abena Kennedy-Asante from BLACK EARTH – BIPoC Environmental & Climate Justice Kollektiv Berlin, and Antoinette Yetunde Oni, an architectural designer and artist based in Lagos, Nigeria.
The episode begins with Antoinette Yetunde Oni, a Lagos-based artist who was a 2019 fellow at ZK/U, Center for Art and Urbanistics in Berlin in cooperation with the Department for Art and Culture Berlin-Mitte, Galerie Wedding, SAVVY Contemporary Berlin, and the Arthouse Foundation Lagos. Antoinette talks about her recent exhibition, New Commons Lagos to Berlin, in Berlin at Galerie Wedding and her commitment to activating design and African sustainable practices as ways to combat the climate crisis. She also connects how extractive capitalism and colonialism are not only the underlying causes of increased flooding in Lagos but are also directly related to racism and the exclusion of BIPoC activists within climate movements in London and Berlin. To prevent the climate crisis from continuing, she discusses how people need to come before profit.
In the second part of this episode, Rebecca Abena Kennedy-Asante from BLACK EARTH – BIPoC Environmental & Climate Justice Kollektiv Berlin contextualizes the recent Fridays for Future Climate Strike in Berlin within the country the emits the most carbon pollution in Europe: Germany. In order to confront the climate crisis, she talks about the importance of understanding how this crisis itself arose, which is the story of colonialism, industrialization, and violence that has lasted over 500 years. She also links current climate justice movements with centuries of anti-colonial struggles, discussing how protecting land rights has always been about also protecting the environment, while also talking about how the BLACK EARTH collective brings Black and Indigenous as well as non-cis, trans, intra, and non-binary perspectives to the climate justice movement in Berlin.
REBECCA ABENA KENNEDY-ASANTE
Rebecca Abena Kennedy-Asante studied naturopathy, nature conservation, and ecology in Berlin and Potsdam. In addition to botany, Abeni is interested in movements that are anti-racist, queer*feminist, and ecological. Abeni is part of a Black and People of Colour group, which is reclaiming environmental and climate justice. BLACK EARTH – BIPoC Environmental & Climate Justice Kollektiv Berlin deals with sustainability, veganism, environmental, and climate justice from Black and PoC perspectives. How do the oppression of marginalized groups and the exploitation of ecosystems relate to each other? Which ecosystems and people are particularly affected by climate change? The aim is not only to question the white and cis heterodominated left-wing activist*environmental scene, but also to create a space for intersectional activism in which BIPoC feel comfortable.
BLACK EARTH – BIPoC Environmental & Climate Justice Kollektiv Berlin
RECENT ARTICLES & ACTIONS
- taz, an article by Imeh Ituen and Rebecca Abenda Kennedy-Asante (November 18, 2019): “500 Jahre Umweltrassismus: Kolonialismus und Klimakrise.”
- ak: analyse & kritik, an interview with Rebecca Abena Kennedy-Asante (October 10, 2019): “Fridays for Past, Present, and Future: Rebecca Abena Kennedy-Asante erklärt, warum die Klimakrise jetzt schon vor allem Schwarze, Indigene und Menschen of Colour trifft”
- Climate Strike (Berlin, September 20, 2019): BIPoC Environmental & Climate Justice Kollektiv Berlin and the Black Kids Block
- Mit freundlichen Grüßen Podcast, Episode 5, an interview with Imeh Ituen by Amina Azia (Supernova, September 19, 2019): “Umweltrassismus: Warum die Klimabewegung so weiß wirkt.”
ANTOINETTE YETUNDE ONI
Antoinette Yetunde Oni is a Nigerian architectural designer and artist whose work narrates fictitious futuristic landscapes and architectural interventions that explore solutions to environmental concerns such as resource degradation and desertification in differing contexts.
Her exploration of the Sahel Region and the wider West African topography began during her time as an NGO representative at the United Nations where she advocated for rural women’s land rights in Ghana and Nigeria.
In addition to her work as an artist and advocate, she worked as a designer for a Lagos-based architecture firm where she collaborated with local artisans on projects of varying scales.
Her most recent work includes a joint exhibition New Commons Lagos to Berlin where she explored the importance of culturally dynamic spaces in Berlin such as the Dong Xuan market in Lichtenberg and the positioning of diasporic communities in the current climate debate. Her medium is collaging, painting and digital print.
Antoinette holds a BA (honours) in Architecture from the Manchester School of Architecture and is currently undergoing an MSc in Architecture, Urbanism and Building Sciences at the Technische Universiteit Delft in the Netherlands.