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In partnership with The Co‑op, Co‑op News, The Co‑operative College and The Co‑operative Heritage Trust

Speaking up for the planet in the latest More Than a Shop podcast

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17th June 2020
Last updated
30th October 2020
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Climate action and climate justice are the focus of the latest More Than a Shop podcast episode. 

The climate emergency is one of the biggest issues our planet is facing, but whose voices are missing when it comes to activism and developing solutions? 

In Speaking up for our planet: turning talk into action, broadcaster Elizabeth Alker talks to Disruption Doctor, speaker and activist Samantha Moyo and Louise Marix Evans, Director of several community energy organisations, about how we can ensure that everyone’s voice is heard when creating solutions to climate change. 

You can subscribe to the podcast via, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can read a transcript of the episode on our website or listen to it here: 

Speaker and activist Samantha Moyo suggests that climate activists have a lot of work to do to make people of colour feel included. And, she points out, even more importantly, they should be leading the conversation.

“I work on presenting the need for diversity within climate issues. My take is, let’s work on climate change but also let’s look at economic and racial injustice. Because what’s happening with the climate movement is really hurting my heart. And it’s hurting a lot of people’s hearts in marginalised communities. Myself and others don’t feel like the climate movement is including us.”

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I think as people are coming up with all these demands around emissions and climate issues, we need to be putting in the infrastructure to support the people who are going to be most impacted. And I’ve not seen nor heard that anywhere.
– Samantha Moyo, climate activist

Since recording the episode back in 2019, Samantha wanted to share these additional words:

“When we truly understand that capitalism and slavery were born at the same time, that is when climate, racial and economic justice can begin to be realised. The major shifts happening in our planet are being created to restore balance – the planet has had enough and black people (the seed of mankind) have had enough.

“There must be no other agenda in the new normal than repairing the wounds of colonisation and capitalism. Black Lives Matter – thank you for reminding us that there is no greater cause than the liberation of people. As people heal so will the planet.”

This episode lands during Community Energy Fortnight 2020, which celebrates community-owned renewable energy projects. Louise Marix Evans has a wealth of experience working on such projects with a range of communities across the north of England. She says:

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Community-owned energy is fairer, it’s more inclusive. It’s also complicated but we have the skills to bring together and co‑operate on to deliver it. Ultimately, it makes me feel hopeful rather than just giving up.
– Louise Marix Evans, community energy expert

Since recording the episode, Louise added: “The COVID-19 pandemic has affected those in lower paid jobs and deprived areas the most. I hope that plans being made now by the government, local government, charities and support organisations – including those in community business and community energy – come up with schemes that really help make a big shift to a green, sustainable, fair recovery possible.”

The episode also features the tree planting organisation, Treesponsibility, based in Yorkshire. In the last 20 years, Treesponsibility has planted more than 250,000 trees with the help of volunteers from businesses, organisations and individuals from the local community. Manager Christina Hooley says: 

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We started back in 1998 to communicate the need for action on climate change. Obviously, we need to do a lot more than just plant trees, but it gets people thinking about what else they can do.
– Christina Hooley, Treesponsibility

A volunteer at the Treesponsibility site, who works at the Co-op Group, believes co-operatives have a part to play in the fight against climate change: “I think they do, definitely. [Co-operatives] bring people together to work in a un-hierarchical way, for a common goal and purpose, for the betterment of everyone.” 

More Than a Shop is a collaboration between Co‑operatives UK, The Co‑opCo‑op NewsThe Co-operative College and The Co‑operative Heritage Trust. The series is produced by Geoff Bird on behalf of Sparklab Productions.

Please note: The More Than a Shop series was recorded before the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

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