2023 in view
Two years ago I was one of eight activists who set up Friends of the Cam, to protect the exceptionally rare and threatened chalk streams of the Cam and its tributaries. They are as ecologically diverse as The Amazon, and 85% of the world's chalk streams are in SE England. They are threatened by over-abstraction as reckless growth is pursued regardless of environmental consequences, and by pollution through agricultural runoff and equally reckless sewage dumping. We try to raise awareness through constructive and celebratory events, including talks and an annual celebration of the rights of the river on Midsummer's Eve.
I will be running a gender awareness workshop for those who manage stadium sports through the EU funded ACCESS project (Achieving Circularity in Cities through Environmental Sustainability of Sports) coordinated by ACR+ and Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies. We will be exploring how an attention to gender can help achieve greater sustainability.
2021/22 in review
Ran the 'Discussing Climate Justice' Workshop at El Sueno Existe Festival, Machynlleth, Wales with Paul Allen (CAT). This biennial festival celebrates the vision of the kind of world we want it live in through music, art and politics. I was pleased to do this on behalf of the Peace & Justice Project and it was great to involve Jeremy Corbyn and Laura Alvarez in the workshop.
“El Sueño Existe happens in Machynlleth, because people have the vision to bring together music, literature, poetry, dance, art and politics – and it is the vision of the kind of world we want to live in. The festival rings with the hope & the inspiration we get, not just from Victor Jara and Salvador Allende, but also from right across Latin America today.” (Jeremy Corbyn)
I'm pleased to be volunteering my environmental and gender expertise to the PJP.
Speaker - 'How ecological breakdown is gendered and the need for a feminist response' for JVL workshop: Ecological Breakdown - Responding to Injustice
Post Covid launch of 'Gender, Intersectionality and Climate Institutions in Industrialised States' edited by Gunnhildur Lily Magnusdottir and Annica Kronsell, and setting the agenda for related projects, University of Malmo. The book came out last year, with open access to the on-line version. We discussed working on material which presents ways in which all our theorising and conceptualising can be and is being put into practice. Our thinking is at an early stage, but watch this space for future developments, including publications, research and exhibition.
Discussant - 'Transforming Economies of Care' at Centre for Alternatives to Social and Economic Inequalities, Lancaster University
Speaker - 'Intersectional feminist perspectives on climate – past, present and future perspectives' for The Coordination for Gender Research at the University of Copenhagen seminar 'Climate, Intersectionality and Gender'
Speaker - 'Sex and Gender in Environmental Research' for German Federal Ministry of Education and Research
Discussant - 'New risks and old approaches, or vice versa? Interrogating gender and climate security rhetoric' for IRDR Humanitarian Summit 2021: Interrogating changing risks, UCL
Interviewed by Claudia Bruno for the Italian online journal 'In Genere' - Il clima visto da
'From the impact of disasters to kitchen design, to overcome the climate crisis we need a paradigm shift that holds gender and the environment together. We talk about it with Susan Buckingham, an expert in human geography and environmental policy in Cambridge'
I've missed not visiting different people, groups and places, but have come to appreciate the opportunities that online platforms provide, and which have enabled me to participate in some fantastic events, and to speak at some of these:
She is (Still) Sustainable,how we can support ourselves and each other to work in the sustainability field (April 2020)
Ecofeminism panel: gender, justice and planetary health, UCL Centre for Gender and Global Health (May 2020)
National Policy Forum: Defend and Develop Socialist Policies on Environment, for The COSMOS - a concept of socialist ideas, serious discussion and campaigns (June 2020)
January - I begin my expert consultancy with the World Maritime University in Malmo, Sweden - advising on women's empowerment in ocean science. 2021-2030 is the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, and the WMU are focusing on women's empowerment and gender equality as a core element of this. See Projects pages for more details.
January - True Tales for Change - a project for a fairer future
What does it feel like to be a vulnerable person in an unassailable place? 'True Tales for Change' provided a platform for artists to explore the power of people's stories - the people whose voices are not usually heard. I presented the context of exclusion in Cambridge - the most economically divided city in the UK - drawing on more conventional research. But research is never neutral: I also emphasise the importance for this kind of research to go beyond the statistics, and for researchers, artists, community activists and residents to work together in common cause to reduce inequality.
Gender & Environments Book Series
There have been two more publications in 2020 in the Routledge Studies in Gender and Environments of which I am the Series Editor. Douglas A. Vakoch's edited collection Transecology: Transgender Perspectives on Environment and Nature, and Bernadette P. Resurrección and Rebecca Elmhirst's Negotiating Gender Expertise in Environment and Development: Voices from Feminist Political Ecology.
2019 in review
I've been lucky to have been invited to speak at and chair some really interesting events, identified below, widely varied in size, international reach, and local connectivity. Through these I have met some amazing researchers, writers, and artists actively engaged in environmental and feminist action. I have managed to include some of their work in the second edition of 'Gender and Environment', which was published in July 2020.
February 2019: A Colloquiam organized by the Concert Hall of Thessaloniki in collaboration with the Nicos Poulantzas Institute (NPI) on Democracy in Crisis: the consequences of austerity in inclusion and planning politics addressed the need for feminism and social inclusion in education and planning.
November 2019: Humanitarian Congress in Berlin, co-ordinated by Medicins Sans Frontieres, Medicins du Monde, the German Red Cross, Artskammer Berlin and Greenpeace International , I was in conversation with Joy Warmington, Founder and CEO of brap following my keynote talk: CLIMATE EMERGENCY, HUMANITARIAN ACTION AND GENDER EQUALITY
September 2019: Locally in Cambridge I participated in a Roundtable on gender and climate justice, part of the Amos Trust's 'Once in a Lifetime' two day event, and in a gender and climate change panel for Cambridge University's 'Green Week'. I
April 2019: in London, I chaired a panel in Ecofutures: Queer, Feminist and Decolonial Responses to Ecological and Environmental Changes.
As Editorial Board member for the journal Local Environment, pleased to have initiated 'Translations: an occasional series' curated by Bregje Van Veelan
This feature brings non-English language key writing on sustainability and environmental justice to an English speaking audience. In our first review, the German scholar Sandra Huning reviewed Frei.Räume, a journal established as a mouthpiece for women’s concerns about urban development, and to contribute feminist perspectives on planning and architecture. The watershed issue 10 both reflects back on the achievements of feminist planners and looks forward to what feminist planning had yet to address. The second 'Translation' is written by another German, feminist architect Barbara Zibell who explains the importance of 'Verbaute Raume', Germany's first published book to address women's needs in architecture and design. Given Germany’s position as a global leader in sustainability, and its strong feminist and Green traditions, these pieces potentially have important lessons for a much wider audience.For more details see here.
2018 and before
Freud Museum, London: Intraplaces - dialogues without words
Saturday 15 September 2018: 2.00pm - 3.00pm
Further details can be found here
Artist Elena Cologni in conversation with author Susan Buckingham, whose research and publications address gender and environmental issues. The discussion will investigate how people express their attachment to place non-verbally through the adoption of a nomadic (Braidotti) and dialogic sculpture which Elena designed, based on the principles of the Margaret Lowenfeld Mosaic Box (1954). Aspects of this process were exhibited at New Hall Art Collection at Murray Edwards College of the University of Cambridge (see below), for which she developed the series ‘Intraplaces’.
The active engagement at the Freud Museum concludes a series of encounters in London’s public spaces, the implications of which are then discussed with author Susan Buckingham, whose research and publications address gender and environmental issues.
Cambridge Festival of Ideas: NOMADIC AND DIALOGIC: ART AND ECOFEMINISM
Friday 20 October, 2017: 4:00pm - 7:00pm
Murray Edwards College, New Hall Collection, Huntingdon Road, CB3 0DF
More details of the event here.
The WEN Forum/Break Free Coalition event: 'What's Gender got to do with Climate Change?'
I shared this panel with some amazing and committed women working in different ways to address the causes of climate change, and its impact on particularly the most vulnerable people in society. These were Juliet Davenport, CEO, Good Energy; Pia Hollenstein, Senior Women for Climate Protection, Switzerland; Tina Louise Rothery, The Nanas, UK Anti-Fracking Campaign; Ghalia Fayd, Programme Leader - Arab World Programme, Greenpeace Mediterranean. It was chaired by Dr Halima Began, Chair of WEN Trustees.
The link to my blog, and blogs by Ghalia Fayad and Pia Hollenstein, can be found here.