Zebra Collective Commitment to
The escalating climate and ecological emergency poses the single biggest existential threat to all forms of life on the planet, including homo sapiens.
The catastrophic impact of irreversible climate change, caused by human overexploitation of the earth’s resources and excessive “western” world consumption, is damaging and depleting the earth’s ecosystems and biodiversity at an unprecedented rate.
The devastating effects of ecological and climate breakdown are the consequences of unequal colonial, economic and social power relations; and the impact is experienced disproportionately, and acutely, by those peoples and communities worldwide who are the most marginalised, economically disadvantaged, and who hold the least power to protect themselves; and who also are the least responsible for global heating.
As we enter this definitive decade for climate action, what are our best hopes?
Zebra’s best hopes are for the realisation of climate justice.
What difference will the realisation of climate justice make?
The climate emergency is the biggest social justice issue of our time and global social inequality is a key driver for climate change – caused by structural inequalities of access to resources, decision-making powers, capacity for mitigation and adaptation, and human rights protections. The global privileged rich enjoy significantly greater access to all of these – especially at the intersections of race, ethnicity, disability, gender, age and class.
The first of the Zebra Collective’s Objects, as stated in our Articles of Association, is the pursuit of social justice, and we are actively committed to making equality, inclusion, the fair distribution of power, privilege, resources and environmental sustainability integral to and explicit in our work.
We believe that climate stability can only be established with a global social and ecological justice approach, pursuing fairer, more equitable societies, which in turn will ensure a sustainable and liveable future for the planet.
In the face of the gravity and urgency of the climate emergency, and although time is running out, Zebra recognises the 2020s offer us a narrow but vital opportunity to practice radical hope as an antidote to despair – together as a worker cooperative and collectively with others by continuing to build on what works and exploring, supporting and delivering new forms of climate action and activism. We intend to use these possibilities to our utmost.
If we wake up tomorrow and are practicing radical hope what will we and others notice?
We will be further reducing our consumption and the Zebra ecological footprint, having reviewed our Sustainable Social Justice Policy:
- travel – we’ll walk, cycle or use public transport for every journey we make, using only venues accessible in this way
- our purchasing of supplies and food – Fairtrade, locally sourced, organic, plant-based, sustainable, avoiding all waste, and in all other respects ethical
- our energy use – conserving our energy use to a minimum
- our working to Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle principles and ensuring minimum waste
We will be utilising these examples to promote ecologically sustainable living and co-operative principles and values e.g. the fairness of the worker cooperative model to inspire and encourage others to make similar choices.
We will be offering a sustainable travel discount on our open courses
We will be initiating and holding individual conversations about the climate crisis, creating opportunities for people to share their concerns and envision their preferred futures.
Whilst we will be continuing to pursue and develop these individualised actions, we also note the fallacy of the neoliberal doctrine of individual responsibility. As Naomi Klein underlines:
The hard truth is that the answer to the question “What can I, as an individual, do to stop climate change?” is: nothing. You can’t do anything. In fact, the very idea that we, as atomized individuals, even lots of atomized individuals, could play a significant part in stabilizing the planet’s climate system or changing the global economy is objectively nuts. We can only meet this tremendous challenge together, as part of a massive and organized global movement. [On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal, 2019: 71]
So, we will be “collectivising”, exploring how we can bring people together to increase climate and ecological justice awareness and climate justice activism by:
- actively drawing attention in all our training and events to the extent of the climate and ecological emergency, the need for collective action to lobby for urgent and equitable governmental and corporate action and whole, transformative system change
- supporting communities and local networks with our facilitation, solution-focused practice and community development, and Hilary Cottam’s Radical Help ideas to ignite, connect, and bring people to act together, and by harnessing the collective imagination, to develop their preferred futures and solutions and collaborate in creating sustainable community approaches
- joining with and supporting radical national and international people power movements such as Extinction Rebellion and the Global Climate Strikes to collectively challenge government and corporate inaction and press for committed action to reduce CO2 emissions to net zero
- joining forces with other social and environmental justice causes to raise awareness and advocate for climate and ecological justice and, for example, campaigning for a green new deal
- collaborating as part of the Solution-focused Collective to develop and test out solution-focused collective approaches to building collective vision and promoting social change and public action in the pursuit of climate justice
- standing in solidarity with marginalised groups and promoting inclusion and challenging elitism and privilege: for example, within climate activist movements; ensuring marginalised groups most impacted by climate change get to set the climate action agenda for their communities and pursue a just transition to the net zero economy; and supporting those precluded by inequality of income from making eco-friendly choices of consumption and adequately protecting themselves from adverse climate impacts