Greenpeace UK launches fund to back grassroots campaigners

Greenpeace UK has launched two initiatives to advocate for social, racial and environmental justice, after its latest report, published with the race equality think tank The Runnymede Trust, found that the climate emergency is rooted in colonialism.

Grassroots community groups advocating for social, racial and environmental justice will be able to apply to the Movement Support Fund for grants of up to £2,000.

The grants will be used to help organisations in their advocacy work, and can cover the costs of venue hire, equipment rentals, materials for actions, and workshops.

Applications are open to grassroots groups, activists and community organisers via the Greenpeace UK website. NGOs, political parties and government organisations are not eligible to apply.

A second initiative, The Open Workshop, which was launched in 2020, gives grassroots groups access to Greenpeace UK’s warehouse space to design, plan and build campaigns.

About 20 groups have used the warehouse so far, the charity said.

A spokesperson told Third Sector: “Campaigners have been using it as a weekly meeting space, as a space to run workshops and strategy days, banner-making, prop-making, borrowing equipment and practicing activities.”

News of both initiatives came after the release of a new report by Greenpeace UK in partnership with The Runnymede Trust.

The research found that the effects of climate change globally have a disproportionate impact on people of colour.

It said: “Black people, Indigenous Peoples and people of colour across the globe bear the brunt of an environmental emergency that, for the most part, they did not create.

“Yet their struggles have repeatedly been ignored by those in positions of power.”

The report found that people of colour living in the UK were more likely to be affected by air pollution, more likely to live close to waste incinerators and less likely to have access to green spaces than their white counterparts.

Pat Venditti, Greenpeace UK’s executive director, said in a statement: “The environmental emergency and systemic racism are two sides of the same coin – we can’t tackle one without also tackling the other.

“The treatment of entire groups of people as inferior or less deserving of a decent life is still allowing governments and industry to dump climate impacts, toxic oil pollution or plastic waste on to poorer countries in the global South.”

He added: “As a predominantly white organisation located in the global North, Greenpeace UK recognises that it still has a lot of learning to do, but we’re pulling out all the stops to make sure we get it right in future.”

Halima Begum, chief executive of The Runnymede Trust, said: “This report, by two leading organisations in their respective sectors, reminds the world of something that should be glaringly obvious: the climate crisis is also a racial crisis.”

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