Mya-Rose Craig aka Birdgirl explains how her new book highlights the voices of indigenous people and people of colour in the run up to COP26
Words: Mya-Rose Craig
I believe that to protect the environment is to leverage the input and contribution of as many people as possible. But it is not for me to speak for others. The time has come for people to speak for themselves. The covid-19 pandemic has proved that governments are willing to act in extraordinary ways to protect the well-being of their citizens. The impending environmental crisis demands no less action.
I got the opportunity to write a book just as lockdown hit. I wanted the book to contain interviews with people that weren’t getting that platform from the mainstream media. The book – called We Have a Dream – is a call to arms, featuring interviews with young People of Colour and Indigenous Peoples from around the world, and charts their dreams for the future of the planet.
Over the lockdown period I spoke to 30 different young environmental activists of colour, especially indigenous people, most of whom come from outside the west. Listening to the life experiences of the activists in We Have a Dream was really inspiring.
The most hard-hitting thing about speaking to my interviewees was hearing how climate change is affecting them in their daily life. They have to fight for clean drinking water. They have to stand up to oil companies trying to take their land. They have been aware of these issues and have been fighting for them since they were young children. I think it’s really important, particularly with all these climate conversations happening and with COP26 in Glasgow in November, that we hear these voices.
“Indigenous people and people of colour are disproportionately affected by climate change, yet often aren’t heard in global conversations. In this book, British-Bangladeshi environmentalist and race activist ‘Birdgirl’ Mya-Rose Craig speaks to campaigners from around the world about what needs to be done.
From wildlife conservation to clean water, air pollution to plastic waste, climate justice to climate strikes, the time has come to listen to a generation of young people of colour demanding urgent change for the world they will inherit.”