Book recommendation! “A bigger picture” by Ugandan climate (justice) activist Vanessa Nakate. @vanessanakate1
One morning in 2019, Vanessa Nakate took her two younger brothers (then 10 and 14 years old) and three cousins to the streets of Kampala for her first-ever climate strike. They had made placards the night before with slogans such as “nature is life”, “trees are important”, and “Thanks for the global warming”. They wanted to provoke the people and government slightly to rethink their inactivity regarding the climate emergency. “I was really scared, and my brothers and cousins were also really scared”, she says in her (audio)book. No wonder, as she knew how political protests in Uganda were violently suppressed and that women were not supposed to speak out in public. This protest marks the beginning of her fight to bring a new African voice to the climate crisis.
As she tells about the many obstacles she had to overcome and how she forcefully entered the climate justice movement – after being cropped out of a photo taken at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland – it becomes clear that this has not been an easy fight. We can’t believe that we live in a world where activists of colour are consistently left out of conversations, overlooked, ignored, silenced, and cut out of photographs, while their voices are of extreme importance. It is time to connect the dots between the cause of climate change and its consequences. Those most responsible for damaging the atmosphere suffer the lowest impacts, while those least responsible suffer the most. The fight against climate change is more than statistics and net-zero targets; it’s about how people and their livelihoods are impacted right now. People and the planet need to be centred at the heart of every decision. This is why voices from people on the front line of the climate emergency need to be heard.
A truly inspirational book!