Last month the UK held it’s first ever Climate Week, which received a great deal of scrutiny due to it’s headline sponsor. A friend Jamie Burdett joked on twitter ‘This week it’s the RBS sponsored Climate Week. Next Monday sees the start of Vegetarian Week sponsored by KFC.’ But let’s leave the politics of power to one side and take a look a one of the devastating issues that climate change brings up. The plight of climate refugees, highlighted by EJF (Environmental Justice Foundation) They have a climate refugees campaign, as the way the world has changed there are actually more climate refugees now then there are political refugees. In 2008, 20 million people were displaced due to climate change, and over 150,000 died due to global warming.
The refugee issue has always been one close to my heart; comfort, security and family is something that we all need. Yet for many people just because of where they are born, they will never experience this. Imagine having to move to another country, where the weather may be totally different, where nobody speaks your language, and where because of your refugee status, people forget to treat you with the most basic of human rights. My brother, filmmaker Ashish Ghadiali, and I have been working on an idea for a creative project that works with refugees and asylum speakers in London, which we hope to put on early next year. The challenge is raising funds to do this, at a time when refugee services in the UK have been hit hard by the recent public spending cuts. I have spent some time in different refugee centres over the past six months around London, and am always shocked and inspired by how strong humans are, when they tell you their stories of how they came to be here. I am looking forward to refugee week here in London in June, which this week will be celebrating 60 years of the refugee convention.
As part of Climate Week, EJF made this special t-shirt with designer Eley Kishimoto, who was inspired by the tree of life. The t-shirt costs just £10 which is broken down as Cost of production/distribution: £4.41 Value Added Tax: £2 Donation to charity: £3.59 which is going to EJF’s work on climate refugees.
Watch this video of Lily Cole, talking about her trip to India to find see how this t-shirt was produced:
Find out more about climate refugees: