Planting a homegrown Caribbean movement for climate justice with Derval Barzey

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Marion Atieno Osieyo: [00:00:00] Welcome to Black Earth podcast. I'm your host, Marion Atieno Osieyo. Black Earth is an interview podcast that's celebrating nature and the incredible black women leaders in the environmental movement. In today's episode, I'm joined by Derval Barzey. Derval is the creator and host of the Climate Conscious podcast, and she's also a leader and expert on the just energy transition in the Caribbean.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: In today's episode, we explore what it means to build a homegrown movement in the Caribbean that fosters sustainable development, empowers all people, and ensures meaningful progress on climate and environmental justice.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Hi, [00:01:00] Derval. Thank you so much for joining us today. Um, could you please introduce yourself to our listener community?

Derval Barzey: Hi, Marion. And thank you for having me. Thank you for inviting me to Black Earth Podcast. I am Derval Barzey. I'm from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. And I've been a sustainable development professional for the past 13 years.

Derval Barzey: Um, working primarily in the energy sector, managing environmental and social risk. I'm also the host of the Climate Conscious Podcast, which I've been hosting for the past three years now. And the Climate Conscious Podcast is where we discuss all things climate and sustainable development, but from a Caribbean perspective, [00:02:00] right?

Derval Barzey: So this has been, this passion project has been very rewarding and a very rewarding labor of love that I use to amplify the voices of persons involved in climate change work and sustainable development, especially in the global south and the Caribbean. Um, and it's a way that I learn, that I share, and that we exchange ideas and knowledge towards climate action.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Thank you so much, Derval. Um, I'm really looking forward to, um, exploring more of, like, the work you've done and we'll obviously talk about the Climate Conscious podcast because Um, my teammate Anesu and I are really big fans of your podcast. So thank you so much for creating space and amplifying the voices of, um, experts, um, in, in [00:03:00] your region.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, so Derval, how would you describe your relationship with nature?

Derval Barzey: Yeah, so nature, I think, um, I grew up surrounded by nature, but I don't think I always appreciated nature. It was just something that existed. I lived within walking distance of the beach and I loved going to the beach. Um, but I think, um, at school is where I really fell in love with the subject of geography.

Derval Barzey: And what it fuels my interest in the environment, learning about different environments, not just the ones that I have been exposed to being from an island in the Caribbean, surrounded by trees and wildlife and, you know, um, animals and fruits and all of that, it was, it was just something that existed through my studies.

Derval Barzey: [00:04:00] Through my studies, I developed a keen interest in the environment, and I recognized that it was something to be appreciated and also something to be protected.

Derval Barzey: So for me, I currently live in an urban area, but any chance I get, you know, I take the opportunity to go into nature, you know, more natural environments and just spend time just being.

Derval Barzey: And I think that we can learn a lot from nature, the way that it flows, the way that it coexists, the value that it brings and there are also some negative emotions around the environment when you learn about all the issues that need to be addressed. So it can be overwhelming, but I think generally I have developed a love and an appreciation for nature and I try to help persons make that same connection to [00:05:00] recognize that, you know, nature is not really something apart from us, that we are a part of nature.

Derval Barzey: So by protecting it, by cherishing it, you know, are basically protecting yourself.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Thank you, Derval.

Derval Barzey: Although I lived in a rural area and I was surrounded by the environment, I wasn't as aware as I am now of what the environment really means and what my interaction with it involves. And my responsibilities as well. So it was just my home and I think I lacked awareness of, um, the value that nature brought to me and therefore the responsibility that I had [00:06:00] as someone that existed or co existed with nature, if that makes sense.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Derval Barzey: So now that I have, um, now that I have moved to a urban area, I can definitely, I definitely have a new appreciation for it because I live in what I would call a concrete jungle now. And I miss my backyard. I miss waking up to the birds, you know, I miss those things that I took for granted being born in a place where it was just the norm.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Wow. Yeah, that's powerful. That's powerful.

Derval Barzey: And I also wanted to add.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: No, go ahead. Girl, don't be shy.

Derval Barzey: I also wanted to add that I, I appreciate having both an urban and a rural perspective [00:07:00] of the environment and recognizing that they are indeed two different perspectives. They both interact with nature, but differently, and they may both have a different appreciation for nature and the issues and definitely have different impacts, but they both have an impact and are impacted by nature, by the environment. Um, it's just two different perspectives from a rural, um, a rural environment versus an urban environment.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: For sure. Thank you so much. Um, thank you for sharing that Derval. Um, I'm curious to understand why you chose to, um, kind of go into the energy sector? Did you study it? Um, or was that came out of an interest that you had, um, to, to want to go into the energy industry [00:08:00] and work there?

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Because that is such a huge component when we're thinking about, uh, climate, climate change, climate justice, the futures, sustainable futures, our energy system is like, so critical to that, to that transition.

Derval Barzey: Yeah, so that's a very interesting question. Um, so growing up, many of my relatives worked in the energy sector. Um, so I have been exposed to it in that way. And also, as I mentioned, in my rural community, where I grew up, it's in close proximity to the energy industry. So it's an integral part of the community, the society and even the country of Trinidad and Tobago, its economy is based on hydrocarbons, fossil fuels, oil and gas. That's the main economic driver of our economy. So I've always been aware and [00:09:00] exposed to the energy sector.

Derval Barzey: But during my studies of environmental management, environmental and natural resource management at the University of the West Indies, um, back in 2009, I was... fortunate to be accepted into an undergraduate trainee internship at the then National Oil and Gas Company. It was then, at the time it was called Petritron.

Derval Barzey: And that really opened up my eyes to the value of what I was studying. So I was studying environmental and natural resource management and also agribusiness, um, learning about environmental issues, learning about climate change, but the internship and the real world experience allowed me the opportunity to see how my skills could be applied.

Derval Barzey: And that really I don't know. It set off something in me. [00:10:00] Um, I think when I returned to campus after that internship, I was even more passionate about my studies because I was able to connect the theory with the real world, you know, um, and environmental studies is very broad. You know, you can go into many different areas, but I found my path, I would say I found my direction where I wanted to become involved in the energy sector and help manage those environmental and also social risks.

Derval Barzey: And I know that may seem strange for somebody who is passionate about environment and climate change. But I saw, I think I saw both sides of the coin, as they might say, because energy is so integral to our daily life and also to economic and socioeconomic development of my local community, my, my [00:11:00] country.

Derval Barzey: And if we want to talk about you know, our global economies, energy is a key driver. Um, I think at the time, sustainable energy wasn't such a big, um, topic as it is now, but I can safely say that as the energy sector has evolved, my career has also evolved. So it started in core oil and gas, upstream oil and gas exploration and production, drilling for oil and gas.

Derval Barzey: And I went on a few years later to do my MBA, which focused on sustainable energy management. And then I transitioned from managing environmental risk, um, managing environmental risk from fossil fuel based operations to looking at sustainable energy policy.

Derval Barzey: How do we transition an economy that's based in fossil fuels to one that is, you know, [00:12:00] um, one that has a greater share of renewable and alternative sources, and I think that has given me, uh, a really good appreciation of what is involved in this transition that we are calling for.

Derval Barzey: I definitely agree that it is necessary that we shift if we are to achieve, you know, the global ambitions for limiting climate change '1. 5 to stay alive'. You know, we're familiar with the slogan, but what does it mean to really do that? And what does that look like? And it looks like different things for different countries, different communities.

Derval Barzey: And then that brings us to the just transition, because yes, we need to transition, but we need to be mindful of the system that has been in place, because Trinidad and Tobago has been involved in at least oil production for over 100 years. So that is a [00:13:00] longstanding, deeply entrenched sector in our society and in our communities.

Derval Barzey: What do we need to, what are the risks that we need to manage? What are the things that we need to consider as we shift from this system to the next? to one that is low carbon, sustainable. Um, what are the environmental issues? You know, we know there will be environmental benefits, but there are also social implications when, for example, large segments of our community are employed in this sector.

Derval Barzey: And if the sector shifts, then they face the loss of their livelihoods. Um, you know, and we've seen that where, uh, a refinery that was operational in Trinidad and Tobago was closed and the economic fallout was so [00:14:00] broad in terms of It's not just the direct employees, but also the friends and communities, all the businesses, people that sell food, people that provide services.

Derval Barzey: So, I'm really grateful for my broad perspective on the energy sector. Um, and being able to, you know, support, support the transition and also ensuring that that transition is one that is just.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Wow. Thank you for sharing. That's so interesting.[00:15:00]

Marion Atieno Osieyo: International policies, right, uh, set these global targets without really considering the disproportionate impacts and contributions between different countries, right? So what, what a, a country such as the UK might need to contribute in terms of the just transition looks very different for a country like Trinidad and Tobago, but I don't know what that conversation looks and feels like um, in Trinidad, because I, you know, I'm, I don't live there, so I can only look from the outside, but I'm not an insider, if that makes sense.

Derval Barzey: Yeah. Thank you for that question. I think it's an important. conversation to have. I mean, the issue of justice keeps popping up more and more, and it's important that we pay meaningful attention to it and, and, and move to address it.

Derval Barzey: [00:16:00] So in the, in the case of the just transition, it's really about as we make the shift, how do we ensure that we leave no one behind, right? How do we because we're talking about changing our economic models, um, that are based on fossil fuels, the ones that are based on low carbon sources, um, and ensuring that along with that change, you know, there's inclusivity and there's fairness.

Derval Barzey: And so that's a whole other discussion in terms of what is fairness and what is inclusivity. Um, based on the question that you have posed, I think it's important that we all recognize that, you know, there are differences in the approaches to addressing this, the issue that is at hand, and the issue at hand is climate change.

Derval Barzey: Um, and climate change is one [00:17:00] that amplifies existing inequalities. So firstly, we have to acknowledge that there are stark differences between developed nations, such as the UK, and developing countries, such as those that are found in the Caribbean.

Derval Barzey: So Trinidad and Tobago has a peculiar position in comparison to many of its neighbors in that it is a producer of oil and gas.

Derval Barzey: Most other Caribbean countries, with the exception of, but now Guyana is a very big player. Um, but most other Caribbean countries, they import their fossil fuels that drive their systems. So, you mentioned global goals, and we know the Paris Agreement has set out a target of limiting global temperature change to below 2 degrees Celsius, and specifically, preferably 1. [00:18:00] 5, and that, or in that, you know, countries are required to set their national targets, which are called NDCs, nationally determined contributions, and they identify those sectors that contribute greenhouse gases, energy, and the power sector being a main one. There's also sectors such as transport and the built environment.

Derval Barzey: So all the signatories, or most of them, have, you know, declared their commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in these various sectors. But the challenge is that countries such as the UK who have, who are in a more advanced stage of their development have been able to reap the benefits. of a fossil fuel based economy and elevate the standard of living for their citizens.

Derval Barzey: And [00:19:00] they are in a different position to countries such as maybe Guyana, who is now and now initiating the development of their hydrocarbon resources or Trinidad and Tobago, who is still a developing nation, and you're being asked to make this shift, to make this transition, which we, we acknowledge that should, it should take place, but developed nations, are in a better position economically to make this transition, to afford the technologies that are needed, that are required for shifting our energy systems, renewable energy, wind, solar, also carbon capture, uh, and storage and utilization. So there's a technology aspect.

Derval Barzey: But if we jump back a bit, And we really examine the genesis of this climate change [00:20:00] problem. We see that the developed nations, as I mentioned, you know, they were able to reap the benefits of the industrial revolution and they are disproportionately responsible for the emissions that have released or unleashed climate change.

Derval Barzey: So if you look at the source of these emissions, and then if we look at where the impacts are being felt, because it's not spread equally across the board. We see that regions such as the Caribbean are being disproportionately affected by the changes, the changes in the climate, and we're seeing that in terms of extreme weather events, the increased frequency and the um, the high, the levels of those, um, category five [00:21:00] hurricanes that are being experienced in our region.

Derval Barzey: So I know I've said a lot, but I just wanted to, um, give some insight into some of the aspects of when we talk about justice, when we talk about a just transition. We need to, um, we need to acknowledge the disparities that exist between countries, um, and acknowledge that developing countries, need support, they need financial support, because another aspect of it is that we're all so burdened with debt.

Derval Barzey: So we have, we are building with that, and at the same time, we're also expected to make investments in technology, investments in climate resilience, infrastructure, you know, and I'm speaking more generally here in terms of Caribbean islands, because this is not just Trinidad and Tobago's experience, [00:22:00] right?

Derval Barzey: So, but even further in the justice, just transition conversation, there's also the issue of within these, um, affected countries, certain populations are more vulnerable than others. And that's why you have things like gender justice popping up because in the same way that certain countries are affected differently, um, we have differences in the impacts of different genders when it comes to climate change.

Derval Barzey: You know, it's often said that climate change isn't gender neutral. So the issue of justice, the issue of climate change is so complex and very intersectional. But it's important that when we, when we are discussing climate change, when we are discussing climate action, we cannot use a broad brush. You know, it's important to understand the context.[00:23:00]

Derval Barzey: And as you pointed out, the UK context is very different from the Trinidad and Tobago context. The European context is different from the Caribbean context. And I think it's important that this is highlighted, you know, if we really are to find, um, feasible solutions, if we are to move past just global agreements, but we want implementation, we want action, and we want to have positive impact on the ground.

Derval Barzey: So I've said a lot there. I'm going to pause.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Thank you so much. Uh, that was so, um, insightful for me, um, to, to hear your perspective on the different nuances of why justice matters when we're talking about climate action and what it actually means in practice, both like between countries and also [00:24:00] within a country.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, and I feel this is why it's important for us to communicate, um, issues around, uh, climate and nature as social issues, as much as they are environmental issues, because when you really start to look at why, for example, a certain climate is changing or why a certain ecosystem is changing, it's hard to do that without understanding the context of people and how different types of people have shaped that both people living close to that environment, but also people living far from it, as we understand with climate change, um, um, the, the, the people most impacted by climate change globally, uh, are typically not the ones who have emitted the most amount of carbon or other types of emissions that are causing [00:25:00] climate to change.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: So justice is such an important part of understanding what climate action looks like going forward. Um, I wanted to, to touch on the, the gender element of it because, um, you, you've recently organized two conferences, uh, Caribbean Women for Climate Justice conference, uh, which like was amazing.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: There's, um, I'll put all the links in the show notes, uh, for the, the recordings on YouTube, but, um, it was just really amazing for me to, to like watch the, the recordings and to just learn and understand. But yeah, I wanted to hear from you firstly, how, uh, gender manifests itself when we're looking at climate change, uh, in the Caribbean [00:26:00] region. And then also to understand more about why you organize the conferences and what are some of the things that came out of, of that conference, the conferences that you, you've co organized over the past two years?

Derval Barzey: One thing I love about hosting the Climate Conscious podcast is that, is that it puts me in touch with such amazing people doing amazing work throughout the region.

Derval Barzey: And one of those persons is Christine Samaru, who's the founder of the Breadfruit Collective. So she has been a guest on the podcast. And we stay connected, um, and I, at the time when I started the podcast, I was really focused on climate action in, you know, a very broad sense, climate action, also sustainable development, um, climate action being a subset.

Derval Barzey: And then through, you know, my engagement [00:27:00] and also interaction with, um, the Bread Fruit Collective and other civil society groups throughout the region, I got involved with, um, gender equality, gender equity, and gender justice. And, you know, these are all different things, but, you know, they will fall under the umbrella of gender.

Derval Barzey: And they helped me to see the connection between gender and the environment, and I was able to relate to it, even if it wasn't from a personal experience, but from being a woman and also from my own experience, um, again, coming back to the energy sector, it's a very male dominated space and, you know, seeing the, um, challenges that women face there and then being able to intersect that with the environmental movement, you know, that was really a gift to [00:28:00] me.

Derval Barzey: So when I gained that awareness or that consciousness of the link between gender and environment. And then I also quickly, I guess, refined my focus from just solely climate action to now climate justice. And that's basically how I entered that space, you know, through wanting to learn more, through being exposed to activists and practitioners in that space, you know, I discovered a whole this whole world of climate and gender justice that was happening, you know, so I tapped into that.

Derval Barzey: And in 2022, when I was celebrating the second anniversary of the Climate Conscious Podcast, I wanted to host an event or an activity, and I partnered [00:29:00] with the Bread Fruit Collective to host the first Caribbean Women for Climate Justice conference, and it happened so organically, and it was just so beautiful in terms of tapping into both of our networks.

Derval Barzey: Um, we wanted to yeah firstly, bring awareness to the issue of climate and gender justice, and then we also wanted to build a community because we recognize that there are persons doing different things related to it throughout the region, so why not come together and maybe pool resources or collaborate to have a greater impact regionally. Um, so that was one of the key focus of the CW4CJ 2022, and we got support from Open Society Foundations, which we are so grateful for.

Derval Barzey: So we held this virtual conference where we had different panel discussions, um, on some of the [00:30:00] elements or the dimensions of climate justice and gender justice, again, from a Caribbean perspective.

Derval Barzey: And I'm always so inspired to see you know, Caribbean people sharing their expertise, sharing their knowledge, putting forward recommendations. Um, and that shows that, you know, we have the solutions. We may not be in the positions of power to effect those solutions, but there's no shortage of solutions from our own Caribbean people.

Derval Barzey: There's no shortage of indigenous knowledge that we need to tap into. And one of the things that came up in the discussions is that we're often looking outward, maybe for a savior. And we do get support from, you know, international partners and other countries, the developed world and [00:31:00] the development agencies.

Derval Barzey: But, um, I think as a community, we have to an extent accepted or have to accept that Um, we have to do the work, that no one is coming to save us and that we have to get this work done to create the sustainable future that we want. And another aspect of it that was also discussed is that we have adopted a model of development from the developed world that Doesn't serve us in our local context.

Derval Barzey: So again, it's up to us to decide what is our vision of development, what model of development would work best for the Caribbean? And that model has to support sustainability. It has to support and facilitate climate resilience, because this is our, this is [00:32:00] our current reality.

Derval Barzey: We live in a reality where we are faced with climate risk right? So, how do we achieve sustainable development? Because we're not saying that we no longer want development. We do want to move forward, but we want to do so in a way that, you know, is... That supports sustainability, that supports inclusion, that supports justice. So that looks totally different from the model that currently obtains, right?

Derval Barzey: So it's very energizing being in these spaces with women and also men that support, um, support us, you know, our allies. Um, and we not only identify the challenges because there are many, but we also put forward recommendations and a big part of it is really creating awareness, [00:33:00] um, around the issues. And then, um, and in 2023, we were able to host the conference again, and we built on the work that we started in 2022, and we connected with even more partners.

Derval Barzey: And through the conference, the first edition of the conference, we got involved with CANARI, the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute. They had formed a regional alliance that looks at climate justice and the various aspects. So together with Christine, I co- lead the gender working group. So that has, you know, it has all synced with the conference and with the movement that has been started around it, and we continue to build on it.

Derval Barzey: So this year for the conference, in addition to the panels, we also hosted two workshops. One on data because we [00:34:00] wanted to support, um, data driven advocacy. And the second one was on storytelling through photography, supporting that creative aspect because we believe that is also important as well in this work.

Derval Barzey: So it, it has been an incredible experience for me, one of learning, one of sharing and one of having impact. I think the feedback from participants has been really good, really encouraging, and many of them, you know, have expressed that they didn't always make that connection between gender and environment and gender justice.

Derval Barzey: And I mean, just to give an example of, you know, why this work is important. So we live in a region that is prone to, um, hurricanes or natural hazards, natural disasters. And so [00:35:00] disaster response and disaster risk management is very important. So we have shelters and, and, um, you know, those support services in the event that one of these, um, systems impacts a country or a community.

Derval Barzey: Even within that, we need to ensure that these systems cater to women. Right, they cater, do they cater to their reproductive needs, you know, or is it just, okay, well, we have shelters, but are these shelters equipped to meet the, you know, the special needs that, or the different needs that a woman or a man may have, you know, so these are some of the things that we encourage persons regardless of where you are involved, whether you're in the energy sector, you're in education, or even healthcare, to [00:36:00] put on the gender lens. And that gender lens, you know, would allow you to see things differently, and whatever strategies that you are trying to implement, you would now be mindful that it has to cater to different needs.

Derval Barzey: So I think that has been one of the biggest, um, outcomes of this work. I mean, the work is still ongoing. We through the climate justice alliance, we do have a collective advocacy agenda that we're hoping to implement while we're working on implementing moving into implementation. Um, so true, this alliance building, you know, we would have greater impact as opposed to just doing local work.

Derval Barzey: Me being from Trinidad and Tobago, The Breadfruit Collective is based in Guyana, but, you know, there are so many other countries that can benefit from this work. So, I think, [00:37:00] um, helping persons to apply that gender lens to whatever field or sector they're in. Especially in addition to being mindful of climate change impacts, I think that is super important.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Thank you so much, Derval. I mean, there's some things that you said there, which really resonate with me, like about, you know, the need to have different visions of development, um, because the development models that we, the most dominant development models that we have at the moment are kind of based on like unsustainable consumption.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Uh, they're based on extraction of resources. They're based on, um, invisible labor, you know, uh, [00:38:00] people somewhere in the world creating things for other people to consume. Um, we need different visions of, you know, a good life, you know, which essentially is development, you know, it's a vision of a good life, um, that's based on sustainability. That's based on harmony with earth and natural resources that earth provides, you know, that's based on relationship with other beings. Um, so it's not just like consumption, but exchange and like reciprocity. Um, and also bringing into light, uh, um, the experiences of different groups of people in a community.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: So gender lens, gender justice allows us to see, uh, the gender differences and impacts that, um, you know, we face in, in society, but especially when it comes to environmental issues and climate change.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, and my light [00:39:00] bulb moment came when I read, Um, a biography of, uh, a woman called Wangari Maathai, she was the founder of the Green Belt Movement, um, in, in Kenya and her life story and her experiences as an ecologist, you know, helping, uh, women in rural communities, um, you know, build their resilience, uh, by planting trees because industrialized farming had basically decimated like so much of their land and was causing like, um, huge environmental hazards for them.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: That learning about her work and her life story really helped me to see the connections between development, sustainability, um, earth care and, and women and women's experiences. So, um, I'm really excited to, to hear you talk about sustainability and sustainable development, because, um, [00:40:00] I think a bigger question when we're talking about climate justice and, um, ecological justice is really us trying to figure out how do we live in a different way that brings more harmony, brings more, um, uh, brings more peace, brings more balance to, to the earth, you know?

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, and I think our notions of like development and how economies are structured and, you know, how we grow our food and how we sustain, you know, how we, how we source our water, how we, uh, where we source our energy from and, and all of these things are really important questions that we ask when we're thinking about how we, how we live.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: So, um, I'm really grateful that you are creating these spaces, um, and really bringing people together, um, across the Caribbean to to define and name [00:41:00] what, uh, you know, sustainable futures, sustainable living, looks like for you, in a way that is inclusive as well, right?

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, building off of that, I actually wanted to ask you another question, which is around, what I heard you say was about wanting to, you know, during the conference, um, there was an acknowledgement or an awareness how, um, in the Caribbean, maybe you, you previously tend to look outwards for solutions, but now you're creating space to, to look inwards and create those, those visions or those, um, pathways for, for yourselves.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: So, um, it's something that's also come up in a previous conversation with, um, uh, a scientist, uh, from Uganda, um, who we interviewed in the podcast, Dr. Gladys. [00:42:00] And she was talking about, um, the need to build a homegrown, uh, conservation movement in Africa that really centers the experiences of people living in Africa that empowers them to, be the custodians and agents of change when, you know, conserving nature or addressing climate, climate injustice.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: So I'm, I'm curious to hear from you based on your experiences, and bringing together people across the Caribbean, um, acknowledging how diverse the Caribbean is. Um, I'm really curious to hear from you what a homegrown, um, climate justice movement, um, or sustainability movement really looks like in the Caribbean and, um, yeah, what, what solutions or what pathways that might take?

Derval Barzey: So I think [00:43:00] the climate and sustainability movement has developed quite organically, and I'm really happy to see that now there is a lot more collaboration going on because we recognize the way that the many issues that we face, climate and others all intersect and interconnect. It's all connected, I would say, and I think there's a greater appreciation for this.

Derval Barzey: So a good example of the increased collaboration and partnerships is where we're seeing, um, I think like gender activists getting involved in the climate space and vice versa. So you see that, that nexus of gender and climate really coming to the fore. And, [00:44:00] um, you're seeing where, you know, the, the gender movement has been in existence, much longer than the climate. Um, the climate movement, I think, in the Caribbean.

Derval Barzey: Um, and there are there are I guess, shared learnings that can be, that can be used or harnessed to move the movement forward. Um, so there are, there is lobbying going on for the many intersecting issues, and I'm seeing where persons are coming together to, um, collaborate and have a stronger voice.

Derval Barzey: Um, so there are many NGOs, uh, throughout the Caribbean and as you acknowledge, the Caribbean is a very diverse space and we're each very proud of the, the territory that we're from and our local culture. But when it comes to these [00:45:00] bigger issues such as climate and gender and biodiversity, you know, we're all basically in the same boat.

Derval Barzey: And, therefore we are stronger together. We are sure we have a stronger voice when we unite when we organize and when we, you know, take coordinated action to move things forward. So we see our leaders like our Caribbean leaders, um, on the global stage when they go to COP and, even as a collective through the regional integration process, um, so that is happening on that level.

Derval Barzey: But on the grassroots level, there is also a certain level of integration and collaboration taking place with regards to activism and advocacy. Um, I must mention that recently there was a contingent from the region that attended the Women Deliver conference in [00:46:00] Rwanda. You know, I was so, um, so happy to see the Caribbean being represented and there are persons from Jamaica, there was Ayesha and Janelle out of Jamaica, there was Christine from Guyana, and there were persons from St. Kitts. Sorry, I can't remember all of their names, but the region was represented. But even within that representation, there was a level of diversity. you know, and that is, that is important because yes, same boat, but even within that same boat, there is, there is diversity. Um, so that is just an example of what has been happening.

Derval Barzey: Um, and as I mentioned earlier, you know, through the podcasts, I have been able to connect to these different, um, change makers, these movers and shakers, you know, who have their own Organizations. Um, and another one I would mention is Helen's [00:47:00] daughter based in St. Lucia, which deals with, um, women farmers. Or FarmHers, as we would say, again, helping to empower them and build climate resilience into their work in, um, sustainable agricultural practices.

Derval Barzey: Um, so definitely, there is a lot of partnership and collaboration going on, and there, there are resources coming into the region to support this work. The fight for justice is not new, it just takes on a different look every few years, but fundamentally, we're all fighting for the same thing. So we can build on the history of activism and advocacy that exists in the region.

Derval Barzey: I also have to commend the work of CANARI, that has established this climate justice alliance, and it has really pulled together all the different [00:48:00] players, all the different civil society groups that exist throughout the Caribbean territories, and they have identified different areas that they would focus on climate justice being one of them, um, and gender as well, nature based solutions, you know, so there's a lot happening in the region, and uh, and I think through coordination, we're able to direct resources, um, to implement some of these solutions that have been developed locally, um, and also tap into that indigenous knowledge and basically try to create that feature that we want for, for the region.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Thank you. Thank you. I wasn't sure if you were going to say something so I was like holding on, but thank you so much for sharing that. That's that's [00:49:00] really rich.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: So where I live, there is a really, um, strong presence of the Caribbean diaspora, um, who've played like a massive role in civil rights for, for black people in the UK and really paved the way in terms of building and connecting, um, uh, African diaspora and Caribbean diaspora in the UK.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: So, um, I was curious to understand what role you [00:50:00] feel the, the diaspora can play in helping to build a homegrown, movement, um, for climate justice in the Caribbean, because I know so many people, at least based in the UK, are really passionate about, um, supporting people living in the Caribbean, um, in, in ways that are about helping to address the systemic challenges and systemic barriers.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: And so, yeah, I just wanted to hear your perspective on what role you think they can play.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: What's, the most effective thing they can do in helping to strengthen the homegrown movement that's already emerging for climate justice in the Caribbean?

Derval Barzey: Yeah, I'm glad you mentioned systemic change because essentially that that is what we are fighting. for or advocating for, you know, deep change, not cosmetic change. And that takes a lot. You know, to [00:51:00] challenge a system, a system that, you know, we inherited and that we seem to have an affinity for. Um, and the diaspora is very important.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: That was so polite.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Affinity is the word, or it could be bondage, depending on who you ask.

Derval Barzey: And that's so interesting because today is Emancipation Day in several Caribbean territories. Each year, you reflect on how far we've come, but you can't, you can't deny that we still have far to go. Right.

Derval Barzey: Um, and coming back to the question of the diaspora, they are super important to us. You know, we also tapped into the diaspora when we were hosting CW4CG. [00:52:00] I think that they bring a different perspective again, coming from the region and then also, you know, being out there and having that different perspective.

Derval Barzey: Um, I think that they add value in terms of, again, connecting with us and being a bridge. It could be a bridge to resources. It could be a bridge to new knowledge. It could be, it could be so many things. Um, you never know until you explore that connection. Um, so in this work, partnerships, networks, Collaboration, you know, is so important. It really makes a difference.

Derval Barzey: Um, and when we come into this space, you know, open minded and with an interest in learning from each other and seeing how best we [00:53:00] could collaborate, I think that is where the magic happens. So I always encourage persons to connect, you know, persons in the diaspora to connect with you know, persons or organizations in the region in their home country or, or organizations involved in an issue that they are passionate about and explore what that partnership or what that collaboration could look like.

Derval Barzey: And then there's also support in terms of amplifying our voices. You know, when we look at the climate discussion, it's dominated by the views of the Global North, the developed countries, right? Um, so we need your help in terms of ensuring that our voices are heard. Our local context is considered. So maybe you have a [00:54:00] platform that can spotlight, you know, what we are striving for.

Derval Barzey: So those are some of the ways that I think the diaspora could definitely support these local movements, um, different types of resources, amplifying our voices and just collaborating and, and providing support.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Thank you so much Derval. Um, that's really, really helpful. And, uh, when I heard you say, uh, you know, about connecting, amplifying, your voices, uh, collaborating.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, I was thinking a lot about your podcast because I feel it does all of that really well. I really hope more of our listeners, especially people who, um, have a cultural heritage to the Caribbean can listen to your podcast and really learn about the amazing solutions and insights, um, [00:55:00] that are coming out at the moment, um, by yourself and other people across the region.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, yeah, I mean, just a final question for you, Derval is, uh, about your podcast and how it's played a role in your work and the impact that you are hoping to make. Because from what I see and from what I hear, it's been really fruitful, but I'd love to hear as a creator, the role that it's playing in, in facilitating or building the type of world that you want to see going forward.

Derval Barzey: Yeah. So my podcasting experience has been quite rewarding. I, I jumped into it and I haven't looked back and to be honest, the podcast itself has taken on a life of its own and has its own mini community around it, which I'm very grateful for. [00:56:00] I mean, I see the podcast as a resource, um, as you know, podcast episodes have a fairly long lifespan.

Derval Barzey: So you may stumble across it months or years down the road and at any point in time, you know, you can get an idea of an issue, um, and also what is being done or can be done to address it. Um, if you're from the Global North, you gain a different perspective, you know, you broaden your outlook on how these issues are impacting different persons.

Derval Barzey: And if you're from the Global South, you can definitely relate to what is being discussed, even if not directly applicable to your personal experience. So my intention with the podcast is really to get people thinking by creating awareness and also to inspire action. You know, we need action, and action can look like so many [00:57:00] different things depending on the level.

Derval Barzey: There's action as an individual. We need action as a community, we need action, we need action from business entities, companies, corporations. We need our leaders to act. You know, and we need the global community to really, um, fulfill their commitments, right? So, as I mentioned, action can look like so many things.

Derval Barzey: Is it saying no at an individual level? Is it saying no to single use plastics? Or is it, um, as I mentioned earlier, adopting a gender lens in the work that you do? Or maybe starting a composting heap at home? Or maybe a recycling initiative at your workplace. I just want to help persons make the connections because, you know, we may not always see [00:58:00] ourselves in nature or see ourselves in the environment.

Derval Barzey: And, but when we gain that consciousness from listening to the Climate Conscious podcast, you know, we would look at things differently and we may make, I hope we would make, um, different decisions when it comes to our choices, our consumption, and also our appreciation for social and environmental issues, you know, so the important thing is that we gain awareness and that we are inspired to drive or be a part of positive change at any level, wherever our sphere of influence is.

Derval Barzey: So I hope I answered your question.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Yes, you did. Thank you so much. Thank you. How can we, how [00:59:00] can we support your work going forward, Derval?

Derval Barzey: Well, I would encourage your listeners to subscribe to the Climate Conscious podcast on wherever you get your podcasts, on Apple, Spotify, um, and leave us a review after listening to our episodes.

Derval Barzey: You can also connect with me on social media platforms. Climate Conscious is on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. And as always spread the word, share an episode with a friend, and you never know who you'd be inspiring to act.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Absolutely. Thank you so much Derval. I am extremely grateful and I learned so much from you today. So thank you for making the time to speak with us.

Derval Barzey: Thank you, Marion, for inviting me and opening your platform to me. I am really grateful to have this conversation with you and to be a part of the Black Earth podcast [01:00:00] community. So thank you so much and continue the good work, you and your team.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Thank you so much.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Thank you.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Thank you so much for joining us in today's conversation. We'd love to connect with you and hear your thoughts. We are on Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn at Black Earth Podcast.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Don't forget to share this podcast with your friends, your family, your network, your communities, and you can also subscribe to our podcast wherever you listen to your favorite podcast.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Black Earth is a proudly independent podcast, and we are on a mission to reconnect and heal humanity's relationship with nature. If you'd like to support us, we are on Patreon at Black Earth Podcast. Thank you and see [01:01:00] you in the next episode.

Creators and Guests

Marion Atieno Osieyo
Marion Atieno Osieyo
Creator and Host of Black Earth Podcast
Planting a homegrown Caribbean movement for climate justice with Derval Barzey
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