Climate Justice: Reasons to Get Involved and Save the World

Our growing Ecological Justice project cultivates a network of diverse artists to tell new stories about who is affected by climate change and how ecological devastation affects migrant communities and communities of color.

Individual artists—especially people of color and feminists—have been making work about the planet for decades, and our goal is to build connections toward a larger cultural strategy.

Environmental justice activists have made a clear case that the effects of ecological destruction—from pollution to food prices to natural disasters—hit hardest for communities of color and low-income people, and yet the historically white-led environmental movement often fails to address the needs of our communities.

As an organization that works to change culture—including cultures of activism—we believe it’s time to flip this script by drawing explicit connections between displacement, migration, and environmental injustice.

Additionally, despite UN findings that climate change mitigation is possible with swift action on a global scale, action tends to be delayed by dispassionate discussion of carbon caps, special interest groups, and the sheer size of the problem.

We believe this is a failure of storytelling, and that cultural organizing rooted in diverse communities can offer a clearer picture of how to think about and respond to these challenges.

We’re working with our partners at Movement Generation, Justseeds, and the People’s Climate March to create increased opportunities for migrant artists and artists of color, by providing additional funding, training, research trips, and experiences in environmental advocacy.

CultureStrike is also building partnerships with environmental justice organizations that have often lacked the resources to invest in cultural organizing strategies.

And, of course, we’re commissioning new and daring works of art that can expand the cultural imagination and motivate people towards action.

Building on our history of reaching audiences through diverse media ranging from pop culture to fine art, we’re developing poster portfolios, comedy shows, literature, activist toolkits, and pop-up exhibitions.

Ultimately we believe that content shaped by community experiences will increase the urgency, accessibility, and impact of the pro-climate movement.

Get Involved!
Are you an artist working on issues of environmental justice, or an organization looking to develop cultural strategy? Get in touch with Gabriel so we can grow this program together!

Learn More
Check out images and reflections from our contingent at the 2014 People’s Climate March on Storify.

In The News

PRI’s The World: “When environmental activists march in New York, look for immigrants at the head of the parade”

The Counterculturalists II: Rebels + Bohemians

FEATURING: Urayoán Noel, Carolina González and Manan Ahmed

The second event in The Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s Counterculturalists series highlights some of the rebels and bohemians of color who are often erased from histories of the left and the avant-garde.

Watch a clip from American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, the new documentary film about 98-year-old Detroit-based Asian American activist legend Grace Lee Boggs.

Poet Urayoán Noel—author of In Visible Movement: Nuyorican Poetry from the Sixties to Slam—talks about avant-garde poet Pedro Pietri, the Nuyorican Movement co-founder who called himself a reverend, donned black robes and carried a large collapsible cross. (He died, he said, in the Vietnam war.) New School Professor Carolina González links together Puerto Rican labor activist Bernardo Vega and Afro-Trinidadian essayist C.L.R. James, one of the central intellectuals of post-colonial Marxism and the African diaspora.

Learn about the man Edward Said called “the shrewdest and most original anti-imperialist analyst of Asia and Africa”—Pakistani intellectual Eqbal Ahmad.

Columbia University Professor Manan Ahmed talks about this anti-nationalist scholar who was once tried for conspiracy to kidnap Henry Kissinger.

People’s Climate March

West coast members from CultureStrike traveled to Brooklyn, New York to meet with east coast staff and hundreds of artists from across the country who are doing climate change-related art work. During the week of Sept. 16th, we began working on cardboard puppets and a 24’ diameter parachute banner.

The puppets were designed in collaboration with David Solnit and photographer Roxana Marroquin. They were blown up black and white prints of Marroquin’s photographs which depicted POC members of a community garden that Marroquin works with. They were pasted on cardboard surfaces and watercolored. The point of having POC in our art is to highlight the fact that our communities have been growing food for centuries as opposed to some folks who do it because it’s a fad.

We also made corn out of cardboard as a symbol of NAFTA and how subsidized U.S. corn in Mexico pushed many to migrate north. The corn was also used in the huge butterfly banner designed by Susana Garcia. The banner, which carried the message “Climate Change Affects Us All” and its Spanish translation “El Cambio Climatico Nos Afecta A Todos,” made media rounds all over the internet, across the country and other parts of the world.

There were so many artists, students and community members helping CultureStrike that we were actually the first organization to finish everything on time.

UndocuNation Atlanta

During the art exhibit and music showcase, local and national performing acts, as well as local organizations, came together to celebrate the ways in which migrants continue to shape this country’s cultural and political landscape.

It was an important night to recognize the work that both artists and organizers have done to call attention to issues directly affecting undocumented and documented immigrants in the U.S. It is also important to highlight that the performers and audience reflected the face of migration and that this is not an issue that only affects undocumented Latinos.


An all-star band made up of Ozomatli’s Raul Pacheco, Ceci Basida (formerly with Tijuana No) and DeVotchKa’s Shawn King
Local Atlanta acts Nino Augustine and The OPE Band, Ricky Simone, Beto Cacao, Kavi Vu, The Kingsmen and DJ Venez
Event was mc’d by nationally known undocumented activists and artists Sonia Guinansaca and Soultree
Pro-migrant organizations like Freedom University, Southerners On New Ground, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, Georgia Detention Watch and more

Stepping Up Cultural Strategy: How Can Racial Justice Rise Above the Noise? (Workshop at Facing Race conference)

Most of us carry more media creation tools in our pockets than any other generation before us. But in the flood of digital information we are bombarded with each day, how we create stories that stands out and gets heard? How do we create powerful works of art and culture that can reach new audiences, ignite the public imagination and shift the debate?

Through a hands-on exercise, we’ll create something to demonstrate what we’ve learned. Join CultureStrike staff members Julio Salgado and Will Coley for this panel as part of the 2014 Facing Race conference. 

About Facing RaceFacing Race: A National Conference is presented by Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation. A unique collaborative space for racial justice movement making, Facing Race is the largest multiracial, inter-generational gathering for organizers, educators, creatives and other leaders.  

Facing Race 2014 will be held in Dallas, Texas on November 13-15, 2014. In addition to highlighting a Southern perspective for Facing Race attendees, the 2014 conference will offer the local community unprecedented access to information and resources on racial equity. Previous Facing Race National Conferences have been held in Baltimore, Berkeley, Chicago, Oakland and New York.