End of year update from Paul Redman, Executive Director
This year has been one of the strangest, most harrowing and soul searching in my lifetime and it is being felt on a global scale. We have been forced to watch from afar as our indigenous friends face the terrors of a global pandemic in isolation, as the US elections spluttered out a sane result and as a spotlight was finally shone on the dark side of human nature – the systemic racism, the fear of the other, that blights our collective consciousness. It has been a time for protest, protecting families, armchair activism and thinking deeply about where we put our financial resources.
The silver lining is that we are at least united, albeit in our fear of mortality and in the fragility of life. A fragility coming into sharp focus with a looming climate crisis whose impacts are felt globally. I now ask myself what happens next and how can we be a catalyst for change? Can this new found unity help us to create a world we want? Can we truly understand our fragility and build a new sustainable green economy that benefits local communities and the earth?
At If Not Us Then Who we reacted by listening to our indigenous and local community partners and hearing their needs: direct finance to support COVID-19 and fire fighting efforts; to be heard and felt, not marginalised; and to continue to build pressure to stop the destruction of communities on their collectively owned lands.
We developed a 5 day virtual event, Our Village to inspire new networks, new community focussed solutions and to understand the intersectionality between the indigenous and Black Lives Matter movements. At the event the Reverend Yearwood discussed ‘Spirituality in a Time of Crisis’ and the need to unite and work together to address climate injustice. In a moving panel on ‘What unites us?’ we heard from Astronaut Jessica Meir, Interfaith leader Audrey Kitigawa, and indigenous leader Rukka Sumbolinggi hosted by National Geographic’s Kaitlin Yarnil. Alongside we also developed a photo fundraiser (insert link) that raised $10,000 and helped to connect and inspire local indigenous and community photographers. Then we got to work commissioning and promoting local storytellers with the UN Foundation, Friends of the Earth, Imagine for a Minute, Pandemic Diaries and we re-versioned Smartphone Stories from the Global Alliance of Territorial Authorities. We found ways to connect and build networks remotely, to keep the movement inspired and their work supported. We ensured community engagement in virtual events with the UNEP Nature Hub, the Online People’s Summit and Jackson Wild and we made two new films, Oil on their Hands and Reforestation Alert.
We also used our time to strengthen our internal structure with impact reports, new board members Penny Davies and Michael McGarrell and bringing David Hernandez Palmar, an indigenous wayuu filmmaker, to help run our new mentorship program. We paused and we gathered strength, ready for the climate fight ahead.
Next year we must increase our collective effort as it is a pivotal year for the climate crisis. We look ahead to the climate talks in Glasgow in November where we need real commitments from countries to act on the crisis. We need a new green economic recovery that finances, honours and respects local and traditional communities. It is only through empowering these local climate heroes that we can transform our global reality.
This year amongst the crisis I discovered clarity, a seed of hope in what we are capable of collectively.
- Job Review with all staff, update and standardise contracts
- Diversify staff with the inclusion of more Indigenous representation
- Extensive organisational strategy discussions to build on both internal and external benchmarks and long term goals
- David Hernandez Palmar, Indigenous Wayuu filmmaker joins staff
- Balanced the budget through to June 2021
- New funders developed
- Diversify income and begin Copper based CRM process for improved engagement in fundraising network
- Impact reports produced for the Plus Petrol film, Our Village, The Photography Print sale
- Inclusion of new board members Penny Davies and Michael McGarrell. Streamline board to enable quicker decision making in english
- Candido Mezua leaves the board as part of on-going restructuring
Grants for 2020
- Ford Foundation Build Grant
- CLUA Mentorship grant
- Tenure Facility – Our Village and SPDA training with Fenamad in Peru
- UN Foundation Photography commissions
- CLUA photography Commission
- The Nature Conservancy Imagine 4 1 minute video commissions
- Friends of the Earth – Defund Deforestation film development
- Rainforest Action Network – Our Village
- Nia Tero – Our Village
- Rainforest Foundation US – Reforestation Alert short film development
- Ford Foundation Extractives grant for the Plus Petrol Case and campaign, Peru
- Climate Action Network – World We Want campaign – 37 short film production and training
- Climate Visuals research grant
- Plus Petrol film and activations – Honorable Mention at Jackson Wild Wildlife Film Festival https://ifnotusthenwho.me/films/oil-spills-amazon-pluspetrol-indigenous-communities-contaminated/
- Reforestation Alert film
- Our Village Virtual with National geographic, NASA and over 170 speakers https://ifnotusthenwho.me/measuring-our-impact/
- Climate Action Network film series featuring UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and over 30 new climate impact short films from across the globe. https://ifnotusthenwho.me/playlists/worldwewant/
- Organised a Jackson Wild, Young Filmmaker showcase and virtual event hosted by Tracey Rector, Nia Tero. https://jacksonwild.sched.com/event/eSKc/cinematic-communities-decolonizing-the-big-screen
- Organised UN Nature Hub virtual event with Andrew Revkin, Global Witness, the Global Alliance (4 leaders and 4 youth representatives), scientists Kathryn Baragwanath and Pamela McElwee, IPBES Global Assessment and actress Oona Chaplin – https://www.learningfornature.org/en/nature-for-life-hub/
- Range of commissions for local content producers (FoE Defund Deforestation, Imagine 4 a minute, UN Foundation, CLUA, Pandemic Diaries)
- Online Peoples Summit co-ordination with the Global Alliance ensuring leadership engagement and support for video production
- Smartphone content distribution from Indonesia, Colombia and Nicaragua
- Photographic and video archive made available online https://archive.ifnotusthenwho.me/
- Photographic print sale and training project raises $10,000 and inspires new photographers from the networks
- Start new 3-year CLUA funded mentorship program
- Delay implementation of Tenure Facility training in Peru due to COVID with a virtual version taking place next year.
- Delay implementation of National Geographic fund for travel to Guyana with RFUS and Amerindian People’s Association
- Climate Visuals stakeholder mapping for CLUA funded research on improving photographic impact and reach of indigenous issues.