The podcast focusing on the connection between human rights and environmental issues.
The Threat of Eviction - Protecting the rights of those living on the road with Juliet Murray
In this episode of the EarthRights podcast, Mel is joined by fellow vehicle dweller, Juliet Murray, to discuss life on the road, fighting against eviction and protecting the rights of vehicle dwellers within the wider Gypsy, Roma, Travller community.
***Juliet and Mel recorded this a few weeks ago, the Community with Mel representing has since gone to court, but it was adjourned for want of trial papers from the Council... They will be heading to court again on Thursday 7th July***
For some context, Mel has been converting and living in a van for the past year. She joined a vehicle dwelling community at Greenbank View in Easton, Bristol, over winter and there she met Juliet, a youth worker and environmental activist.
On April 5th, the Greenbank community were paid an uncomfortable visit by Bristol City Council pacing notices on their vehicles directing them to leave, under s.77 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act (CJPOA) within a week. The reasoning behind this direction to leave was extremely vague.
Threatened, confused, and alarmed bythe possibility of eviction, the community convened in a caravan and discussed what to do.
The group decided primarily they wanted to remain together to maintain support and ensure no one would be rendered unsafe. Mel, thanks to her experience in the legal world, decided to research and understand how the law may negatively impact the group; and conversely, how to use the legal system to invoke positive change for the group and aim to set precedent for the wider GRT community.
With legal backing, the group has since been in the process of opposing the Council. Mel, Juliet and their friends believe it is important to use their energy and skills to help the wider GRT community, which faces systemic discrimination and now also faces criminalisation for their way of life under the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 (PCSC Act).
This roadside conversation between Juliet and Mel therefore presents their experiences interacting with the council, the cyclical nature of the enforcement proceedings, limitations of the law, and how to stay energised and stand their ground.
Mel will be following up this episode with resources, information and contacts for vehicle dwellers, GRT and NFA (no fixed abode) communities facing eviction and insufficient support from local councils...
In the meantime, here are a few links:
- Friends, Families and Travellers
- Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 (PCSC Act)
- Guide to PCSC Act for GRT, New Travellers and Vehicle Dwellers
Any questions or queries, please forward to Mel: email@example.com
Scarring the Earth - Other Sides of the War in Ukraine with Kate Liashchenko & Anastasia Laznya
In this episode of the EarthRights podcast, Pippa is joined by Kate Liashchenko and Anastasia Laznya for a follow up conversation about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Expanding on the conversation EarthRights had with Kate in Feburary just days before the Russian invasion, Anastasiya, a Ukranian ecologist/marine biologist, discusses further issues that relate directly to the issues of human rights and the environment, such as the impact of the war on global energy production, food scarcity and environmental degradation.
Gas prices and food security
The war in Ukraine means "not only new food is in danger, but Ukrainian stocks of food are being deliberately targeted, mills and places where the food is stored are being targeted... Ukraine keeps around 3 years worth of food stored." (Anastasiya)
Regarding fossil fuels, "war is very bad for the environment, just without even looking at the impacts on the ground but the fuel and energy used to power all the heavy machinery, you can't even begin to think about it." (Anastasiya)
Other sides of the war in Ukraine
"What we overlook is how many sides war has = we think of two sides, two armies, tanks... but there are other sides, human suffering in different ways, how people will run out of food completely, air quality will diminish and focusing on environmental impacts helps us to stay calm in the face of the horrors published on the news." (Kate)
Igniting Conflict: Ukraine v Russia with Kate Liashchenko
A timely and critical conversation with EarthRights' Ukrainian friend, Kate Liashchenko, as today Putin has officially invaded Ukraine, unprovoked.
It is sending shivers down the spine. To get a clearer picture on the ongoing conflict and tense relationship between Ukraine and Russia, listen to Kate, Pippa and Mel's discussion on this tense and emotional situation on the EarthRights podcast.
In the episode, they confront the recent history between the two nations, since the fall of the Soviet Union, highlighting how the invasion of Crimea in 2014 and the ongoing troubles in the coal rich basin of Donbass are still rearing their ugly heads against Ukraine.
But, whereas in 2014 Ukrainians were less decided on the political future of their country, now there is consensus in aligning with Europe, NATO and the West. Undoubtedly this shift has unsettled Putin who has decided to invade Ukraine.
Moreover, and very importantly, the gas pipeline that runs from Russia, through Ukraine, and supplies European nations with energy, is also causing hideous controversy. The money Russia earns from supplying European nations with gas is in turn funds Putin's army and war with Ukraine. It appears that coal and gas, fossil fuel generators, continue to jeopardize human rights: Ukrainian's right to self-determination and their right to life.
Throughout the episode Kate reflects on her personal concerns with the rising tensions for her family and friends living in Ukraine, whilst she watches from afar in Lisbon, Portugal.
To support people in Ukraine, take a look at these links:
Perspectives in Taiwan with Ray Chang
The EarthRights podcast is back with new music and an insightful conversation with Ray Chang about living in Taiwan under the threat of Chinese invasion. Ray is a recent Taiwanese graduate in political science, who we met in Prague awed by his break-dancing moves.
Today's episode begins with a historical account of the relationship between Taiwan, China and the South China Sea. Tensions revolve around disputes over land and territory.
The first known settlers in Taiwan were Austronesian tribal people, who are thought to have come from modern day southern China. Since AD239, when the then Chinese Emperor sent an expeditionary force to explore the area, Beijing has sought to maintain territorial claim over Taiwan, even until today.
Whilst relations between China and Taiwan started improving in the 1980s after a process of democratisation had begun discussions with China about Taiwanese autonomy if it accepted reunification. Taiwan rejected this proposal and throughout the 1990s and 2000s it continued its pursuit of independence from China. Beijing disliked this, and their relationship soured again.
According to Ray, the bitter relationship means that Taiwanese people live in fear of imminent invasion. He is concerned because, despite mandatory military service, he and other young men do not feel at all prepared if invasion were to take place.
The U.S.A. has also pledged to support Taiwan and supply them with defensive weapons and has stressed any attack by China would cause "grave concern". Whilst Ray is very open-minded about U.S. support, Pippa and Mel question whether the U.S.A. would really step up in face of international conflict? And, what is the U.S. real motive in supporting Taiwan against China?
Over the last few years, China has continued to infiltrate its power in Taiwan and Hong Kong, creating uprisings, protests and concern for people like Ray. Please tune in and hear Ray's personal story about living and growing up in Taiwan, under the threat of China.
You're not crazy, the world is: Our end of year chat.
Pippa and Mel reflect on their year of podcasting with EarthRights, their current concerns in terms of politics and the media, their jobs, COP26 and their personal favourite moments.
Fleeing, not only from persecution with Alphonsine Kabagabo
EarthRights is in conversation with Alphonsine Kabagabo, Director of Women for Refugee Women, about the difficulties in seeking asylum and being a refugee.
We are focusing on women and other systemically disadvantaged groups, such as children and LGBTQ+ groups. This is so important as we must give a voice to the most vulnerable.
We discuss why people flee their homes. Women may flee, not only from persecution but from gender based violence in private and public domains. Women are also being forced to flee increasingly from environmental devastation destroying homes, food and water supplies, and causing economic breakdown. Sometimes these situations mean women are forced into arranged marriages, are trafficked for sex, or put in other extremely vulnerable situations.
The connection between the climate crisis and the way this leads to the disproportionate abuse of human rights could not be more prevalent among refugees and asylum seekers.
Alphonsine reflects on her personal journey as a woman fleeing the Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi nearly 28 years ago, with her two babies. She tells us her experience "was not very bad compared to others" and she got out within a week and passed safety to Belgium. The safety and support she received has made her dedicated and determined to offer the same support to other refugees and asylum seekers where she lives now, in the UK.
We also look at the UK Nationality and Borders Bill and the way that it will unfairly impact women and marginalised groups. In particular, women fleeing gender based violence will have to provide proof of their experiences on arrival to the UK before having a chance to receive support for their trauma. Furthermore, people will be required to prove a safe passage to the UK organised by a government - many do not have this option, meaning they would be prevented from seeking asylum. There are many other concerns over this bill discussed in this Women for Refugee Women article.
I love the episode with Miles, he is very knowledgable about the area and really got my intellectual juices flowing