Pollinators + Climate Justice

by Dallas Cant

A wild pink rose with a soft green centre and bright green leaves/stems grows tall outside of Dallas’ apartment block. A few buds appear above the single bloomed flower.

In “Fire and Ice,” Jaque asked whether or not there is any Climate Justice of Hope? As I gaze out of my little apartment to the smoke filled skies, I find myself asking the same question, will we see Climate Justice?

As communities and reserves across Treaty One are evacuated, I recognize the privilege of simply smelling the smoke, of witnessing climate crisis from the inside of a building located in the middle of a city whose air quality, water, and power sources are continually prioritized. “This is the coolest summer of the rest of your life” has become a cynical line that my roommate and I share with each other as beads of sweat coat our skin. How does one witness, cope, act, and reflect on privileges in the midst of the climate chaos we find ourselves in?

I am continually marvelling at this moment, witnessing the diving back into ‘normal’ while all the same systems, inequalities, and oppression remain in place. The time inside that COVID has brought upon us has offered the space to dream, to imagine a radically different way of being in the world and in community. I am curious whether the broad reaching lessons of isolation, of access to tech, of a good and affordable wifi connection, will hold as we enter the 17th month of this pandemic and eventually, back into whatever life unfolds.

As many things do, my pandemic/climate crisis spirals too bring me back outside. The flowers, pollinators, and even the aphid feces covered grasses and leaves hold me at this time. While carbon pumping and wildfires rage onward, I think about the folks learning about and sharing the importance of sustainable food systems, of Indigenous food sovereignty, community gardens, and pollinator and beyond-human health. I am immensely grateful for the ways that being unable to gather has led to the digital sharing of information and knowledge. While yes, my eyes and head do hurt and feel foggy from all of the screen time, I am also hanging onto the streamed talks and panels that continue on. I hope this is an aspect of pandemic living which sticks. The interdisciplinary project, Finding Flowers, has been one of those projects which has offered so much throughout the pandemic, all digital, and all freely available. The project, led by artist and independent curator Lisa Myers, conservation scientist Dr. Sheila Colla and research associate Dana Prieto, Finding Flowers is exploring and sharing conversations and lived knowledge around intersections of native pollinator conservation and ecosystems, art, pedagogy, and ecology. I highly recommend following them on Instagram to keep in touch and watch their panel series, “MIIJIM: Food as Relations”

It has been immensely important to me to keep with and uplift the folks who are thinking through, fighting against, and dreaming/creating beyond capitalist ways of being. This work brings me back to life outside of the terrifyingly real statements like, “this is the coolest summer of your life.” And so in my quest to feel more and more alive in a time which proves difficult to do so, I wonder, who are the folks, or what projects, bring you to feelings of hope, justice, action, and life?

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