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What can we learn from the experiences of people living on the frontlines of climate catastrophe? “There’s beautiful resistance out there,” says Colette Pichon Battle. She is a Louisiana native who began her work in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 when she and so many others lost their homes. A leading voice in climate justice and Black liberation movements, Pichon Battle founded the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP) that focused on equitable climate resilience in the Gulf South. Now she has expanded her vision into Taproot Earth, to include work in Appalachia, the global Black diaspora and geographies across the world with a focus on climate migration and Taproot’s work around Global Climate Reparations. According to a 2022 report by the International Organization for Migration, in the US, anywhere from 4.2 to 13.1 million people could become victims of floods by the year 2100. It is the reality that Pichon Battle has been alerting us to for years — climate change isn’t looming,  it’s here. With suffocating orange wildfire smoke, deadly heat waves and drenching rain; with hurricanes, floods and landslides — we have crossed what some call the change horizon. Can it also be a liberation horizon? Colette believes it can. Today’s program is devoted to her evolving understanding of how the crises of climate, migration, capitalism and over-policing are connected, and what is our work to do. Plus a commentary from Laura.

“If we choose to be our best selves in this moment, if we choose to work through fear in this moment, if we choose courage and each other, we can actually stop not just the oppression of my people, but the oppression of yours.” – Colette Pichon Battle

“What I need is white allies learning about whatever ethnicity, whatever cultural tradition they come from, and how did they live with the land and how do we put those things together? . . . Why aren’t we fighting together for the sake of this planet?” – Colette Pichon Battle


Portions of this interview are featured in our episode, “Colette Pichon Battle on Climate Justice Reparations”.