Episode 60: Climate Change and Land Rights

Jacques Kenjio and Mary Kathryn Nagle

Jacques Kenjio and Mary Kathryn Nagle

Citizens’ Climate Radio is a monthly podcast hosted by CCLer Peterson Toscano. Browse all our past episode recaps here, or listen to past episodes here, and check out the latest episode in the post below. 

As impacts of climate change affect the places where we live, conflicts and questions arise. This is what happened to Jacques Kenjio and his family in the coastal city of Douala, Cameroon. Although a tribal chief provided them with legal documentation to occupy the land, the government forced them and hundreds of others to leave without providing any compensation. This motivated Jacques to learn about social justice and to pursue higher education in the United States.

Jacques Kenjio is a Ph.D. candidate in environmental studies at Antioch University New England (AUNE) with a focus on two key areas: government-driven land dispossession and land policy reform in sub-Saharan Africa at large, and specifically in his country of birth, Cameroon. His other research interests include environmental justice and policy (especially climate change policy), multi-stakeholder participatory processes, social justice and community building.

In looking for ways to get involved in the climate movement, he stumbled upon Citizens’ Climate Lobby. At first he could not believe citizens were able to approach lawmakers and their staff directly. This type of access just does not happen in Cameroon. In addition to taking part in CCL activities in the U.S., Jacques is now active in Citizens’ Climate International in supporting CCL volunteers in French-speaking African countries. 

Jacques reveals the challenges CCLers in many African countries face in part because of the daily challenges that come from poverty, underemployment, and political instability. He also tells us the moving story of Bunyui John Njabi, a CCL volunteer who was killed because of political unrest in Cameroon. In addition to his work with CCL,  Bunyui John Njabi sang original songs about climate change and environmental justice. His song and music video “Water Time Bomb” highlights the urgent need to address water shortages and pollution. You will hear the song in this episode. 



The Art House

Mary Kathryn Nagle is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She is also a partner at Pipestem and Nagle Law, P.C., where she works to protect tribal sovereignty and the inherent right of Indian Nations to protect their women and children from domestic violence and sexual assault. She is also a successful playwright who has been using the stage to raise awareness about land sovereignty issues and the epidemic violence against women. 

From 2015 to 2019, she served as the first Executive Director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program. Nagle is an alum of the 2013 Public Theater Emerging Writers Program. Productions include Miss Lead (Amerinda, 59E59), Fairly Traceable (Native Voices at the Autry), Sovereignty (Arena Stage), Manahatta (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Return to Niobrara (Rose Theater), and Crossing Mnisose (Portland Center Stage), Sovereignty (Marin Theatre Company), and Manahatta (Yale Repertory Theatre). She has received commissions from Arena Stage, the Rose Theater (Omaha, Nebraska), Portland Center Stage, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Yale Repertory Theatre, Round House Theater, and Oregon Shakespeare Theater. 

Many thanks to CCL volunteer Melissa Giusti for introducing me to Mary Kathryn Nagle. 

You can hear standalone versions of The Art House at Artists and Climate Change.

Good News Report

Our good news story today comes from a filmmaker in the United States. “INHABITANTS: An Indigenous Perspective” brings essential stories to screens and has been well received. It premiered at the DocLands Film Festival earlier this month. 

For screening details and more info, visit inhabitantsfilm.com

If you have good news to share, email us radio @ citizensclimate.org

Dig Deeper     

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Citizens’ Climate Radio is a monthly podcast hosted by CCL volunteer Peterson Toscano.