These illustrations by a young Irish artist, commissioned by Friends of the Earth Europe, are part of a project to delve into solidarity as a response to COVID-19 and climate injustice. They tell true stories of communities which have come together – resisting damaging hydro power in Bosnia, connecting people to the land and each other in Malta, giving practical help and friendship to isolated seniors in Poland, saving small-scale farmers in Spain, and bringing clean electricity to people in energy poverty in Croatia.
Animations: © Friends of the Earth Europe / Zoe Shields Illustration
How a feminist network in Spain saved small farmers during the COVID-19 crisis
When COVID-19 struck Spain, markets were closed and small farmers could not make a living.
Several female farmers got together and formed the solidarity initiative #SOSCampesinado - SOS small farmers.
They proposed a network to distribute food locally, including to hospitals, care homes and schools. 700 organisations supported their plan.
The campaign had successes throughout Spain: municipalities re-opened markets and activated local food supply chains.
#SOSCampesinado remains a strong network and a symbol of solidarity.
Stories of Solidarity: How a village in Bosnia and Herzegovina resisted plans for a devastating dam
Investors were planning to build a hydro power dam on Neretvica river– and force villagers out of their homes.
The plans threatened the local people who rely on the river for fishing and farming, and drinking water.
When works began, villagers supported by hundreds of locals, blocked the construction, not letting machines cross the bridge to the dam site.
The resistance grew stronger - and louder, thanks to a band - until the investors left, giving up on their plans for the dam.
Now, free from the threat of the dam, people are enjoying living in harmony with the river.
How crowdfunding brought light to a rural community in Croatia
In rural Croatia, many people live without full access to electricity.
A group of activists launched a crowdfunding appeal to bring clean, reliable affordable energy to one community.
They raised €14,000 for solar panels so the villagers could generate their own renewable power.
After years of darkness, people could finally properly light their homes.
Thanks to the solidarity shown, these energy independent homes are an example for the whole country.
How a nature-loving priest in Malta created a welcoming community space
Malta’s climate is getting hotter and drier. Rampant construction has destroyed green spaces.
Mark, a Franciscan monk, wanted to protect the island’s environment, AND provide a refuge for young people who were struggling to cope.
Together with some some young Maltese at risk of exclusion, Mark re-wilded fields and urban spaces.
The group created permaculture gardens, and encouraged people to connect with nature - simultaneously healing the land and people.
Now young people who were excluded are creating a more peaceful and nature-conscious Malta.
How volunteers in Poland helped isolated older people during the pandemic
Elderly and vulnerable people in Poland were left even more isolated and lonely during the pandemic.
Young people came to their aid - doing shopping, delivering medications, and walking their dogs.
The young volunteers saw that many of the elderly lived in damp, poorly heated and run-down houses.
They fundraised to be able to do renovations. They carried out repairs and modernisations.
Strong bonds were formed between the generations.