Key highlights from 2021, exciting announcements for 2022 & more!
Key highlights from 2021, exciting announcements for 2022 & more!
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Newsletter 24 December 2021

Dear Friends and Supporters
It is always this time of the year that prompts us to reflect on how we have spent our time: did we achieve all that we set out to do? How did we adapt to the challenges - expected and unforeseen - presented to us? Have we equipped ourselves with the skills we need to thrive and push forward in the face of the recurring trials and trepidations caused by Covid?

While 2020 taught us about adaptation and resilience, we can safely say that 2021 has also taught us about the paramount importance of rest and rejuvenation. As a team, we looked back at 2020 to take stock of the year (see our 2020 Annual Report) and understand how it influenced our work in 2021. We hope you enjoy our stories of hope, inspiration and learning! The lessons learnt in 2020 held us in good stead this past year, and we hope to build upon this reservoir of resilience, knowledge and new connections as we step into 2022.

Best wishes 
Simran Rawat, GDF Communications Coordinator
In the spirit of replenishing our energies, deepening our connections and celebrating our collective strength, some members of the GDF team came together in the beautiful mountain landscapes of Rieti, Italy for a team retreat. It was a joy to be present in person with each other, to work on our goals and strategies and to simply share stories, songs, love and laughter. 
This year we organized the first Autumn edition of the Harvest Festival in Marrakech from 15 to 31 October 2021. A celebration of the “local”, the festival drew on worldwide traditions of honoring the harvest by highlighting the agroecology, biodiversity, culture and gastronomy performed and produced in the Marrakech-Safi region and beyond. It will be followed by the Yennayer, Spring and Autumn editions in 2022, which we are extremely excited about! Watch the trailer for the festival here.
Our documentary film, Ait Atta: Nomads of the High Atlas, created by our GDF Visual Anthropology Lead, Eda Elif Tibet and Karma Motion Co-founder and GEN member, Inanc Tekgüc, was screened at over 20 film festivals this year. It had 6 nominations and won 3 awards: the Golden Sun Award for Best Documentary Film at the 28th SUNCINE Barcelona Film Festival Catalunya, the Human Rights Award at the Oaxaca Indigenous Film Festival in Mexico and the Human Ecology Award by Green Planet films. The film documents the transhumant journey of the Benyoussef family, who belong to the Ait Atta tribe, a community we have been working with. We invite you to arrange a community screening of the film if you would like to engage in conversations around the commons. For more information, see Impact Press Kit.
In May, we organized a High Atlas Food Market in Marrakech, in collaboration with our local partner Moroccan Biodiversity & Livelihoods Association and High Atlas cooperatives to promote biodiversity-friendly local products that support community livelihoods. Find out more here
As a member of the Alliance for Mediterranean Culture and Nature, we participated in the AMNC’s annual Steering Committee meeting to discuss the work plan for 2022 and upcoming collective efforts in scaling-up a common approach beyond 2022. The AMNC also organized a three-day capacity building workshop for members of the Alliance who were interested in improving their understanding of climate change mitigation and adaptation. 
This year we bid adieu to our Communications Coordinator Marina Aman Sham, who worked with GDF for over a decade. Read Marina's reflections on her time with us here. In this moving piece, she speaks not just of her work, which has been pivotal to GDF's journey, but also of the connections created, friendships forged & impact initiated.
The Global Environments Network – in collaboration with Camille Barton (The Collective Liberation Project) and Farzana Khan (Healing Justice London) hosted a 6-day residential retreat from 17 to 22 June, exploring how embodied grief practices can support environmental advocacy and transformative justice in the UK context. 

The retreat was an opportunity to put into practice the Weaving Grief, the Body and Transformative Justice Toolkit research led by Camille, in collaboration with GEN Director, Nessie Reid. We look forward to the release of the Toolkit early next year. Watch this space for updates.

GEN also supported 8 seed projects this year, which are working towards community engagement, re-skilling and revitalisation to achieve goals of transformative ecological and social justice.

We are pleased to announce two upcoming GEN Community Exchanges in 2022, one in Morocco on High Atlas Cultural Landscapes and another in Ireland on Herbal Health Sovereignty, in partnership with The Plant Medicine School. Community Exchanges facilitate networking, peer-based learning and opportunities for collective action. Traditionally, Community Exchanges have connected leaders from specific regions who unite their skills and strengths to strategize best practices for the protection and restoration of biodiversity, lands, waters and traditional foodways. 
In 2021, GEN built upon the online events introduced in 2020 to bring more people into the GEN fold, through engaging talks and interactive workshops. With a series of In Conversation events, GEN gathered activists, academics, community practitioners, artists, writers, and researchers to hold meaningful discussions around issues of social and ecological justice and wellbeing.
GEN also focused on creating communities of care through the GEN Grove: a facilitated interactive online space for members and our wider community to meet and share meditation, poetry, read articles, project ideas and more.
Additionally, GEN started collaborating on a new media and storytelling project with some of our seed project partners, called: “Seeding Stories for Change”. This is a series of visually compelling multimedia ebooks with an aim to amplify the outstanding work of our GEN members and reach new audiences. The ebook series will be launched sequentially throughout 2022. Keep an eye on our events page for further details!  
In 2021, we also drew upon our rich tradition of research and practice by exploring and expanding on the stories and experiences held within the GEN community. We launched GEN Stories, featuring opinions, editorials, reflections, perspectives on the current planetary crisis, and its myriad solutions and antidotes, from our network of global environment experts and changemakers to our broader community and beyond.
We welcome submissions from individuals with a range of experience - newcomers, beginners, or experts. Do you have a compelling narrative to share? Get in touch
To know more about our work, please look at the GDF and GEN websites, and sign up for our newsletters. If you would like to help support the work we do, you can donate to our fundraiser to support emerging environmental leaders from around the world. You can also donate directly to GDF here or to GEN here.
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Images by Cede Prudente, Eda Elif Tibet, Ibtissam Bouseta, Inanc Tekgüc, Louisa Aarrass, Mercedes Munoz Canas and Samirah Siddiqui.
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