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Environmentalists for Black Lives Matter: The Link Between Racial and Environmental Justice

black lives matter

In this country, people of color are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, pollution and toxic waste.

The events surrounding George Floyd’s heartbreaking death have caused us to rethink our commitment and change our mindset so that we are not simply just non-racist, but working to be anti-racist. We want to keep learning and understanding, and use our platform to help raise awareness about the connection between racial and environmental justice.

Our planet is in real trouble, air and water pollution is disproportionately impacting communities of color, and these devastating environmental injustices are all connected to the important movement for justice for Black lives. Black lives are more likely to bear the dire impacts of our warming climate, including heat waves, extreme storms and toxic pollution. They are far more likely to live in neighborhoods with high pollution levels, closer to landfills and coal-fired power plants, and in communities with airborne nitrogen oxide.

Intersectional environmentalism is an inclusive version of environmentalism that advocates for both the protection of people and the planet. It identifies the ways in which injustices happening to marginalized communities and the earth are interconnected. It brings injustices done to the most vulnerable communities, and the earth, to the forefront and does not minimize or silence social inequality.” (Leah Thomas)



Articles we’re reading:

The Climate Reality Project The Quest for Environmental Justice and the Politics of Place and Race by Dr. Robert Bullard
New York Times
Read Up on the Links Between Racism and the Environment by Somini Sengupta
The Washington Post I’m a black climate expert. Racism derails our efforts to save the planet by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson
Vogue Why Every Environmentalist Should Be Anti-Racist by Leah Thomas
The New York Times Black Environmentalists Talk About Climate and Anti-Racism by Somini Sengupta
Reuters Climate justice is racial justice by Keya Chatterjee
Sierra Club Racism is Killing the Planet by Hop Hopkins

Voices in the sustainability movement:

Leah Thomas @greengirlleah
Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson @ayanaeliza
Marie Beecham @wastefreemarie
Jhánneu @jhanneu
Isra Hirsi @israhirsi
Tania Gilles @sustainablystudious
Mikaela Loach @mikaelaloach
Addie Fisher @oldworldnew

We know we will never fully understand, but we want to do what we can to help amplify your voices. If you are a black-owned small business or voice in the sustainability movement, and would like to collaborate, please reach out to us at [email protected].

“You can’t have climate change without sacrifice zones, and you can’t have sacrifice zones without disposable people, and you can’t have disposable people without racism.” (Hop Hopkins, Sierra Club) It’s not possible to stand up for environmental justice without also standing up for racial justice.