I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I feel that it is my responsibility as a blogger in the public sphere to acknowledge the protests surrounding racism, police brutality, and associated injustices happening in the US, but also in the UK, Canada, and across the globe. How I acknowledge the recent events in a tasteful, sensitive, and informed way is the challenging part. In this post I explore the relationship of environmentalism, intersectionality, and racism.
The issues surrounding minority inequalities intersect discourses on climate change and sustainability, main topics on my blog; for example, food security, pollution-related health problems, and climate refugees. Thus, I cannot create content on environmental issues without addressing race and socio-economic inequalities. I will strive to do better on this.
As a white person of privilege, it is not my place to be a spokesperson on the black lives matter movement, but it is my responsibility to make it clear that my blog is an inclusive space. Thankfully, my readers are lovely, positive people and I’ve never had to deal with negativity on this platform. I’d like to keep this digital space as a safe one for learning, exploration, celebration, and change. I am an ally to all those who suffer from prejudice and discrimination including, but not limited to, race, sex and gender orientation, and disabilities. It is also my responsibility to educate myself on social issues, and engage with the uncomfortable — on the topics I thought I understood, but I don’t — and this includes the black lives matter movement.
As I continue to use my platform to foster a positive and informative space to talk about sustainability, I promise that as I encounter resources on climate justice, and environmental inequalities, I will share them with you.
As a start, I recommend:
- See Leah’s (greengirlleah) Instagram posts on intersectional environmentalism including (Why Every Environmentalist should be Anti-Racist), and watch her speak on Environmental Justice
- The Oxford Climate Society hosted Sunita Narain, an environmentalist from Delhi, to speak on race and class in a time of crisis. In this excellent webinar, Sunita discusses intersectionalism, the economy, and the importance of democracy for equity. Topics she discusses include race and socio-economic inequalities in dealing with the pandemic, as well as air pollution and waste management in Delhi.
- wastefreemarie created a helpful Instagram post on actionable steps to be anti-racist
- wawa_gatheru Wanjiku Gatheru has resources on environmental justice.
- permacrafters compiled an amazing list of 50 black content creators and experts on green topics including: herbalism, food justice, and sustainable fashion.
Without intending to come across as someone well-meaning, but not saying or doing the right thing, I don’t want this post be a box ticking exercise on a social movement that is at the forefront of our minds. What I have found helpful and disturbing is the way that the people I follow on social media have recommended educational resources, and POC (people of colour) and other minorities content creators, artists, authors, entrepreneurs, charitable organizations etc. to follow and support. It is helpful that this information is shared. It is disturbing that I wasn’t finding it on my own.
Many of the books, t.v. series, creators, and charities recommended this past week have been around for years, but most have not had the promotion or exposure they deserve. Encountering diversity should not be difficult, and I can’t help but feel that social media algorithms simply do not “recommend” diversity. As a personal example, I looked through my Instagram and thought “why am I not finding POC environmentalists?”, “why are all the gardening accounts I follow (internationally) created by mainly white people? How do I embrace and promote diversity balance and learn how to grow carrots?”. These are two trivial examples of a greater systemic problem.
But, ignorance is not an excuse. My approach is to take up those recommendations, watch the Netflix documentaries, read those books about institutionalized racism, however “box ticking” it might seem. I know that these resources exist now, and more crucially, why they are so important. I have a lot of learning to do.
- 13th – Netflix
- When They See Us – Netflix
- 12 Years a Slave
Please feel free to add your thoughts and recommendations in the comments, but I ask that you keep this space constructive, inclusive, and positive.