Why every environmentalist should be anti-racist
The BLM Movement has ignited more conversations surrounding Environmental Justice and we want to take the opportunity to spread more awareness on this issue Environmental Justice is where environmentalism and social justice meet. The common ground between our climate and our society can be unveiled when you take a closer look at how marginalized communities are affected by the adverse affects of our environment. In the next few posts, we will highlight what is known as Intersectional Environmentalism and why it is important for every environmentalist to be anti-racist.
Normou originally began as a mission to create a platform for clothing that was good for the planet; to find a solution for the waste and toxicity that clothing impedes on Earth. However, as we began to scratch the surface level of what “sustainable fashion” is and what it meant to us, we clearly saw that Normou’s mission was not just the planet... it was also about the people involved.
In a similar way, Intersectional Environmentalism takes into account both the protection of people and the planet. It connects the reasons why marginalized communities are more affected by environmental issues and helps us better understand why minority and low-income neighborhoods are statistically proven to be more exposed to toxic waste, landfills, highways, and other environmental hazards.
A quote from Leah Thomas on @thegoodtrade who was a student of Environmental Studies in California notes, “Throughout my studies, I became startled by the facts that it was indeed harder for black, brown, and low-income communities to have access to clean air, water, and natural spaces.”
A study conducted in 2016 found that there was a higher exposure to “particulate matter” in certain communities of color. Particulate matter are “microscopic particles of solid or liquid matter suspended in the air”, which once inhaled can cause health effects to the lungs and heart. In addition, “poorer air quality, fracking waste sites are also more likely to be found in neighborhoods of color, which can degrade water quality”. Want some examples?
In 1978, North Carolina allowed the Ward Transformer Company to dump 60,000 tons of chemicals known to cause birth defects, skin and liver problems, and cancer along the highway of a predominantly Black community. As the community protested against this decision, the police arrested over 500 people and even put the National Guard on duty.
In 2006, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans where the impacts were not equal. Georgiana Bostean, an assistant professor of environmental science, health and policy at Chapman University states, the worst damage was found in “predominantly Black neighborhoods, yet the relief was far slower and inadequate compared with that provided in predominantly white and higher-income neighborhoods, despite those being less impacted.”
We commit to doing our part and using our platform to speak up about these social injustices, alongside our commitment to climate issues. As stated by @greengirlleah “it is not an optional add-on to environmentalism”.
Swipe right to take the pledge on #IntersectionalEnvironmenalism to stand in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and POC communities, to use your privilege to advocate for black & brown lives, to be proactive about learning about environmental justice, to share your learnings, amplify their message, and refuse to remain silent.
To continue learning about this topic, we recommend following @greengirlleah 💚 She is a true inspiration!