Black leaders have long been pioneers in protecting communities and the environment—from Harriet Tubman, who in the mid-1800s used her knowledge of the natural world to guide escaped slaves north, to landfill protesters in Warren County, North Carolina in 1982 who galvanized the modern environmental justice movement. Yet despite these contributions to the larger green movement, black activists and scholars are not always given their due.
It’s well documented that black neighborhoods and other communities of color are disproportionately affected by a changing climate, amplifying existing disparities related to race, gender, and class. And while environmental justice advocates have been active on the grassroots level for many years, resolutions like the Green New Deal are now shining a national spotlight on the need for a more socially holistic, dare we say “woke,” approach to shaping climate policy.
Grist‘s Justice Desk reporters spoke with four leading black activists and scholars in the environmental movement about what this moment means for their communities: Read More