All living things, including people, have a relationship with the environment. The dynamic between humans and the environment can be both mutually beneficial and harmful. Our actions that harm the environment, such as the emission of greenhouse gases, end up directly harming us as well, with air pollution and respiratory diseases on the rise. Environmental activism is a way of advocating for the wellbeing of both people and the environment, as well as creating social and political change.
Hello EwA and friends! It’s Lucy, back with another topic of interest that I would like to share with the community.
This month, I think it is important to discuss environmental activism. In a period of time that is charged with political and social discourse, it is necessary to look at the state of our country, and world, through an environmental lens. While the platform of environmental activism is often occupied by white people, people of color (POC) are statistically more likely to be subject to environmental injustices, due to factors such as environmental racism and socioeconomic status. POC are often targeted by large corporations and political bodies, in the form of environmental hazards such as toxic waste sites being placed in neighborhoods where people are unable to defend themselves, legally or otherwise. It is crucial that the people who have experienced environmental injustices first-hand are able to influence change. In the world of environmental activism, the victims of these injustices must have their voices amplified, as only they have the knowledge that comes from a lived experience.
This past February, the nonprofit, independent Yes Magazine published an article that highlights the work of several environmental activists of color. The article focuses on three activists, the first being Makaśa Looking Horse, a water activist in Ontario, Canada. It also discusses Elsa Mengistu, who has done work with a non-profit environmental organization called Zero Hour, as well as Mari Copeny, a young woman who has fought for solutions to the Flint water crisis. Check out these activists and their important work below!
Environmental activism is occurring globally, including in our own state of Massachusetts. The Native Land Conservancy, or NLC, is “A Native-run conservation group with a mission to preserve healthy landscapes for all living things and help restore land back to its original state whenever possible.” The NLC is led by members of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, based in Cape Cod. The organization utilizes the long-standing indigenous awareness of the land and water bodies of our state, as well as generations of experience and understanding. There are many ways to get involved with the NLC, including donating or taking part in their annual events. Read more about the NLC below.
It is crucial to have representation, in the realm of activism and beyond. This includes an online community that EwA is a member of-- iNaturalist! This month, the iNaturalist Blog shared the story of Camisha Butler, a Black naturalist from Atlanta, Georgia. Camisha shared about some of her experiences that have come from being Black in the naturalist field, as well as how she has used iNaturalist for her Plant Life Project. Check out the blog post below:
That’s all for now! See you next month.
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