One Antiracist Action You Can Take Today: Be An Intersectional Environmentalist
This year’s Earth Day theme is “Invest In Our Planet.” As we celebrate Earth Day, it is essential to acknowledge the intersectionality of environmentalism and recognize the disproportionate impact of climate change, pollution, and environmental breakdown on marginalized communities. As outlined in the article below, “In a 2018 study on air quality published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers found that “non-whites had 1.28 times higher burden” and that Black residents “had 1.54 higher burden than did the overall population” of exposure to particulate matter. (Particulate matter is a combination of solid and liquid particles in the air; when these small particles are inhaled they can infiltrate your lungs and bloodstream and cause serious illness.) Previous studies have also linked the disproportionate exposure to poor air quality and racial demographics. A 2016 Environmental International study found higher exposure to particulate matter in certain communities of color. In addition to poorer air quality, fracking waste sites are also more likely to be found in neighborhoods of color, which can degrade water quality.”
To be an intersectional environmentalist, we must commit to dismantling systems of oppression that perpetuate environmental injustices. This involves actively seeking out and amplifying the voices of communities who are most affected by environmental issues and ensuring that they are included in decision-making processes.
We must also recognize the interconnectedness of social justice and environmental sustainability. We cannot address climate change without addressing the root causes of systemic oppression, such as racism, sexism, and classism. This requires us to engage in difficult conversations and challenging our own biases and privilege. It is our collective responsibility to take meaningful action to protect our planet and ensure a just and equitable future for all. Check out the links below and download the Earth Day 2023 Toolkit.