One of the problems with global environmental movements that classify their selves as “mainstream” is, that they tend to less reflect the diversity of nature and more represent everything wrong with green racism/ green prejudice.
As also an environmental studies major with a background in environmental policy and environmental law, one of the tings that stuck out to me was this caucasianizing (whitening) of environmental movements as only being something for white folk. But this assumption is clearly wrong, because nature is not all white. So we have to question, what really is the purpose of these movements related to saving the environment?
I remember doing some volunteer work for an organization called Green Peace. I was impressed by their way to bring serious issues to the forefront but I was not impressed by their systemic racism. They welcomed me with open arms as the new possible “darkie” in the office.
At the same time as wanting to learn more about incubating and operationalizing campaigns, they enlightened me on how to fold envelopes or make fundraising calls, which is very degrading by the way, asking people for money. Also, I was very shocked to learn that in their world of “Green Peace” activism, the only way of getting a message across was to get arrested and do what they call “civil disobedience”. But as a Black female also racially profiled by police and negatively impacted by contact with the system of policing, how exactly does getting arrested move me further in also my economic life?
It was the most degrading experience, and for those of us Black folk wanting to get involved in environmental movements, I would recommend attending public planning meetings and learning more about environment that way. Call your local city/ civic representative and ask them about planning projects and attending these, where you live or in areas that you are interested in learning more about.
In addition to casting us Black folk as not knowing anything about climate change, we also have to question this way to assume that authorities on relevant topics are white folk, we have to question these misrepresentations. In this day and age, we as Black folk have to question alot of things, related to even how we can get our perspectives integrated into global environmental movements, while, also talking about the economics behind these opportunities.
It’s one thing to be interested in wanting to preserve nature and the terrestrial environment, but another thing to cast people of color as having no knowledge or being uninformed about matters to related to the environment. Maybe if we delve into our own histories, and this is a message to all folk, question who has been the most destructive to nature in the course of the development or underdevelopment of human civilization.
At the end of the day, we Black folk have to ask many questions. Never hesitate, always ask away. Ask yourself, what is my purpose for getting involved in environmental movements and next steps?
My answer to that is just to start your own environmental movement.