The Black Lives Matter movement is not a distraction from saving the planet. We can’t solve the climate crisis without people of color, but we could probably solve it without racists.
Whether it’s Hurricane Katrina or air pollution, storms and exposure to toxins cause much greater harm to communities of color. (Although, yes, in the longer term, climate change is coming for us all, even if you have a bunker in New Zealand.) So it follows that if we’re thinking about how to become more resilient to the impacts of climate change, we must focus on the people who are actually the most impacted. And we must understand that it is people from their own communities who are best equipped to lead them.
I simply don’t see how we win at addressing the climate crisis without elevating Black, and Indigenous, and Latinx, and Asian leaders. Because it is not merely a technical challenge we are facing. It’s not just about solar panels and electric cars. This is about how we implement solutions, how we replicate and scale them; it’s about communities and governments and corporations changing the way they do things–solving the climate crisis is about everything. So we need to find ways that everyone can be a part of this transformation.
If climate organizations fail to prioritize welcoming people of color, the movement will never grow large enough to succeed. Furthermore, people of color are significantly more concerned about climate change than white people are (49% of whites, 57% of Blacks, 69% of Latinx). That’s tens of millions of people of color in the U.S. who could be a major part of the solutions we need if unburdened by white supremacy. [Continue reading…]