Activists, journalists, politicians and voters must transcend the cultural, racial and political differences to work together
“You’re a black tree hugger, interesting.” When I told my grandparents that I was moving back to Detroit to work as an environmental justice organizer for the Sierra Club they chuckled and called me a tree hugger. This quip was understandable, their interactions with the environmental movement were not particularly positive; they contended that, in their time, most environmentalists cared more about protecting remote habitats than protecting their black neighbors from discrimination and violence.
Today, to fight our climate crisis effectively, we have to transcend cultural, racial and political differences and build a broader coalition of engaged citizens. We have to engage all citizens, some who may not care about conservation but certainly care about the safety of their drinking water, the cleanliness of their air and the safety of their homes. This requires all of us, from journalists and politicians to activists and voters, to engage with communities in a culturally competent manner. We must bring to the table an understanding that we don’t have to agree on every political issue to work together towards building a better future for all of us.
Our communities do care about climate’s role in driving natural disasters, we yearn for having a livable future for generations to come