It’s not enough to be an environmentalist. We must be anti-racist environmentalists.

Why intersectional environmentalism is crucial in the effort to save the planet


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To be In Solidarity is to be in unity with your feelings AND actions for a common interest. We all want to be seen, heard, and respected. Those common generousities have not always been extended to black people, natives, or queer folks. Right now, Black people need the solidarity of every single person reading this caption and beyond. It’s time for us to come together for the greater good. Liberate one in order to liberate all. I’m so excited about this design because for the past year @teresabaker11 @kulacloth and I have been conspiring to create a fundraiser for good. It felt like the right time to bring this to life. With the sales of this Kula cloth we will attempt to raise over $20k to be distributed to a few non profits in the outdoors that are working hard to change the narrative of what it means to be a minority or underrepresented in the outdoors. More information on the organizations and the product release date soon. Thank you @teresabaker11 for always being a catalyst for good and thank you @kulacloth team for giving your resources and platform. For now feel free to share this Image (tag is for cred) to start conversations in your community or to make someone smile! #insolidarity #weareinthistogether #blacklivesmatter #icantbreathe #cometogether #speakup #naturelover #blackwithplants #blackartist #blackgirlmagic #fundraiser #diversifyoutdoors

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“In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be antiracist.” says Angela Davis


“You cannot be anti-racist and not be an environmentalist. You cannot be an environmentalist without being anti-racist” says Nicole Anasis.


Regardless of whether climate change was happening or not, dismantling racist and oppressive social structures is something we should all care about, something we all need to prioritise. For white privileged people like myself, it shouldn’t take the pointing out of how addressing racial inequalities is the only true way to start fixing our planet, because that implies that we only care about undoing racism when it affects us personally.

Everyone should care about racial inequality because it is unjust, unfair and oppressive. Those are the reasons we need to work to undo systems that put Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) at a disadvantage. We must educate, donate, support, protect, respect, and be active.



Ayana Elizabeth Johnson recently published an article on the subject of how ‘racism derails our efforts to save the planet’, where she pointed out that although “black Americans are disproportionately more likely than whites to be concerned about — and affected by — the climate crisis”, the fact that they are still fighting for their basic human rights leaves little time for full focus on environmental activism.

Structural racism, mass incarceration and state violence mean that campaigning for social justice comes at the top of the list for many black Americans who might otherwise be focusing their energies on the climate struggle:

“consider the discoveries not made, the books not written, the ecosystems not protected, the art not created, the gardens not tended.” says Ayana.

But it is not only lack of time to organise campaigns that make environmental problems difficult for people of colour, the effects of climate change are disproportionately concentrated in places where people of colour reside. This is no coincidence.


Nicole Anasis, who studies Environmental Geoscience and Environmental Studies at the University of Toronto recently delivered a TED-style talk, where she explained how marginalised communities are most likely to move into undesirable locations due to lower property value. Undesirable locations may be close to nuclear power plants, landfill sites, or in places not intentionally created for residents.

In those places residents experience a poorer quality of life – lack of public transport access means that people have to drive to and from where they live, they can’t easily walk or cycle around, and in many cases there is no local shop which means driving is necessary. As such, health is compromised as life may be more sedentary, as well as the danger of poor air quality that is common in these places.

As well as this, pipelines built on indigenous reserves damage communities there, lowering qualities of life and endangering homes. Conservation efforts from the United Nations’ program REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation) “essentially pays developing countries to reforest their forests”, which may have positive ecological impacts, but is hugely unfair on the communities who take that burden, despite being the problem’s antithesis in the first place.

If all lives were considered equal, we wouldn’t have an outsourcing of climate change solutions to developing countries, and have them be responsible for fixing climate change”

“If all lives were considered equal, we wouldn’t be so nonchalant about climate change.

Nicole Anasis


In her article ‘Intersectional Environmentalism: Why Environmental Justice Is Essential For A Sustainable Future‘, Leah Thomas points out that “when striving to become better environmentalists, it’s also important to consider what communities are more likely to be exposed to the ramifications of climate change the fastest.”



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Social justice cannot wait. It is not an optional “add-on” to environmentalism. It is unfair to opt in and out of caring about racial injustices when many of us cannot. These injustices are happening to our parents, our children, our family and our friends. I’m calling on the environmentalist community to stand in solidarity with the black lives matter movement and with Black, Indigenous + POC communities impacted daily by both social and environmental injustice. Please swipe to learn more about intersectional environmentalism and take the pledge. Here is a list of some of my favorite accounts I follow that raise awareness for intersectional environmentalism, please tag more in the comments!: @mikaelaloach @toritsui_ @jamie_s_margolin @queerbrownvegan @diandramarizet @wildginaa @aditimayer @naturechola @nativein_la @amaze_me_grace @she_colorsnature @switchbackshawty @bleavitt8 @badgal_brooky @teresabaker11 @ImKevinJPatel @Xiyebeara @lainetew @sophiakianni @xiuhtezcatl

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“Globally poorer nations, that don’t have the infrastructure in place to protect themselves against natural disasters, are often the worst hit by climate change’s disastrous effects” say Ethical Unicorn in ‘Intersectionality Is Important For Environmental Activism Too’. Many countries closer to the equator also happen to be ‘developing’ countries, so when the global temperature increases, those countries are inevitably more affected.

Natural disasters statistically affect countries who are poorer more than others, and often they do not have the money or resources to mitigate those impacts. Changing weather patterns affects rainfall, thus endangering water supplies in places like Africa, for example.



How to Help

As well as donating, educating yourself and others, and talking about the subject of racism, Nicole offers another option for how we can combat the severe effects of climate change on marginalised communities.

Where possible, living a more sustainable lifestyle lessens the damage of climate change by voluntarily negating to contribute to damaging systems.

It is of course important to recognise that sustainable living can also be a privilege for some – organic, local food is often more expensive, as well as sustainable clothing brands, living in nature and being able to eat from a garden or farm.

However, it is good to remember how our personal choices do make a difference.

You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.

Angela Davis




Other important ways to help are:

  • Educate

Invest time in educating yourself and others in anti-racism, have uncomfortable conversations with friends and family where inequality is discussed. Keep talking about the problems and the solutions.

Some good places to start:

Women, Race & Class – Angela Y. Davis

The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House – Audre Lorde

Feminism is for Everybody – Bell Hooks

Natives: Race and Class in The Ruins of Empire – Akala

Bad Feminist – Roxane Gay

  • Donate

Financially support oppressed groups and organisations that provide aid:


Alternatives for Community & Environment

Center for Diversity & the Environment

Center for Health, Environment & Justice

Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment

Communities for a Better Environment

Dream Corps Green for All

Environmental Justice Foundation

Women’s Environmental Network

You can even Donate With No Money.

  • Be consistent

Don’t support this cause just because it’s trending on twitter, in the news, or whatever. Anti-racism is an ongoing process.


“Revolution is not a one time event.”

Audre Lorde

Elena Pollen

I live in Asturias, Northern Spain in a stone cabin where I grow my own food and live using permaculture principles. I'm interested in community permaculture and healing.


  1. Sorry, but discrimination goes beyond race. People from any race, who are poor will be treated like trash and look down on by others. People discriminate towards others, if they are not part of their inner group. White discriminate against white, blacks against other blacks, same with any group. It’s mostly about class warfare. You can bet any millionaire will look down their nose, towards anyone not a millionaire or above. Even those who pretend to be politically correct. The focus should be to respect other humans. (And animals, they also have feelings.)

    1. Hey, first of all – no need to apologise for saying what you think.
      I totally agree with you – many people are discriminated against not just because of their skin colour but also because of how much money they have. Class is a huge issue and this article in no way intends to deny that.
      I agree that we should all respect each other.
      In terms of racial discrimination, it has been widely written about and commented upon that despite class and wealth, racial discrimination still takes place, especially in places such as the UK and the US. For example, the author Akala mentions in his book how the stereotype of black men usually making money from selling drugs, being famous rappers or basketball players impedes both the role models young men have availble to them, as well as the treatment of the men who have achieved other things. He gives an example of his friend who is a doctor and drives an expensive car, who was pulled over by the police as a drug dealing suspect. The police showed surprise when the man explained he was a doctor, and even went so far as to call the hospital in which he worked in order to prove the fact. They didn’t take his word for it. This is a clear example of racial discriminaton that goes beyond class.
      It’s less likely that a white man would’ve been pulled over simply for driving an expensive car, less so that the police would’ve taken it as far as to call the hospital where he said he worked.

      Acknowledging white privilege isn’t about denying the hardship that white people have faced, it’s about recognising that in certain situations, the colour of your skin has not affected how you have been treated.

      Other people explain this concept much better than me. I’d recommend reading Akala’s Natives, Angela Davis’ Women, Race and Class,
      and this article by Peggy McIntosh

      Thanks for commenting, have a great day!

      1. What is mentioned in the above post happens daily in one or another place somewhere in the world. People in a society have deeply ingrained prejudices and often conduct their social lives under their influence, whether one is conscious of it or not.
        Combating racism requires dispelling ignorance, one person at a time. I doubt racism and other forms of bigotry will ever be 100% abolished as long as human beings exist, especially since cultural attitudes regarding different races and professions are often learned in childhood, but it is perfectly possible to curb the ignorance through various forms of cultural exchange and awareness programs.

    1. You have given no arguments just insults.
      If you are going to present an opinion please do so with an actual argument

  2. “Social justice cannot wait. It is not an optional “add-on” to environmentalism. It is unfair to opt in and out of caring about racial injustices when many of us cannot.”

    Life isn’t fair 🙄

    1. This is the best way to go about it IMHO. Anything dealing with the intersection of permaculture and politics should be discussed on a separate forum. I will say, however, that denigrating White European people only works against our goals. It would be better to concentrate on correcting any imbalances resulting from the current “Eurocentric” global order. While I will concede that we currently live within a global order constructed by White Europeans (mainly) for White Europeans, change is the only constant in history and in the words of that famous proverb, this too will pass.
      I believe that politics and economics are ultimately a function of culture. Thus, a cultural change is needed before political and economic changes occur. With patient and steady efforts, permaculturists can help bring about the desired changes.
      As well, a love of learning should be encouraged among all those allied with permaculture. Ignorance is our greatest enemy.
      In fact, in the case of permaculture anyway I believe that racial and social injustices should not be addressed directly with purpose-built initiatives. Rather, the diligent practice of permaculture should be a way to dissolve racial and social barriers that hold everyone back.
      As for racial and social class discrimination, these are manifestations of something very human known as tribalism. Tribalism can be a good thing since human beings are social animals and we all want to belong to something a bit greater than ourselves, but when it gets out of control it can cause a lot of damage – not unlike an invasive plant that grows on everything and eventually destroys a habitat.

  3. The denigration of white people as uniformly and irretrievably ‘racist’ is the most virulent form of racism now loose on this planet.
    The denigration of white people as the source of all the earth’s problems is a racist Lie.
    The putting of history on trial under standards of an extreme Leftist political agenda, and calls for the erasure of history found ‘guilty’, is Maoism in its most extreme form. The 1988 Congress of the Chinese Communist Party denounced Maoism as a national disaster for China.
    The present denigration of all white people as ‘racist’ and ‘privileged’ has no precedent in history outside 1930s Germany and its denigration of Jewish people.
    We know how that turned out.
    Your racism makes this website and its content irrelevant to those dwelling outside Hive Mind.

    1. What must be realized is that while the current world order is created by White Europeans (mainly) for White Europeans, like anything else this too will soon pass. As well, I am sure that the diligent application of Permaculture principles can set the foundations for the dissolution of racial and other barriers not of biological origin. (Having a different skin color is fundamentally OK.)

    2. That is absolute BS. White people in the west (and even outside) are all racist and privileged. It is not fair to compare that to Hitler’s eugenic theories because he said that the Jews (and homosexuals, disabled people and gypsies) were all GENETICALLY inferior (also BS). This says that whites are socialized to be racist and are given privilege without choice just because of the colour of their skin. it does have a precedent many famous feminist thinkers found that all men in patriarchal societies were fed stereotypes by societal factors. I do agree with you that white people are not the source of ALL the problems, but every single one has to accept that they are in a society that benefits them. I myself am white, I myself also have racism imbued in me. I accept that and will work to change that, in the meantime we all have to recognize that society is completely entwined (sounds like permaculture).
      Either respond or don’t but I do not want anyone to be confused or misguided by these comments.

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