We can no longer overlook the the connection between climate change and racial and social inequities. The climate crisis is a manifestation of a structural violence against both the people and the environment, with roots in colonialism, capitalism, and other systemic forms of oppression against black and brown bodies. Black, indigenous, and people of color have historically been, and will continue to be, disproportionately affected by climate change. There have been generations of injustices committed against these communities. In fact, “race is the number one indicator for the placement of toxic facilities in this country” (NAACP). As stewards of God’s creation, we cannot be for the planet, without also being for the people. And as Anabaptists, we are committed to opposing violence, fighting for justice, and building peace in our communities, institutions, and ecosystems. In short, we cannot truly protect the environment unless we tackle social justice, too.
We recognize that there is already an abundance of resources on this topic. For this reason, we are compiling a non-exhaustive and non-comprehensive list of materials for education and awareness purposes. We hope that these resources will help to spark conversations in your own community, as well as steps toward anti-racist climate action.
But first, a poem.
The Tradition by Jericho Brown.
Aster. Nasturtium. Delphinium. We thought
Fingers in dirt meant it was our dirt, learning
Names in the heat, in elements classical
Philosophers said could change us. Stargazer.
Foxglove. Summer seemed to bloom against the will
Of the sun, which news reports claimed flamed hotter
On this planet than when our dead fathers
Wiped sweat from their necks. Cosmos. Baby’s Breath.
Men like me and my brothers filmed what we
Planted for proof we existed before
Too late, sped the video to see blossoms
Brought in seconds, colors you expect in poems
Where the world ends, everything cut down.
John Crawford. Eric Garner. Mike Brown.
How Climate Change Reinforces Racism, 4:18 minutes (also check out the many resources listed in the description of the video)
Environmental Justice Explained, 3:33 minutes
A Brief History of Environmental Justice, 3:35 minutes
Climate Change is a Social Justice Issue TED Talk, 14:32 minutes
Racism and Climate Change are About You TED Talk, 17:18 minutes
The North Pole, Mini-series on Gentrification and Climate Change
Climate Change and Environmental Racism, NPR article and high-school student podcast
Faith Groups on Anti-Racist Dialogue, Citizens for Public Justice intern
Growing Together: Black Voices in the Plant Community, Bloom and Grow Radio
Environmental Racism & COVID-19, Faith in Place
Environmental Studies Erasure of Black People, the Vice
Food in the Battle Against Colonialism, the Tyee
We Farm As Resistance, Environmental Health News
Environmental Justice Wake-up Call, the New York Times
Racism Derails Our Attempts to Save the Planet, Washington Post
Whose Earth is it Anyway?, Sojourners
Climate Justice is Racial Justice, Thomson Reuters Foundation
The Worst Disasters are Never Colorblind, Grist
Climate Activists Embrace Racial Justice, Inside Climate News
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is About People, Not Precedent, the New Republic
Climate Activists: Here’s Why Your Work Depends on Ending Police Violence, the Medium
Black Environmentalists talk about Climate and Anti-Racism, the New York Times (and see our post about it here)
What does Climate Change have to do with Racism?, Third Way
Why Every Environmentalist Should be Anti-Racist, Vogue
Environmental Racism Scholar on Pollution as ‘Violence’, E&E News
Racism is Killing the Planet, Sierra Club (and a statement from the NH Sierra Club and white silence)
Climate Change is also a Racial Justice Problem, the Washington Post
Climate Justice is Racial Justice is Gender Justice, Yes! Magazine
Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African American Environmental Heritage by Dianne Glave
The Hidden Wound by Wendell Berry
Ecological Solidarities: Mobilizing Faith and Justice for an Entangled World edited by Krista Hughes, Dhawn Martin, and Elaine Padilla
Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future by Mary Robinson
Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors by Carolyn Finney
Toxic Communities: Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution, and Residential Mobility by Dorceta Taylor (also check out more books from this author)
The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature by J. Drew Lanham
A list of other books on Environmental Justice, Racism, and Activism, the EcoWatch
Ways to Get Involved
Conversation on Food Justice Webinar, Society for the Increase of the Ministry
Doing Justice: The Role of Faith in Building Climate Equity, Let’s Talk Climate webcast discussion series
A list of groups to support, Civil Eats
Intersectional Environmentalist, an incredible resource that continually adds more content
If you have any questions or would like to share a resource you found, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resource by Judith Marklin
2020 Communications Intern