Earth Day is a time to celebrate the beauty and diversity of our planet, but it’s also an important opportunity to acknowledge the challenges we face when it comes to environmental equity. For those of us within the Black community, this is especially true – we are disproportionately affected by environmental issues, from pollution to climate change. But despite the obstacles, many of us are taking action and making a difference. In honor of Earth Day, we want to highlight some of the amazing Black millennial environmental activists who are doing important work to promote environmental equity and justice.
Leah Thomas, also known as “GreenGirlLeah,” is a sustainability and environmental activist who founded the Intersectional Environmentalist platform. She works to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the environmental movement and advocates for a holistic approach to environmentalism that takes into account issues of social justice and systemic oppression. As she says in an interview with Forbes, “Environmentalism and sustainability isn’t just about saving the polar bears, it’s about making sure that every single human being has access to a healthy and safe environment.”
Mustafa Santiago Ali is a renowned environmental and social justice activist who served as the former senior advisor for Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization at the Environmental Protection Agency. He now works as the Vice President of Environmental Justice, Climate, and Community Revitalization at the National Wildlife Federation. As he says in an interview with NBC News, “We have to recognize that environmental justice communities have been carrying the brunt of the pollution for decades…We need to focus on real solutions, making sure that we’re providing alternatives for communities that have been hit the hardest.”
Mikaela Loach is a climate justice activist and writer who uses her platform to advocate for environmental equity and the intersectional impacts of climate change. She is a co-host of the “Yikes! Podcast” and was named one of the BBC’s 100 Most Influential Women in 2020. In an interview with Forbes, she says, “We need to be aware of how the climate crisis is disproportionately affecting different communities and how it’s connected to systemic oppression.”
Dominique is a sustainable fashion and environmental justice advocate who co-founded Sustainable Brooklyn and MelaninASS. She is dedicated to promoting sustainable lifestyles and advocating for systemic change in the fashion industry to address issues of environmental and social justice. As she says in an interview with Essence, “Environmental justice and social justice are one and the same. We need to reframe how we approach sustainability as a lifestyle, so it’s not just a luxury, but an expectation and a basic human right.”
Jerome Foster II is a climate activist and organizer who founded OneMillionOfUs, a youth-led organization focused on climate justice and progressive activism. He is also a youth advisor for the United Nations on climate change and has been recognized as a leading voice in the fight for environmental equity. As he says in an interview with The Washington Post, “Young people are the ones who will inherit this planet, so it’s up to us to take action and fight for the kind of future we want to see.”
These Black environmental activists are just a few examples of the amazing work being done to promote environmental equity and justice. We encourage you to follow their work, support their causes, and find ways to get involved in your own community. Together, we can make a difference and create a more just and sustainable future for all.