Want To Know the Future for Climate Action? Listen to POC

People of color will experience climate change in extraordinary ways — it’s time to let us have the floor

Arisa Loomba


Illustration: Kimberlie Wong

BBack in August, at the Byline Festival, a journalism festival in the U.K., I attended a talk entitled: “Whitewashing Climate Action: Where are the voices of color?” The panel, comprised of climate journalists, activists, and policy makers, was chaired by the Guardian’s Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi. In the audience, a White Extinction Rebellion member raised her hand and uttered these classic words: “I’m sorry if you feel my organization doesn’t serve you. But perhaps you could give me some advice or practical tips as to how we could diversify?”

There was a palpable sigh in the audience. The panelists looked at one another with weary eyes. Must we always explain these things? The responses were resolute. (Minnie Rahman has also comprised a useful guide, for those who have forgotten). It’s simple. Have people of color in your leadership, prioritize marginalized voices; make your methods more accessible to those at risk of police aggression. Basically, listen.

Not only are people of color disproportionately affected by climate change, they are also disproportionately…