We Need More Black Female Environmentalists
Our main cause right now should be to save the planet
Every day I sit at the desk in my home office watching climate change news. Sometimes I see pictures of raging wildfires. Or, the aftermath of floods that have wiped out towns. Or, updates about the water in Flint, Michigan. As I add research notes on my computer, I prepare for a climate change talk I’m having at my meditation retreat in Conyers, GA. This is typical of my work as a Black female environmentalist.
However, most of the time when you see someone in my profession on TV, it’s a reporter interviewing a White environmentalist. Or it’s a White environmentalist protesting before the Senate.
These clichéd images bother me.
It’s not popular for a Black woman to be an environmentalist. Even some Black people respond with raised eyebrows when I tell them what I do. “I thought only White people were into taking care of the environment,” they say. So I remind them: for centuries, Black women have nurtured and taken care of their families. We have a long history of planting and farming. We have forgotten that we have always been environmentalists. Today, as we stand on the brown soil our ancestors tended to, we must understand that when we take care of nature, we take care of all the communities and neighborhoods of the entire planet.
Some Black people respond with raised eyebrows when I tell them what I do. “I thought only White people were into taking care of the environment.”
I have been an environmentalist for seven years with the Heal the Atmosphere Association (HTAA). I travel throughout the United States teaching the Ayurveda Science of Agnihotra, which has been scientifically proven to reverse pollution. I teach environmental stewardship in at-risk communities. This is important work since low-income Black communities don’t often have the resources to deal with pollution and climate change.
My journey started after leaving a successful public relations firm — and a lot of material possessions I owned — to live a simpler life. Something was missing. I yearned for a higher purpose in life. I volunteered…