Leah Thomas_IEimage

Environment

Jan 27, 2021

Bringing Intersectionality to Modern Environmentalism

Intersectional Environmentalism is a recent perspective in sustainability that advocates for the inclusive protection of people and the planet.

WRITTEN BY

Rhea Varma

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Intersectional Environmentalism is an inclusive version of sustainability that identifies the interconnectedness between the injustices happening to marginalized communities and the earth. It advocates for the protection of people and the planet and provides an opportunity to discover the unique connections which exist between communities and the environment that intersect with social justice.

Where Did “Intersectionality” Come From?

Intersectionality refers to the inclusion and interconnectedness of all people and issues that we face as a society. For instance, if the most marginalized and oppressed people of our society are being taken care of then certainly all of us are being taken care of.

KimberlĂ© Crenshaw is an American lawyer and professor of Law at Columbia University and the University of California, Los Angeles who developed the theory of intersectionality. She introduced the term ‘intersectional’, in her article ‘Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex,’ (1989) where she explores how being Black and a woman are not mutually exclusive but overlap to create how we experience society and the world.

Crenshaw’s podcast, “Intersectionality Matters” continues to apply her terminology to Covid-19, state violence, erasure, and more.

Not A Moment, But A Movement.

Intersectional Environmentalist is a platform for resources, information, and action steps to support intersectional environmentalism and dismantle systems of oppression in the environmental movement, led by environmental activists and sustainability advocates.

“Together, we’re committed to dismantling systems of oppression and the whitewashed narrative of environmentalism.”

As a Black woman in the environmental movement, IE founder Leah Thomas was inspired to focus her efforts on intersectional environmentalism — a more inclusive perspective that recognized the intersectionality of social justice and sustainability. She published the piece “Why Environmentalists Should Be Anti-Racist” on Vogue and is currently working on an Intersectional Environmentalist book.

Intersectional Environmentalism
Source: Intersectionalenvironmentalist.com

In May 2020, following the murder of George Floyd, Leah called on the environmental community to make a pledge to Black lives and commit to a journey of intersectional advocacy that would amplify silenced voices. The post went viral, and the online sustainability community began looking for spaces to listen to and amplify these silenced voices. Intersectional Environmentalist was conceptualized and launched one week later by Leah and fellow cofounders Diandra Marizet, Sabs Katz and Philip Aiken.

“Imagine empowering our youth with the knowledge to protect the planet and its people.”

The Intersectional Environmentalist (IE) community brings together an exceptional group of environmental activists and sustainability advocates from diverse backgrounds. The platform shares stories, digital resources and supports BIPOC businesses among several other action steps. It explores the ways in which social justice and environmentalism intersect with different communities and regions of the world. It also shares an ever-growing perspective on the connections which exist between intersectional environmentalism and a variety of topics such as education, beauty, infrastructure, and cannabis to name a few. 

The IE team is deeply committed to amplifying the voices of all those fighting to uplift underserved communities, preserve cultures and protect the planet.

Find them on Instagram at @intersectionalenvironmentalist 

 


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