By Re:Generation Editors
Compiled below is a list of suggested reading for climate justice activists (specifically White and Non-Black POC activists) within and outside of XR. Climate justice is racial justice, and to isolate these two movements for justice is, in itself, inherently racist. We must do the work to dismantle systems of oppression that are all intrinsically linked– capitalism, classism, racism, anti-Blackness, etc. –both within our own movement and outside of it in the world. A sustainable future is impossible without a racially just future. Read these pieces to understand how our movement takes cues and was born out of voices of color, to understand the links between the climate crisis and racism, and to remind yourself why you’re in these fights against oppression. There will also be more suggested reading in the next few weeks: check back on our blog page to see testimonies and art created by Black climate activists. Listen to their voices; listen to their stories.
If you are a Black creator, artist, activist and would like to showcase your work, whether explicitly about the climate crisis or not, this page is yours. Email your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For learning more about the link between the climate crisis and racism/anti-Blackness:
THIS is a general resource compilation including essays, podcasts, social media accounts, and more about Blackness and anti-racism, created by the Intersectional Environmentalist Council; it is comprehensive, and a great place to start.
THIS piece, “We Don’t Have To Halt Climate Action To Fight Racism,” is by Mary Heglar, a Black climate justice writer, with a headline that reads “It’s time to stop #AllLivesMattering the climate crisis.”
THIS Washington Post article, “I’m a Black Climate Expert. Racism Derails Our Efforts to Save the Planet,” is by policy advisor and marine biologist Ayana Elizabeth Johnson. This piece classifies racism as an institutional and engineered distraction from being able to solve and focus on other issues, namely: the climate crisis.
THIS essay, “Climate Change is a Racist Crisis: That’s Why Black Lives Matter Closed an Airport”, explains the 2016 action by Black Lives Matter organizers that called out the disproportionate impacts of the climate crisis as a cog in the machine of institutionalized racism. It is written by Alexandra Wanjiku Kelbert, a member of Black Lives Matter UK.
THIS research paper analyzes data that shows that Flint, Michigan’s water crisis is an example of environmental racism, and racial capitalism. Consolidated and written by ethnic studies professor Laura Pulido, it recognizes that the disproportionate impact of the crisis is not a coincidence: Flint officials know of the disparities and opt to do nothing.
For learning more about XR’s tactics and their roots in Black and Indigenous action:
THIS article from The Atlantic talks about the flattening of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s philosophy of nonviolence; author Dara T. Mathis explains that his idea of nonviolent protest was not absolute or unshaking. As climate activists that employ Nonviolent Direct Action, we must not place ourselves on a moral high ground–not all organizing bodies can afford to do the same. Dr. King understood this.
THIS piece, written by Indigenous activist Thomas Lopez Jr. of the IIYC (International Indigenous Youth Council), details the climate movement’s roots in Indigenous youth organizing bodies, and criticizes the glamorization and white-washing of the movement.
THIS book, titled Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance, by Lakota author Nick Estes, offers a comprehensive history of Native American resistance in the United States, including acts of nonviolent protest like the Ghost Dance, an (artivist) action of the late 1800s meant to invoke the restoration of Indigenous lands and the retreat of White colonizers from those lands. The book tells the history of resistance that resulted in the modern-day Indigenous fight against the climate crisis and invasion of their land.
For learning more about the links between all systems of oppression:
THIS video of Angela Davis reminds us that all systems of oppression are inextricably linked: racism thrives in capitalism, capitalism thrives in racism, the climate crisis thrives in hierarchy.
For learning more about the racism within XR’s history so we can work to collectively dismantle this:
THIS article effectively calls out the issues of racism and Whiteness within the global XR community. It is our job to understand and internalize this problematic history, and change. It is written by British activist Athian Akec, the member for Camden of the UK Youth Parliament and a climate justice organizer.
If you are a Black organizer, artist, or creator and have a story to tell, a cause to amplify, or anything else you would like to share with our community (whether climate related, or not), Re: Generation, the XRYUS blog, is a space for that story. You can send in submissions to email@example.com or DM us!
Now, and always, this platform is here to amplify the work of BIPOC individuals and activists. Our blog editors have also compiled a list of suggested readings regarding the intersections of racism, racial capitalism, and the climate crisis essential for White and non-Black POC climate activists.
Of course, our Instagram space is also always open for Black organizers/artists to share their work, DM us to discuss details.