The beginning of my journey into climate activism started when I was a sophomore in college at Appalachian State University. We were watching a Climate Change video in biology class and I became terrified of what the world might look like in 2020, 2030, 2040, and 2050.
I left class that day with a lump in the back of my throat, holding back the tears and realizing that we have to make a change. I clung to the words, "If you just don't get a receipt at the gas station, then you are doing your part". Half of me wanted to think this was true and half of me KNEW this wasn't true.
I was a fashion major and my eyes were immediately opened to what the fashion industry is doing to people and the environment. Fast fashion is deeply rooted in racism and poverty. Fast fashion is exploiting the workers for large corporations (H&M , Forever 21, Zara, Old Navy, Gap ) and thriving on oppression and environmental degradation.
Environmental Justice is a term that I want to bring to the table.
"Environmental justice is the intersection of social equality and environmentalism" This quote comes from Leah Thomas, a writer and climate activist for The Good Trade.
When working towards a more sustainable and environmentally healthy future, it's important to recognize the price our brothers and sisters are paying who live in marginalized communities, directly affected by the ramifications of climate change. This includes communities affected by oil fracking, drilling, burning of coal, and water pollution. More often than not, these are black and indigenous communities.
Bottom line is we can all do better. Whether we are environmentalists, social activists, we need to become one in the same and fight for our future and the future of our children and grand children. Now that you've made it this far, I have listed a few action steps below. These are the ways we can use our voice and do our part.
-Registering to vote, and voting for officials and leaders who support this stance on environmental justice.
-Vote with our dollar, choosing small businesses focused on environmental change and black owned businesses; this includes fighting off the urge to step foot in an H&M.
-Signing petitions and calling officials in our communities and asking them what they are doing to fight the climate crisis and systemic racism.
-Take it to the streets and join Greta Thunberg in Fridays for Future. Attend protests and support #blacklivesmatter and have those uncomfortable conversations with your loved ones and friends.
The change starts with us! Are you ready?