Is ‘Going Green’ for White People?

Like most topics having to do with environmentalism, when the issues of climate change and sustainable living come up in the media, images of White tree huggers are conjured up.

But there are few things more important to the well-being and livelihood of African American communities than protecting the earth. In fact, recent data from the University of Minnesota shows that although people of color contribute the least to smog and air pollution, we breathe the most of it, putting our health dangerously at risk.

This week, Van Jones’s environmental education organization Green for All released a poll finding that “75 percent of minority voters pay attention to new information on climate change and 68 percent feel it is an issue we need to be worried about right now.” Results also show that 70% of minority voters are more likely to support candidates who are willing to increase the amount of resources used to tackle climate change than those candidates who would ignore or deny climate change. So going green and engaging in environmental activism is undoubtedly personal, unquestionably urgent and unequivocally Black.

Think going green is hard? You’d be surprised at how many of the practices that we already think of as cultural legacies  – like reusing items, not wasting food, using public transportation and turning the lights off when leaving a room –  are not only environmentally friendly, but downright radical. So let’s see how green you are!


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Mostly As – Started From the Bottom

Get it together. You’ve got some work to do. But it’s never too late and today is a fantastic day to begin. Check out Earth Day Network’s Billion Acts of Green to take the pledge and start protecting the planet.

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Mostly Bs – There’s Hope

You’re not as knowledgeable as you want to be, but you certainly don’t want to harm the planet so you’re willing to learn what else you can do. Start reading Brentin Mock’s writing on Grist and check out Green for All, a phenomenal organization that works to engage everyone in the fight to save the environment.

Mostly Cs – You’re Winning

You are an amazing environmentalist that already understands the important role that you play in protecting the planet. Kudos! Now all you have to do is spread the word!


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