Black leaders have long been at the front line of the battle for our planet’s health – against climate change and for food and environmental justice issues. Sustainability cannot be separated from issues of race, because communities of color are more likely to suffer the direct impacts of climate change. In honor of Black History Month, here are 10 Black leaders in the sustainability movement whose work has positively benefited all of us.
“The environmental sector suffers from an alarming amount of whiteness,” says Patrick King, the sustainability education manager of local nonprofit Urban Green Lab. “There’s a perception that it’s a space only for affluent white folks, when in reality, when you look at the numbers, the overwhelming majority of people who believe in climate change and believe that things have to be done around climate change are Black and brown.”
Voting with our dollar and buying into eco-friendly companies may become even more important in Nashville, as many of our landfills are set to fill up and close in the next few years. Todd Lawrence, executive director of nonprofit Urban Green Lab, says the organization educates residents about Metro’s priorities, like the current Solid Waste Master Plan, which “will serve as a roadmap to achieving Zero Waste over the next 30 years,” according to Metro’s website.
Metro Public Works (MPW) and Urban Green Lab (UGL), a nonprofit that teaches communities how to live sustainably, are partnering on a new educational series titled “Sustainable in the City: Thinking Upstream” focused on how Nashvillians can better reduce, reuse, and recycle, and live a more sustainable lifestyle.