“What I find to be the most beautiful thing about Black culture and identity is that, like nature, our history is filled with rebirth and resilience. We find a way, time after time, to rise from the ashes and bloom where we are planted. While displacement, violence and injustice has at times distanced us from our cultural traditions, our ancestors have always had a unique relationship with nature. A key tenant to being an intersectional environmentalist is identifying the ways injustices done to people and the earth are interconnected. The Black community in the U.S. has faced an inability to breathe through both police violence and disproportionate impacts of poor air quality. We must address this in order to change and also acknowledge and validate black traditions, experiences and practices in relationship to nature.”
~ Leah Thomas
This can be termed environmental justice, the combination of both social justice and environmentalism, where the inequity in environmental degradation is also considered. It emerged in the USA during the 1960s during the American Civil Rights movement and was later coined by Dr Benjamin Chavis, an Afro-American civil rights activist, after noticing the targeting of BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) for the location of toxic waste sites on top of exclusion from environmental policy making, which still occurs today.
Specifically the term intersectional environmentalism here advocates for environmental justice by looking at intersectionality. Intersectionality is a tool coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a black feminist, in 1989 which was originally meant to highlight the inability of a single framework to portray the multi-dimensional experiences of black women with such things as class, disability, gender, …
This term has been popularised by Leah Thomas and defined as follows:
“It brings injustices done to the most vulnerable communities, and the earth, to the forefront and does not value social justice as an “add-on” to environmentalism.”