A Note to Our Readers on Social Injustice

Image: Alejandro Alvarez/WTOP

This past weekend we witnessed nationwide protests against police brutality and outcries for justice for the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless other black Americans who have lost their lives to racial violence.

While Our Daily Planet is a platform to bring awareness to climate change and the environment, we needed to acknowledge the pain and outrage being felt by our nation. And fundamentally, racial injustice is at the heart of our most significant environmental woes.

Consolidation of power, suppression of voting rights, the poisoning and polluting of black and brown communities, and systemic inequality and racism have made the climate crisis what it is and have degraded the health and safety of communities and ecosystems alike. The bottom line is that we cannot have climate justice without racial justice–the two are intrinsically linked through the ways in which race and power have shaped the history of our country.

We currently find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, an economic recession that’s led to Depression-era unemployment, as well as a growing climate emergency. And while we’re all grappling with the fallout, black Americans are being disproportionately affected by these events while also having to live with the daily injustices of racism. It’s no coincidence that black Americans are dying from coronavirus at much higher rates than that of white Americans, it’s a prime example of how climate and social injustice so ruthlessly claims lives.

As Trevor Noah said on Instagram live this weekend, the incident we saw in Central Park last week with Amy Cooper threatening a black man (and conservationist) enjoying nature was the first domino to fall in this most recent wave of broad public awareness. In the absence of leadership and a plan of how we move forward, it’s hard to envision what a better tomorrow looks like and that feels hopeless and overwhelming.

At Our Daily Planet, we strive to lift up people from all walks of life and communities and talk about the great work they are doing to improve the planet. We will work even harder to tell the stories of environmental injustice so that more people understand it and feel a responsibility to do something about it.  Our hearts are heavy, and no one can offer any easy answers. We just know that those with power, privilege, and a platform the environmental community cannot stay silent and we must take action.

-Monica and Miro

What You Can Do: 

Make ending police brutality a litmus test for your political support. Campaign Zero — which is also accepting donations — has a comprehensive guide to policies that aim to correct broken windows policing, excessive force, racial profiling, for-profit policing, and much more.

  • Familiarize yourself with voter suppression in this country and get to know (and please support) these voting rights groups before the 2020 election.
  • To help cover the costs of everything from funeral and burial expenses to mental and grief counseling, lodging, and travel for all court proceedings, Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, started a GoFundMe to assist his family in their time of need. Additionally, a portion of these funds will go to the Estate of George Floyd, which benefits his children and their educational fund.
  • Oprah Magazine featured a detailed list of organizations working to support racial justice activists as well as a number of petitions and actions you can take to address George Floyd’s killing directly.
  • For those of us who are not minorities, the burden of dismantling injustice sits squarely on our shoulders. There are countless resources put out by educators on how to be proactively anti-racist. This list is a good start. My (Miro’s) recommended resource is the workbook Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad.
  • And if you’re reading this, you’re likely an environmentalist, so please consider that African Americans often don’t feel that they can turn to nature as a safe escape in the same way that white Americans can. Groups like Outdoor Afro work to connect African Americans to outdoor experiences and strive for inclusion in outdoor recreation, nature, and conservation. Please consider supporting them!

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