As we embark on Black History Month, we do so in celebration, honor, and tribute to the work of Black organizers, educators, and climate activists who have fought for the liberation of the Black community. Black Lives Matter isn’t a fad -- it’s a call to action. We must invest in our communities providing quality healthcare, education, green spaces, and public transit.
On the frontline, there are many instances of environmental racism in developed and undeveloped countries. In America, landfills, chemical waste facilities, and power plants are more often constructed in low socioeconomic and minority-based neighborhoods, which do not have monetary power. For decades, these communities have called for environmental justice: the notion that individuals shouldn’t have to withstand cruel, degrading, and inhumane treatment due to their race, ethnicity, or income. Although the issue is quite perspicuous, America has struggled to take any legal action towards protecting these families from environmental pollution.
As a 17-year-old Black climate activist of Caribbean descent, I make strides towards honoring the climate activists who’ve laid the foundations for youth advocacy and climate reform. My mother was born and raised in Dominica, a small island nation. I’ve analyzed satellite composites of average air temperatures, divergent hemisphere anomalies, and natural disasters in Dominica. There, I’ve identified climate change as a leading factor contributing to Ischemic heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Inspiring Black climate activist, Ama Francis was born in Dominica too. While living there, Hurricane Maria ravaged her home and thousands of others. Ama reported to Columbia University that “International law offers little protection to people displaced by the impacts of climate change.” She attended the Columbia Law School Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. Her intriguing work revolves around formulating valid solutions to disaster adaptation and climate migration. She also pushes for the execution of adaptive measures in small islands and least developed countries. Not only did Ama graduate from Columbia, but she also graduated from Harvard University and Yale Law School. Furthermore, she was an active member of Yale’s Environmental Justice Clinic, a student director of Immigration Legal Services, founder of Clarity & Community, and led New Directions in Environmental Law 2018, reports Climigration. Climate activists like her are changing the world for the better!
The Black Lives Matter movement is a climate movement. It is essential to reform that the next generations of climate activists like myself see monumental leaders like Ama. We must implement more extensive comprehensions of environmental justice and perform approaches stimulated by ecosystems. We must foster the same level of urgency for human diversity as biodiversity. It’s prominent to envision the planet we want to exist on, and how we can reconstruct it, together.