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Black Environmentalists Talk About Climate and Anti-Racism

Black Environmentalists Talk About Climate and Anti-Racism

It’s impossible to live sustainably without tackling inequality, activists say.

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This week, with the country convulsed by protests over the killing of a black man named George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, we decided we’d talk to leading black climate activists about the connections between racism and climate change.

A clear theme emerged from those discussions: Racial and economic inequities need to be tackled as this country seeks to recalibrate its economic and social compass in the weeks and months to come. Racism, in short, makes it impossible to live sustainably.

Here’s what three prominent environmental defenders had to say in interviews this week about how the climate movement can be anti-racist.

‘Help people see the connection’

Sam Grant is executive director of, the Minnesota affiliate of the international climate activist group He was among the first climate activists to call for the prosecution of the police officers implicated in the killing of George Floyd.

A few days later, leaders of national and international groups issued their own statements of solidarity, including the heads of Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council, followed by the World Wildlife Fund and the World Resources Institute.