Environmental Intersectionality: Why This Conversation Matters
It starts with trusting communities who know they can harness our planet’s gifts without harming it.
This content was developed in partnership with Conscious City Guide.
“So what you’re saying is we can actually take our power back?”
And such are the crucial type of questions that accompany conversations about environmental intersectionality — the vital (and overdue) approach to environmentalism that encourage and champion the inclusion of marginalized voices in discussions about the distribution of earth’s resources.
Arguably, #ClimateWoke host Layel Camargo describes it best. On their visit to Hopi Land, AZ, they sit down with Native folks like Hopi member Janice Day and Wahleah Johns of Native Renewables to speak to what can be harnessed in the wake of reclamation, mutual understanding, and our choice to learn from communities who find sustainable ways to thrive.
“I always say whoever controls your water and your power controls your destiny,” Johns elaborates.
And Jade Begay, creative director of NDN Collective, attests to this.
“Right now the tribal lands have the highest rate of houses without electricity,” she explains. “That keeps us in a pretty marginalized position, unlike the rest of the country. We don’t have the same access to power, meaning we can’t communicate in the same ways, we can’t organize in the same ways.”
“We don’t have the same access to power, meaning we can’t communicate in the same ways, we can’t organize in the same ways”
Which is why the introduction of solar energy has been pivotal to enriching Native communities, particularly as it shows those who live outside that it’s possible to harness the gifts of the earth without harming it.
Adds Begay: “There’s a lot of hard realities in Native communities, but I think there are people [that are] thriving and rising and creating amazing solutions.”
Because ultimately, that’s the genuine beauty of environmental intersectionality: when every voice is included about the choices that pertain to our home, we end up working together not only to attain a goal like accessible electricity, but to do it in a way that unites us all. And united, we not only save ourselves from the pitfalls of climate change, we save the world entirely. Which is a belief echoed by Day.
“When every voice is included about the choices that pertain to our home, we end up working together not only to attain a goal like accessible electricity, but to do it in a way that unites us all”
“I believe we could save the world if we all went to solar,” she states. The certainty in her voice is an invitation: if others chose to listen and learn to voices outside of their own, we could build a future steeped in possibility. We could give back to the only home we’ve ever known. And we could do it in a way that thrives on inclusion. There’s so much to learn, but when our environmentalism is intersectional, there are countless teachers from which to gleam precious, earth-saving knowledge.
“We could give back to the only home we’ve ever known. And we could do it in a way that thrives on inclusion”
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