Last night, I attended the Talkin’ Trash event presented by Hartford resident Olivia Lapierre at Kilton Library. It was great, and if you missed it (or even if you went!) and want to keep track of the work that Olivia is doing on environmental justice, racial justice and zero-waste issues, including increasing representation of people of color in sustainability movements, you can follow her on Instagram, @zerowastehabesha, and join her Facebook group, Be Zero Upper Valley.
“In her powerful first essay for Loam—now live online—rad activist Olivia Lapierre @zerowastehabesha explores representation, inclusivity, and intersectionality in the zero waste movement thru an illuminating interview with eco advocate Chanelle Crosby @thinkfeelbe . A must-read.” – @loammagazine Thank you Loam for my first publication! Link in bio! ?? #representationmatters #blackenvironmentalist #blackfeminists #blacklivesmatter #blackgirlmagic #blackexcellence #habesha #bezero #zerowaste #makelesstrash #lowwaste #lifewithoutplastic #packagefree #circulareconomy #trashisfortossers
If you’re asking, “what are the intersections of racial justice and environmental justice” or “what is zero waste,” you should consider following those social media accounts listed above, and hear from Olivia in her own words in this essay and Q&A she wrote for the environmental arts magazine Loam. It includes writing from Olivia on these topics and a Q&A she conducted with Chanelle Crosby, an environmental activist of color who, like Olivia, is active with the Colorado-based nonprofit Be Zero and in the zero-waste movement in general.
Here’s a snippet of Olivia’s words:
Though the (zero waste) movement has gained attention for its amazing efforts, it has not been sufficiently challenged on its lack of representation. This is especially troublesome considering that communities of color are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change.
As a person of color who leads this lifestyle, I began to ask myself many questions including: how is it that environmental movements can fight for change without including in the dialogue the populations that are most affected? I started thinking about the sign I held at the Women’s March: “Feminism without intersectionality is just White Supremacy”. But isn’t any movement without intersectionality just white supremacy? If environmental activists aren’t using their platforms to speak on the oppression of people of color they are passively contributing to systemic racism. Are environmental movements that are not intersectional perpetuating environmental racism by creating an elitist culture for sustainability?