Module 2: Book Review
The Intersectional Environmentalist by Leah Thomas
We learned so much from this book about the intersection between social and environmental justice and seek to spread to this knowledge and create conversations that are truly intersectional. Below we provide a few important terms, our favorite aspects of the book, and more.
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What is intersectional environmentalism?
"Intersectional environmentalism (IE) [is] an inclusive approach to environmentalism that advocates for the protection of both people and the planet" (Thomas, 31).
This means viewing environmentalism from a social lens and considering how people - especially those who are marginalized - will be impacted by a given project, policy, etc.
Intersectionality refers to "the ways in which systems of inequality based on gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, [and] class...“intersect” to create unique dynamics and effects" on a person's lived experience (CIJ). This term was developed by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw.
Environmental Justice (EJ)
POC: People of Color
"BIPOC was developed to ensure that Black and Indigenous people were not erased under the umbrella term, 'people of color'" (Thomas, 72).
"Privilege is a set of unearned advantages, positive perceptions, and outcomes based on identity" (Thomas, 62). Privilege can stem from various parts of your identity such as class, education level, or race. Acknowledge your privilege in conversations - even if it's uncomfortable for you.
See more about each photo in the EJ section of Proven LA's first educational module.
"It is our responsibility as stewards of the earth to consider the impact that environmental harm has on the inhabitants of the earth, especially those who face the harshest realities" (Thomas, 35).
What we loved:
1. The inclusion of all BIPOC groups.
Many times in academia (and life in general) the stories and injustices that minorities in America face are downplayed or not included at all. Thomas, however, challenges the status quo by presenting facts and context for various BIPOC communities (AAPI, Latinx, Native American, and African American).
Who should read this book?
We think everyone should!
However, those interested in the planet and are getting started in their environmental journey would benefit greatly. This is a great overview of topics related to social and environmental justice and will ensure that your future advocacy/organization/activism will be intersectional. There is also a great, robust tool kit and resource section with podcast, books, and visual media recommendations!
If you would like to talk more about the book or have any questions for us - DM us on Instagram or or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.