Sierra Club goes full woke: ‘We will never survive the climate crisis without ending white supremacy’ – “When the U.S. pours carbon pollution into the air…that is white supremacy’


By: - Climate DepotJune 10, 2020 7:42 AM with 0 comments

https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/racism-killing-planet?utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=sierramag&utm_medium=social

Excerpts: During the street protests and marches of the past two weeks, many people carried signs that read “Racism Is Killing Us.” It’s no exaggeration to say that racism and white supremacy harm all of us, because in addition to robbing us of our humanity, racism is also killing the planet we all share.

An idea—a long-overdue realization—is growing in the environmental movement. It goes something like this: “We’ll never stop climate change without ending white supremacy.” This argument has entered the outdoor recreation and conservation space thanks to the leadership of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color in the climate justice movement. The idea has taken on new force as folks in the mainstream environmental movement do our best to show up for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and all the Black people still living and subject to police violence.

I know that a lot of people are struggling with the thought that addressing the environmental crises must involve dismantling white supremacy. At Sierra Club meetings, some people hear me say something like that and think, “Damn, fighting climate change wasn’t hard enough already? Now we have to end racism and white supremacy too? Seriously, man?”

I get that feeling of being overwhelmed. It’s a lot to carry. It’s a lot to hold. We all have enough to do without feeling like we’re taking on even more.

But I want to share another lens from which we can view this moment. I really believe in my heart of hearts—after a lifetime of thinking and talking about these issues—that we will never survive the climate crisis without ending white supremacy.

Here’s why: You can’t have climate change without sacrifice zones, and you can’t have sacrifice zones without disposable people, and you can’t have disposable people without racism.

When a kid in East Oakland gets asthma from car pollution because her neighborhood is surrounded by freeways, that is white supremacy.
When the Dakota Access Pipeline is built through Native land because the neighboring white communities fought to keep it out of theirs, that is white supremacy.

When the United States pours carbon pollution into the air, knowing that people in countries that have contributed much less to the climate crisis will face the worst of the consequences, that is white supremacy.

When big polluters try to buy our democracy so they can keep making money by devaluing the lives of people of color, that is white supremacy.

When you come to see and understand these intersections between white supremacy and environmental destruction, you’ll find yourself at a crossroads. That crossroads will force you to decide which side you’re on.

I know that what I’ve laid out here is a lot of dots to connect. I can imagine you thinking, “OK, so how do we end white supremacy then?”

I wish I had all the answers, but I don’t. The answer is for all of us to figure out together.

All I know is that if climate change and environmental injustice are the result of a society that values some lives and not others, then none of us are safe from pollution until all of us are safe from pollution. Dirty air doesn’t stop at the county line, and carbon pollution doesn’t respect national borders. As long as we keep letting the polluters sacrifice Black and brown communities, we can’t protect our shared global climate.

I also know that as long as police can take Black lives, then none of us are truly safe. I keep coming back to the murder of George Floyd, the nine minutes a cop took to bring the drumbeat of George’s heart to a standstill. I keep asking again and again, how could they bring themselves to do it?

And now I ask you, what will you bring yourself to do?

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