Last week our nation was traumatized by the loss of two men of color and first responders to an acute form of violence. But there is another form of violence at work in America: Climate Change. More and more climate warriors realize that there's a connection between climate justice and racial justice, and that solidarity was tested last week when front line climate warriors arrested at last week's protests in Baton Rouge. Donate here to support them.
There is no other way to describe it -- our country is under a siege of violence, injustice, racism, sexism and many other forms of oppression. This reality was manifested last week when our country was struck by violence to civilians and first responders alike. And this reality is also manifested by a form of slow violence, which we know as Climate Change. Author Rob Nixon characterizes slow violence as, "a violence that occurs gradually and out of sight, a violence of delayed destruction that is dispersed over time and space, an attritional violence that is typically not viewed as violence at all." And he specifically refers to climate disruption as one of the most profound examples of slow violence.
More and more, climate activists are coming to the realization that we cannot address the violence against our climate if we do not also address injustice and violence against people - and the most vulnerable people especially.1 Directors of mainstream environmental groups including the Sierra Club, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth have all released statements of solidarity with the racial justice movement. But our solidarity was tested last weekend when front line climate activists stood in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement at a peaceful protest in Baton Rouge.
Two of our friends, Cherri Foytlin and Karen Savage, were arrested and held for more than 24 hours. They have since been released but more than eight others do not have the finances to cover bail and legal fees. This is personal for me. Cherri is a close friend and one of my best teachers. I spoke with her as soon as she was released and when she told me about the treatment of activists while detained, I could not believe what I was hearing. Climate allies have been maced in their cells when they sang in solidarity, refused basic medication and even toilet paper.2 We have to stand with our sisters and brothers in struggle. Please click here to donate $25 or more to assist our friends in Louisiana.
Of all the environmental leaders who offered comments of solidarity, one of my favorites came from my friend Erich Pica who said, "I hope that Black Lives Matter and folks who are campaigning for racial justice hold the environmental community accountable for the words we are saying now and the actions we say we are going to be taking."1 I could not agree more, and we can show that we are accountable and in solidarity with our climate and racial justice friends who are under siege. Please click here and donate whatever you can to help our friends, our sisters and our brothers with bail money and legal fees so that they can be freed to fight another day.
Together in Struggle,
Anthony for Environmental Action
1. Bravender, Robin. Greens Go Off-Message to Black Lives Matter. E and E Publishing, LLC. July 12, 2016.
2. Quigley, Bill. Baton Rouge: "Put Those Damn Weapons Down." Huffington Post. July 12, 2016.
Photo Credit: Julie Dermansky