“Then YHWH took the earth creature and settled it in the garden of Eden so that it might cultivate and care for the land. . . . Then YHWH said, “It is not good for the earth creature to be alone. I will make a fitting companion for it.” -Genesis 2:15, 18,The Inclusive Bible
193 countries recognize April 22nd as International Mother Earth Day. Here in the US it is simply called Earth Day. And, regardless of skin color or ethnicity, people realize this is our only home, and we must all take care of it.
Black and indigenous people have suffered environmental hazards and abuses disproportionately. However, their experiences are not confined or limited only to their neighborhoods or properties or families. Air, water, and soil contamination know no boundaries.
Countless individuals and organizations do important, but unheralded, work fostering environmental equity.
The Hattie Carthan Garden Youth Corps works intergenerationally for healthy nutrition in low-income communities by teaching and sharing skills in agricultural and marketing practices.
Dr. Margaret Redsteer, a Crow tribal member, has been studying the increase in drought and dust storms caused by climate change and particularly the effects on vegetation. She has focused primarily on tribal lands in the southwest but drought and dust storms don’t stop at tribal borders.
Angelou Ezeilo, based on her life and work in New Jersey, is the founder of the Greening Youth Foundation. GYF teaches children and young adults in under-served communities about the environment by giving them access and hands-on training in Mother Nature through its Public School Initiative and Youth Conservation Corps. It is those personal experiences that will strengthen young people’s commitment to protecting the environment.
Brett Isaac of the Navajo tribe is a solar entrepreneur. Dallas Goldtooth of the Dakota and Dine tribes is a humorist. Both participate in the natural gas pipeline protests in North Dakota. Brett set up solar power for all the needs of the protesters. Dallas offered humor to help both sides better understand one another. Two different and gentler ways to protest.
There are lessons for us all.