Appropriation of Climate Justice and Intersectionality by Mainstream Environmentalists: Challenges, Opportunities & Concerns

Originally presented as a workshop at the 2015 Left Forum, Sunday, May 31 | 12:00 – 1:50 PM

Left Forum Workshop V1 (1)

In 2014, the climate movement went mainstream in the US. Organizers of the People’s Climate March, aiming for a large turnout, tirelessly engaged groups across every organizing identity—encouraging each group to connect their struggles to the climate crisis. Concurrently, as the #BlackLivesMatters movement swept the country, several mainstream environmental organizations released solidarity statements. What does it mean for mainstream environmentalists to adopt an ‘intersectional’ practice and enter these dialogues? How do we move intersectionality into the fabric of how we organize, as opposed to another check box on our ‘good organizing’ list? The marginalization of queer and trans* people of color (QT*POC) within the climate movement—the silence around how these communities will be disparately impacted by climate change and the disregard of the radical contributions QT*POC liberation offers the climate movement— highlights the importance of challenging, deepening and expanding the mainstream climate movement’s intersectional analysis. Climate change is a threat-multiplier, endangering our material, physical and spiritual wellbeing. Our response must be radical. How can we adapt to ensure our wellbeing, while also transgressing systems of oppression that historically and currently exploit communities based on indigeneity, race, gender, ability and national origin? How do we responsibly learn from and center communities carrying wisdom from legacies fighting for survival and/or against deeply rooted oppressive systems? How do we productively, respectfully and collaboratively confront the neoliberal solutions championed by many mainstream climate activists?

On Sunday May 31st, 2015, we co-facilitated a workshop to provide a space for deep dialogue on the current state of the climate movement. We are happy to share curriculum and further resources from this workshop.

Workshop Documents:

May 31st Left Forum Workshop:

  • Notes documented from the workshop that took place on May 31st. Includes participants’ responses to the gallery walk, our collective brainstorm of challenges/concerns and opportunities, and notes captured in some of the scenario breakout groups.
  • Video: This workshop was recorded and edited by a wonderful volunteer videographer, Julie Ludwig from Paper Tiger TV. Enjoy!

    CLIMATE APPROPRIATION from Paper Tiger TV on Vimeo.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s