00:00 – 00:40 – Intro

00:41 – 01:10 – Intersectional Theory by Kimberlé W. Crenshaw

01:11 – 02:04 –  What is environmental justice?

02:05 – 04:29 – Circling back to the things that matter

04:30 – 04:45 – Outro

Show Notes

Kimberlé Crenshaw – Kimberlé W. Crenshaw is a pioneering scholar and writer on civil rights, critical race theory, Black feminist legal theory, and race, racism and the law. In addition to her position at Columbia Law School, she is a Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Earth Day – Earth Day is an annual event on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection.



Ben Hurst  0:01  

Welcome to climate quickies, bite sized nuggets of climate goodness from our TEDx London experts in under five minutes.

Maryam Pasha  0:09  

In this week’s climate Quickie, we’re taking a look at a super cool emerging School of climate thinking that puts people at the heart of climate action is called intersectional environmentalism. And it can help us to dismantle systems of oppression across race, gender, class, and identity. Let’s head over to the autonomous author and the founder of the intersectional environmentalists to tell us more. And remember, stay curious.

Intersectional Theory by Kimberlé W. Crenshaw

Leah Thomas  0:40  

intersectional theory was created by Dr. Kimberly Crenshaw in 1989. And it’s all about overlapping identities and things like that. At first, it was applied to feminism because it was really important to look at the ways blackness and womanhood intersected. Fast forward to now I think we should do the same thing with environmentalism and consider the ways identity, things like race and class impact someone’s experience with the natural world around them. 

What is environmental justice?

For context, environmental justice, as a field of study has existed since the 70s, or the 80s. And it was inspired by both the US Civil Rights Movement and the earthday movement at the time, kind of combining those two ideas. So environmental justice, which looks into racial inequality, classism, and environmental hazards and outcomes, has existed for a long time but hasn’t been met positively. I would say, a lot of people, whether it’s due to naivete or just blatant racism often would say, environmentalism exists way over here, and civil rights and social justice exists over here. But that’s not the case as many lower income folks and black and brown people around the world can see very clearly because they don’t have clean air or water.

 Circling back to the things that matter

So I think navigating academia as oftentimes the only black woman, so both of those dual identities, and, you know, science, I was often met with whether it was subtle gaslighting, or just being very dismissive. Even some corporations I worked at, I would try to say, we really need to prioritise environmental justice. And in essence, it would always come down to maybe later. And that’s something that you can see throughout all sorts of movements throughout history, where black and brown folks are told that our liberation can maybe come later, you’ve seen that in the feminist movement, which is why we have intersectional feminism. Now, when back in the day, many white woman said, race that’s a little too tricky, or LGBTQ plus liberation, that’s a little true, too tricky. Maybe if white women are liberated, we can come back and circle back to black and brown woman. But the fact of the matter is, they don’t circle back to us. So we’ve had to create our own movements and things like that. So I haven’t always been met with positive reception. But in 2020, and again, that was five years later, people started coming around. And I think honestly, it was because of public pressure. The Black Lives Matter movement was trending in a really major way. And all of a sudden, a lot of environmental organisations were like, We need to say something, we have to say something. And it does make me a little sad that they started speaking up because they felt like they had to, because they could have been speaking up since the 80s.

There’s so much harm when people think that racial justice and social justice have nothing to do with environmentalism, it’s leading to horrible horrible outcomes that you all are probably so familiar with. But people of colour folks in the global south low income people bearing the brunt of the climate crisis. So yeah, I don’t want it to be so hard for future black and brown folks. And representation is so important and belonging because it instils a sense of confidence that you can’t tell me anything and like, I want people to have that confidence. So they know, hey, even if it’s not in your little community, there’s a whole world of people of colour, who love the Earth and you go into this field with confidence to know that you belong here.


Ben Hurst  4:29  

Thanks for listening to this quickie.

Maryam Pasha  4:32  

This episode was created by our superstar podcast team at TEDx London. Until next time, stay curious.

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