Quotes from BIPOC environmentalists
October 21, 2021 8:26 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for inspiring quotes about the power and importance of the natural world, but all I can find are Emerson, Thoreau, Muir, apocryphal Native American quotes, and assorted cliches. What are some good quotes from modern-day environmentalists from historically excluded groups?
posted by BuddhaInABucket to Science & Nature (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: To answer my own question, in case anyone else is interested: This Daedalus article about traditional ecological knowledge is full of the kind of thing I'm looking for.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 8:40 AM on October 21, 2021

Best answer: I don't see a single file of pull quotes (though I'm still looking around their site), but Emergence is a fabulous source of BIPOC quotes, essays, poetry, and more.

Here are some from Robin Wall Kimmerer, though.
posted by jquinby at 8:43 AM on October 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

You might look at some of the previous winners of the Goldman Prize, which is an award given each year to environmental activists. It’s a global award so the recipients tend to be diverse.

Berta Cáceres, a recipient who was later assassinated, had some very powerful quotes about the relationship between capitalism, machismo, and environmental destruction.
posted by lunasol at 9:12 AM on October 21, 2021

There are isolated quotes/memes from Wangari Maathai all over (Google Images) but if you want to be safe in assuring that you get her actual words, this page has a nice collection of her speeches and articles.
posted by dlugoczaj at 9:21 AM on October 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

You can learn more about Hazel Johnson and her work with People for Community Recovery at their website. Ms. Johnson has passed away, but her daughter Cheryl continues the work.
posted by rdn at 9:21 AM on October 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

You might find something good from Shalanda Baker who holds the newly created position of Deputy Director for Energy Justice at the US Department of Energy. She has a new book, and has given lots of interviews over the years.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 9:36 AM on October 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

I don't have specific quotes, but I enjoy the work of Dr. Drew Lanham, a Black ornithologist.
posted by nathaole at 9:42 AM on October 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

Environmentalism is, of course, a western construct. In Aboriginal Australia, the oldest continuous culture on earth >60,000 years where people have continued to pass on stories of shifting coastlines from the last one or two ice-ages, 'environmentalism' is just life with an intrinsic interweaving of deep spiritual connections to Country. Capital C Country denotes the land, the sky, the waters including seas and oceans, plus all the critters and plants that reside therein.

The Yankunytjatjara people of central Australia, one of over 500 nations on the Australian continent, have a concept called Kanyini.
The word Kanyini means responsibility and unconditional love for all of creation and it envelops the four principles of aboriginal life:

Tjukurrpa – Creation Period (or what non-aboriginals call ‘dreamtime’)
Kurunpa – Spirit, Soul, Psyche
Walytja – Family, Kinship
Ngura – Land, Home, Place or Mother

Kanyini is best expressed in English as the combination of the two words ‘responsibility’ and ‘love’, but it is actually a relationship; it is an enormous caring with no limit – it has no timeframe: it is eternal. Our purpose is to live with the Kanyini principles of unconditional, unlimited love. After all, that is what we get from Earth Mother; that is what we get from Sun Mother (female energy) and that is what we get from Moon Father (male energy). They look after everything – in the realm of caring by these two mothers, all are brothers and sisters! It makes everything so easy and so natural.

Of course ‘family’ doesn’t just apply to humans: it applies to all life – our family extends to all species and is inclusive of everything. Our Earth Mother is all of our mothers; we don’t just have one mother – everything is Mother. Earth Mother has a sister, the Sun, and these two are responsible for all beings on Earth, in our way of thinking. When you grow up in that system you feel utterly secure because you belong to all that there is, and all that there is belongs to you.
See also https://kanyini.org/kanyini-principles/
posted by Thella at 1:51 PM on October 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

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