Racism, Genocide, and Care of the Environment

I’m sitting near a fireplace on a beautiful farm in Wisconsin (USA), watching the snow melt slowly, after I’ve been to a wonderful Pre-World Conference.

I’m thinking about all the good work we’ve done so far on care of the environment. We can be pleased with how we’ve helped awareness grow and gotten our own minds clearer about moving the work forward.

This past weekend Tim Jackins talked in a wonderful way about the environment and next steps. I got to work together with Diane Shisk and learn from both her and Tim. That helped me discharge internalized Frisian fear, which I need to be free of to lead as boldly as I want to, and contradicted feelings of discouragement and hopelessness.

A big highlight of the conference was a topic group in which the people targeted by racism and genocide shared how they and their peoples and lands had been affected by environmental degradation. All the white people attended—none of them chose a different group, as this was clearly the most important. To me it was a key step forward; care-of-the-environment work was moving ahead in RC as I’d always hoped it would.

The next day Diane Shisk and I led a well-attended early-morning class for white people. I talked about racism in general, and Diane added thoughts about environmental racism. After mini-sessions, Diane shared a statement written by Aboriginal people (see page five of the April 2013 Present Time). She also talked about the difference between racism and genocide: racism is about exploiting people for the cheapest possible labour; genocide is about taking land and wiping out1 the people who live on it. That was important information, and many people came to me afterward to say so. Also, for many people, something about care of the environment was the highlight of the conference.

I will write more later, but now I have a question: What do you think is key for RC when it comes to2 ending environmental racism and genocide? And how could that be in the interest of your own liberation? Please have sessions on this and respond. Our discussion list needs to be active during this period leading up to the World Conference. All of our thinking is needed on a more specific goal for care of the environment.

Mei in protte leafde3 (with much love),

Wytske Visser
International Commonality Reference
Person for the Care of the Environment
Fryslan, the Netherlands
Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders in the care of the environment


1 “Wiping out” means destroying.
2 “When it comes to” means regarding.
3 “With much love” in Frisian


Last modified: 2017-04-06 16:01:36-07