Racism and Care of the Environment

A hundred Co-Counselors, forty-five percent of them people of the global majority, attended the recent Racism and Care of the Environment Workshop led by Barbara Love and Diane Shisk[1] in Warwick, New York, USA. The following are some of the points that were made:

  • There is a deadline for ending oppression. We have a fifteen- to fifty-year window for ending classism and changing the economic system. Millions of lives are at stake. We need masses of people on the streets, shaking the structures.
  • We can’t wait for racism and other oppressions (all rooted in classism) to end before we take on[2] caring for the environment. They all have to be worked on simultaneously. We need to (1) identify where we feel connected to care of the environment and our constituency and start discharging there, (2) have sessions on “Are you kidding? I have to discharge on this, too?” (3) remember that our feelings are from early times, including feelings of panic and urgency.
  • Our distress recordings have had us spending our lives making things go better for ourselves and for others as reformists instead of revolutionaries.
  • We need to work on early terror and defeats (that paralyze us or have us constantly “doing”) at the same time as we decide and act in the wide world (which will bring up more feelings for discharge). Be ready for lots of defeats! Being defeated doesn’t mean we’ve done anything wrong. There are large forces opposing change.
  • We need to build RC. We need to lead up-front and center. Leading from behind and not getting noticed won’t move us forward.
  • The destruction of the environment disproportionately impacts people of the global majority. Their communities also bear a disproportionate share of repairing the destruction and overcoming the “whiteness” of the green movement.
  • Climate change is the biggest human rights violation that has ever happened.
  • The United States has five percent of the world’s population and contributes twenty percent of global carbon emissions, of which eighty to ninety percent comes from use of fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal).
  • At the rate we are going, by the year 2050 the earth’s average temperature will have increased by 3.6 degrees, which will translate into six million deaths annually.
  • There are still 7.5 trillion dollars’ worth of fossil fuels in the ground that we can’t burn if we’re going to survive.
  • It would be interesting to connect the anti-war and environmental movements.

Berta Ramos-Ramirez
New York, New York, USA

[1] Barbara Love is the International Liberation Reference Person for African-Heritage People. Diane Shisk is the Alternate International Reference Person for the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities.[2] “Take on” means undertake.


Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00