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Racism and Care of the Environment, in Trinidad and Tobago

Waveney Richards, the Regional[1] Reference Person for the Caribbean, led a weekend workshop here in Trinidad and Tobago that paralleled the Racism and Care of the Environment Workshop.[2] We followed the same schedule and used Skype to join in the main classes and Rudy’s[3] topic group on Ferguson.[4] Eight of us later shared our highlights. 

Chantal Esdelle
Tunapuna, Trinidad and Tobago

One highlight was seeing the relationship (due to colonialism and greed) between racism and the destruction of the environment. I came to the workshop believing they were two separate issues.

Barbara Love clarified that the global majority are the victims and not the perpetrators of environmental destruction.

In the next period I will focus on my lifestyle: my food, the degree of my consumerism, and making my spaces environmentally friendly.


 Highlights were Diane Shisk’s reminder that the powerlessness, hopelessness, and isolation we feel with regard to the environment come from early hurts, and Barbara’s reminder that looking at environmental destruction—like looking at racism, colonialism, genocide, and sexism—is a way in to discharging these feelings. 

Rudy’s description of the young people working for social change in Ferguson was powerful. I will use it when I feel overwhelmed about changing anything.

In the next period I will start making gardening a part of my life, so that I am actively reminded of my connection to the earth and people. 

Chantal Esdelle
Tunapuna, Trinidad and Tobago

Gillian, Johnny, and Akillah,[5] pioneers in thinking about the environment right here in our community, showed me that there is hope in Trinidad and Tobago.

I noticed the importance of the East Indian liberation support group I lead and decided to continue to lead it every second Saturday.

I will also keep thanking everything in the environment: hugging trees and thanking plants.

Angela Knights
Arima, Trinidad and Tobago

I understood the connection between racism and the environment.

Discharging on racism, colonialism, imperialism, anti-Jewish oppression, and care of the environment will help me to notice my connection with others in my Caribbean setting and to stand up and fight for myself, my earth, and my people. I will also start recycling in my community.

Kwynn Loregnard
Maraval, Trinidad and Tobago

 One highlight was the direction to create a relationship between a white person and a person of the global majority.

I will galvanize the permaculture[6] Gayap[7] tribe to link up with the Orinoco Foundation and move them toward creating Indigenous lifestyles in Trinidad and Tobago.

John Stollmeyer
St. Ann’s Watershed, Trinidad and Tobago

 One highlight for me was noticing how racism and environmental destruction go hand in hand—for example, in the placing of waste plants close to Indigenous and people-of-the-global-majority communities. Previously I had thought they were two different topics.

I will continue to work on discouragement and early defeats, as they make me feel stuck, paralyzed, and overwhelmed. I will also educate my students and their parents on ways they can contribute positively to the environment, for example, with recycling bins, and will lead a workshop on carbon footprints.

Natasha Joseph
Trinidad and Tobago

 I want to put more attention on the intersection of racism and the environment. I will find ways to make this part of our day-to-day process as Co-Counselors. I will also influence private clients on environmental care, and the political directorate on strategy.

Waveney Richards
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

 ] A Region is a subdivision of the International Re-evaluation Counseling Community, usually consisting of several Areas (local RC Communities).
[2] A workshop held in Warwick, New York, USA, in August 2015, led by Barbara Love, the International Liberation Reference Person for African-Heritage People, and Diane Shisk, the Alternate International Reference Person
[3] Rudy Nickens, the Regional Reference Person for Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska, USA
[4] Ferguson, Missouri, USA, where Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager, was fatally shot by a white police officer on August 9, 2014, setting off a protest movement there, and across the country, against the ongoing police brutality against Black people in the United States
[5] Gillian Goddard, who founded Sun Eaters and makes chocolate, a practice systematically removed from the Caribbean by Europeans;
John Stollmeyer, who leads permaculture work and the Orinoco Foundation; Akillah Jaramoogi, who leads the Fondes Amandes Community Reforestation Project
[6] Permaculture is the application of ecology to designing integrated systems of food production, housing, appropriate technology, and community development.
[7] The word “Gayap” comes from the Indigenous Karinya word kayapa, which describes the tradition of people getting together to complete a huge task, like clearing land, building a structure, or planting and reaping.

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00