Each day of the month of April leading up to Earth Day (April 22), I will be offering a suggestion for how we can really honor the Earth this year. This list will go beyond the usual suggestions to change your light bulbs and take shorter showers. Instead, the focus is on collective action working toward radical social change.
While climate change affects us all, there are some populations who are more vulnerable than others, including low-income communities, communities of color, coastal communities, and communities on the front lines of fossil fuel extraction. One way you can honor the Earth this Earth Day is to fight for front line communities.
Start by finding a front line organization near you and offer to support their work. Ask them what kind of help they need and take direction from them. Search for stories, research, and data about climate change on a local level. Find ways to support struggles in other neighborhoods, in other countries, and on indigenous peoples’ land—especially if those people don’t look or talk like you.Support ways to keep our human population below the carrying capacity of the planet that do not unfairly burden the poor and underprivileged, like supporting programs that provide easy access to voluntary birth control, and equal access to education and work for women. Support organizations like Planned Parenthood, Girl Rising, and The Greenbelt Movement.
And don’t blame the poor. How many shantytown dwellers and subsistence farmers do you have to add up to equal the ecological impact of a single high-powered executive? Remember that it is the ruling class that controls the options available to poor people, and whose policies, consumption habits and ideology responsible for the climate crisis.