In recent years, climate activism and sustainable living have been steadily becoming more mainstream. After all, we’re only beginning to see the increasingly catastrophic effects of climate change, and the global pandemic revealed just how dependent we are on single-use plastic and other non-biodegradable materials. What is shaping more recent conversations about climate change, however, is how these changes are harming BIPOC communities at disproportionate rates than their white counterparts.
A 2019 report published by the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists found that out of the ten coal ash-dumping sites in the United States, six of them exist within three miles of low-income communities of color. Moreover, 68% percent of African Americans reside within 30 miles of a coal-burning power plant despite the fact that Black people only comprise 13% of the U.S. population.
Another study, published by the National Library of Medicine, found that when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast back in 2005, Black people over the age of 18 were two to four times more likely to have died due to the catastrophe.
No matter where you are in your climate activism and anti-environmental racism journey, you can learn from these amazing Black content creators who truly understand the task at hand.
Jhánneu is a low-waste expert who creates content on sustainable beauty, ethical fashion and intentional, low-impact living. You can catch her talking about zero waste bathroom swaps and sustainable, Black-owned businesses on her channel. Follow her on Instagram @jhanneu, where she posts tips regularly on how to live more sustainably.
A YouTuber who explores the “intersection between climate change and social justice,” Aime Bita talks about everything from environmental racism to intersectional environmentalism. Bita also posts videos on transitioning into a more sustainable lifestyle, such as this video on sustainability habits and mindsets you can incorporate into your daily life. Follow her on Twitter @aime_maggie or on Instagram @aimemaggie.
Tyler Chanel, creator of website and YouTube channel “Thrifts and Tangles,” is an ethical lifestyle blogger and model who makes videos on thrifting, sustainability and “giving your natural self a chance.” In other videos on her channel, she shares tips on thrifting and how to have a sustainable trip at Disneyland. You can check out her blog at Thrifts and Tangles or follow her on Instagram @thriftsandtangles.
abetweene, a YouTube channel created by Ariane, focuses on helping viewers live sustainably by sharing DIY tutorials and other sustainable life hack videos. Aside from “making everything around her beautiful,” she also creates videos on food, like this video on what you can do with food waste. You can follow her on Instagram @abetweene.
Jazmine Rogers, a sustainable fashion and lifestyle vlogger, creates content about her life, love for fashion and journey to living a low-impact life. You can find her on YouTube talking about fashion, from reviewing ethical underwear brands to offering tips on how to sustainably incorporate this year’s fashion trends into your wardrobe. Follow her on Instagram @thatcurlytop.
Environmental justice goes beyond living a sustainably-aligned lifestyle and requires a lot more than cutting out plastic from our day-to-day lives. As a first step to fighting inequality, we must acknowledge both the impacts of our small actions and the systems that pollute our environment through the lens of those most marginalized and harmed.
Do you have any Black sustainable YouTubers you’d recommend subscribing to who weren’t on the list? Leave a comment down below or tweet @MochiMag!