Saturday, November 12, 2011

Black Environmentalist


By Norris McDonald

How can you be a Black environmentalist and deal with the fact that Blacks do not own energy infrastructure and resources in the USA?  Do you toe the traditionalist environmentalist company line, or do you think for yourself?  Do the traditional environmental organizations care about the lack of Black equity in the energy sector?  We think they do not care and will never work to promote African American energy infrastructure and resources ownership.

Thus, the Black environmentalist.  The environmentalist who must admit that Blacks do not own any of the entities that produce smog (okay we own cars but no car production companies) and global warming, yet who are expected to toe the conservationist line.  A race in America that consumes its share of energy resources, but owns none of the equity in any of those energy industries, is a race without equity.  And energy industries do not let you in. Nor is there access to the huge federal government energy subsidies. Okay.

Blacks have formed their own environmental organizations.  No use in waiting for the mainstream environmental groups to integrate.  But I must say that although they do hire black professionals, they do not seem to be able to retain them (except for the Sierra Club).  Green DMV, Green For All, and Black and Into Green, are three of the newer black-led environmental groups.  Lisa P. Jackson is the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Van Jones has made a name for himself.

Yet the rubber meets the road with public policy.  Does one blindly promote conservation when one's community has no ownership in the energy sector?  Should Blacks strictly stick to 'green' energy when it represents less than 2% of the electricity sector? What about international trade?  Black Africans and African Americans should, at a very minimum, be dominating the trade between these two continental cousins.

The Black environmentalist has some things to consider.

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