Reading List: Nature and Racism


Shadows IX, Set 1, 2, 3 and 4, 1980. All artworks © Charles Gaines

As part of our ongoing commitment to being anti-racist and supporting Black Lives Matter, Graen has compiled a list of resources for readers to learn more about the links between nature and racism. This is an initial list and far from exhaustive, one that will be added to as we learn more.



I Don't Belong Here by Claire Ratinon

'We POC growers and gardeners are in the minority and are virtually invisible in the collective imagination of who is expected to work with plants, be outdoors and feel connected to nature in the UK. When you scratch beneath the surface, the tentacles of colonialism can be found in abundance.'

Why Every Environmentalist Should Be Anti-Racist by Leah Thomas

'Intersectional environmentalism is an inclusive version of environmentalism that advocates for both the protection of people and the planet. It identifies the ways in which injustices happening to marginalized communities and the earth are interconnected. It brings injustices done to the most vulnerable communities, and the earth, to the forefront and does not minimize or silence social inequality.'

'Racial Justice Is Climate Justice': Why The Climate Movement Needs To Be Anti-Racist by Frederick Hewett

'...the movement for a transition to a decarbonized economy cannot succeed until there are structural changes in society to redress centuries of systemic racism.'

Climate Activists: Here's Why Your Work Depends on Ending Police Violence by Dany Sigwalt

'To win on climate, we have to challenge and upend the power structures that have allowed the behemoth of state violence and racial injustice. We have to reshape the system that has allowed us to arrive at this climate crisis to begin with.' 

Racism, Police Violence, and the Climate Are Not Separate Issues by Bill McKibben

 '...having a racist and violent police force in your neighborhood is a lot like having a coal-fired power plant in your neighborhood. And having both? And maybe some smoke pouring in from a nearby wildfire? African-Americans are three times as likely to die from asthma as the rest of the population. “I Can’t Breathe” is the daily condition of too many people in this country. '

I'm a black climate expert. Racism derails our efforts to save the planet by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

'Climate work is hard and heartbreaking as it is. Many people don’t feel the urgency, or balk at the initial cost of transitioning our energy infrastructure, without considering the cost of inaction. Many fail to grasp how dependent humanity is on intact ecosystems. When you throw racism and bigotry in the mix, it becomes something near impossible.'

The climate crisis is racist. The answer is anti-racism by Eric Holthaus

'Climate change is racist because the system that caused it is racist. No, rainstorms don’t care about skin colour, but worsening weather worldwide aggravates the divisions in society that already exist because it hits people of colour living in poverty the hardest. Simply put: the reason the world hasn’t been fighting climate change as hard as it should is because powerful people don’t want to stop exploiting people of colour. The urgency of climate change is also an urgency for racial justice.'