Sara Mersha, Director of Grantmaking and Advocacy at Grassroots International, recently authored “Black lives and climate justice: courage and power in defending communities and Mother Earth” for publication in Third World Quarterly.
This article shares examples of the leadership of Black communities and social movements in the struggle for climate justice, in four different parts of the world: resisting extraction and promoting community health in Nigeria; addressing extreme climate impacts and building people’s sovereignty in Haiti; confronting repression, defending territory and Mother Earth in Honduras; and cultivating community control and building a land-based movement in the US. Together, these examples have rich lessons to share around the importance of linking climate justice with racial justice; of combining strategies of resistance with those of creating alternative models; of maintaining focus on Black communities’ connections with land, territory and Mother Earth; of recognizing and creating space for women’s leadership; and of intersectionality across geography and sector.
The examples draw from the courageous and creative work of several Grassroots International partners, grantees, and allies, including the Health of Mother Earth Foundation in Nigeria, the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), the Peasant Movement of Papaye (MPP) and the Haitian Platform to Advocate Alternative Development (PAPDA) in Haiti, and Alternatives for Community and Environment, Movement Generation Justice and Ecology Project, and Cooperation Jackson in the US. We are grateful for the chance to learn from and with these organizations and the powerful movements they are building!