Intersectional Environmentalist, Activist, and Eco-communicator, Leah Thomas truly Honors Mother Earth with every step she takes. As environmentalists ourselves, we are eager to understand and expand our own advocacy. Leah so clearly articulates why it is important and necessary to make that distinction—why the “intersectional” piece has been missing from the work of so many people, and how to begin to include it in our own endeavors. A force for good in this world, we look to Leah for guidance, inspiration, and knowledge. May we all be Intersectional Environmentalists after reading her words.
You are an Intersectional Environmentalist - can you explain what that term means and how you found your way to this path?
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.
I came to this term after exploring intersectional feminism, a type of feminism that also advocates for BIPOC women and doesn't silence the very real differences that exist within how different women are viewed or treated by society. If my feminism is intersectional, then I want my environmentalism to be too. As a black environmentalist, I can't really choose to ignore my identity and how black and brown communities face the most environmental injustices. I studied environmental science and policy in college and was very involved in the Black Lives Matter movement in 2014 after the uprisings in Ferguson, not far from my home, while I was in school. It just became really obvious to me that all these systems of oppression were connected and the same. To fight for social justice is to fight for the protection of the environment and vice versa.
You are working on what you describe as “a platform for resources, information and action steps to support intersectional environmentalism and dismantle systems of oppression in the environmental movement.” Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Yes! I just launched intersectionalenvironmentalist.com @IntersectionalEnvironmentalist on Instagram, with the help of some amazing environmental activists namely @SustainableSabs and @Diandramarizet who worked tirelessly to build and launch version one of the site within a week. Because I defined the term intersectional environmentalist (I feel hesitant to say I'm the first because I’m sure others have used this terminology), I feel a sense of responsibility to provide as many resources as possible for people to practice environmentalism in this way. So the site will help people explore what it means to be an environmentalist through the lense of several different identities and topics. We hope to dismantle the systems of oppression in the environmental group with knowledge, exposure and regular conversations.
How do you incorporate regenerative practices in your
daily practice? What is the easiest way to
begin on the journey to leading a regenerative life?
I love the word regenerative and also regenerative agriculture. It made me happy to hear Christy Dawn is using regeneratively grown cotton! In daily practice, outside of the agriculture terminology, I try to live a more regenerative life by making sure to nourish my soul so I can really focus on activism. I need to make sure my “soil” or foundation is healthy and that I'm balanced, so I can help create change and help lift up other voices of people that are trying to create change.
How do you Honor Mother Earth?
I try to honor Mother Earth by being intentional about how I navigate my existence in the world and reduce my negative impact. I'm imperfect, but I try my best to shop sustainable and ethically and leave very little behind.