Reketta Peterson joins me from Fairbanks, Alaska to talk about how we may be promoting anti-blackness in sustainability, without even knowing it. Reketta is a BIPOC health equity consultant, an author, and a therapist. She’s passionate about bringing people together and sparking conversations about anti-blackness and inclusivity.
There were many strong words that came up in our conversation, and I thought it would be good to call them out here as food for thought as we talk about anti-blackness in sustainability: resistance, dismissive, inclusive, perspective, awareness, struggle, autonomy.
Reketta urges us to pay attention to our language when we speak, with a special focus on how what we’re saying is being received. Is the person we’re talking to feeling small or unheard? Are they losing their sense of autonomy, and are we controlling what their actions should be?
4 Simple Ideas to Make a Difference:
1. IS THERE ANYONE ELSE WHO SHOULD BE INVITED? When we hold the seats to who is invited to a conversation, we can ask ourselves: “Did I bring in a diverse group of people, who will bring a wide range of perspectives?” We can push ourselves to invite as many people to the conversation as possible.
2. ASK PEOPLE WHAT THEY PREFER, AND LISTEN. An easy way to break the ice is to ask people questions about themselves. How do they prefer that people refer to them? What struggles are they facing? We can learn so much by listening and not dismissing what we’re being told.
3. WATCH OUR WORDS. The more that we pay attention to the words that we use and how they are received, the more we will cultivate an awareness of how we walk through the world. We can be more inclusive and allow others to make their own decisions more often when we do this.
4. LEARN MORE. When we’re met with a feeling of resistance, it could be an opportunity to learn more. We can research the topic and read articles from varying perspectives to help us understand what individual people may be going through.
What does Environmental Justice mean?
A quote from the New Mexico Department of Health:
“Environmental Justice is the right to a safe, healthy, productive, and sustainable environment for all, where “environment” is considered in its totality to include the:
- ecological (biological),
- physical (natural and built),
- and economic environments.
Environmental justice refers to the conditions in which such a right can be freely exercised, whereby individual and group identities, needs, and dignities are preserved, fulfilled, and respected in a way that provides for self actualization and personal and community empowerment. This term acknowledges environmental “injustice” as the past and present state of affairs and expresses the sociopolitical objectives needed to address them.”
Dr. Robert Bullard, known as the Father of Environmental Justice, has a website full of resources at DrRobertBullard.com. Learning more from him can help us all catch ways that we may be promoting anti-blackness in sustainability.
Follow up reading:
- “The rich, he went on, have a bigger carbon footprint than the poor…” and “Success is measured by the improvement in the environmental and economic health of the people who have borne the brunt of our carbon economy.” – Black Environmentalists Talk About Climate and Anti-Racism
- The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations – Dr. Dorceta E. Taylor
- Overpopulation and Environmentalism – Green Peace
- Paul Ehrlich’s “The Population Bomb” – The Book That Incited a Worldwide Fear of Overpopulation
- Eugenics and Birth Control
- White Veganism: Why Racism Should Have No Place in the Vegan Movement – We Are Restless
- Black farmers in the US: The opportunity for addressing racial disparities in farming
- America’s Women and the Wage Gap
- “Black women founders comprised just 0.2 percent of all venture deals…” – Melinda Gates Says VC Is Still a Boys’ Club
- Infant Mortality Rate Disparities in the United States
WATCH THE EPISODE:
Closed captioning transcript included in video. Subscribe on YouTube.
Reketta Peterson is a Licensed Professional Counselor, sex therapist, and health equity consultant located in the state of Alaska. Reketta teaches social and emotional learning to healthcare professionals to reduce emotional dysregulation and burnout, leading to stronger ties to their environment and community.
On a personal level, Reketta enjoys swimming and taking naps in her free time. You can find her at RSP Consulting, LLC.
Connect with Reketta:
The best place to connect with Reketta is via email at Reketta@RSPConsultingLLC.com.