“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” – Maya Angelou
I am a young black woman, and I am just one of many sharing the message that taking action to tackle climate issues matters. I know my words and actions can influence others to think about, and hopefully, act on lifestyle changes that will stop hurting the environment.
Ultimately, I know that increasing diversity within the climate change movement will be one of the reasons that we succeed in protecting our health and our planet for generations to come. The climate movement, as well as all things related to sustainable living is seeing major growth in the area of diversity. People from different races, backgrounds, cultures, professions, neighborhoods – they’re all determined to make positive changes.
As a new mom, I feel it is my duty to learn from what I have experienced and witnessed throughout my life. Growth resulting from knowledge is one of the ways I better myself. And I hope that it influences my child to be his best self, too. The significance of seeing black people in all roles is crucial for my son Greyson, who is 2 years old and biracial. I want to expose him to leaders of all genders and races. I’m starting at home, by being the change I want to see. Sustainability isn’t often thought of as a field where black people are change-makers. But I’m excited to see a big shift happening right before my eyes. The people I see caring about the planet are coming from all walks of life.
One of the things I’ve learned is that our environment and our lifestyles have a lot of power to influence the direction of our lives. Climate inaction can breed entire unhealthy cities. An unhealthy city with man-made issues that causes ailments affects life expectancy, education, and even one’s outlook on life. Not working to take care of the earth’s precious resources often results in not only killing off thriving ecosystems, but also harming the humans in those environments. The fact that Flint, Michigan still doesn’t have clean water is proof of that.
As a black woman in America, representation matters so much to me. Growing up in the 1990s and 2000s, there was the rise of black women in all sectors. This representation inspires me. But it still has a long way to go.
For instance, I may never personally know anyone, especially not any people of color, fighting for clean air regulations or for sustainable and healthy alternatives in the small town that nearly 90% of my extended family called home.
My family has been riddled with sickness for all of my life, even before I was born. One of my Grannies died as a result of years of battling lung cancer, breast cancer, asthma, and other respiratory issues. My other Granny died as a result of years fighting diabetes. My own mother passed away from cancer at a very young age as well. These health issues are heavily influenced by access to knowledge about healthy living, lifestyle choices, air and water quality, and the overall state of the environment.
For example, asthma, which can be caused by air pollutants, has become more common since the quality of the air worldwide has gotten worse. I highly doubt that my Grannies knew much about how air pollution could have negatively impacted their respiratory systems. But now I have this information. When you know better, you also choose better. I choose to show Greyson that living a healthy lifestyle and being an advocate for climate action is normal and necessary. Choosing to take action won’t end all sickness, and it won’t stop people from having cancer, but it will definitely improve the lives of many.
Education doesn’t only happen in classrooms. It can happen any moment you converse with another human. Siblings educate each other, parents and children learn from each other, and neighbors spread knowledge to each other. When people and communities have access to more knowledge about climate change, sustainable living, and healthier lifestyle choices, they can teach each other to flourish.
Education + Diverse Representation = Elevation
Moms are some of the most influential humans ever. Together, armed with our diverse life experiences, critical knowledge, and initiative to create a healthy world for our children, we can spark innovative strides in climate action. The feeling of being supported by like-minded change-makers is so critical for the climate change movement. It is invigorating and reassuring. This is why I am excited to join Moms Clean Air Force. I hope you’ll join us too!
Addie Fisher is a sustainable living enthusiast and influencer. Drawing on her previous years of eco-friendly lifestyle changes and blogging experience, Addie gives advice on making easy sustainable lifestyle choices, and shares thrifty and vintage fashion trends on her personal blog, Old World New. As a new mother, she has channeled her love for being green into Tiny Green Earthling, where she writes about sustainable and healthy living for children and parents, as well as educational and literary tips through the TGE Kids’ Book Club. Addie is married to Joshua and they have one son, Greyson, and two pups.