Earth Day and Environmental Justice

A selection of books exploring environmental justice.

Last Friday was Earth Day, the anniversary of the modern environmental movement. If you're interested in learning more about the environmental justice movement check out these books in OPL's collection.

Our History is the Future Black Faces White Spaces Waste As Long as Grass Grows                                                  

Rooted in the Earth The World in Her Hands Gathering Moss The Home Place                   

Earth Guardians Winning the Green New Deal Trace A Terrible Thing to Waste

Our history is the future : Standing Rock versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the long tradition of indigenous resistance / Nick Estes
In Our History Is the Future, Nick Estes traces traditions of Indigenous resistance that led to the #NoDAPL movement.

Black faces, white spaces : reimagining the relationship of African Americans to the great outdoors / Carolyn Finney
Why are African Americans so underrepresented when it comes to interest in nature, outdoor recreation, and environmentalism? In this thought-provoking study, Carolyn Finney looks beyond the discourse of the environmental justice movement to examine how the natural environment has been understood, commodified, and represented by both white and black Americans.

Waste : one woman's fight against America's dirty secret / Catherine Coleman Flowers ; foreword by Bryan Stevenson
MacArthur “genius” Catherine Coleman Flowers grew up in Lowndes County, Alabama, a place that's been called “Bloody Lowndes” because of its violent, racist history. Once the epicenter of the voting rights struggle, today it's Ground Zero for a new movement that is Flowers's life's work. It's a fight to ensure human dignity through a right most Americans take for granted: basic sanitation.

As long as grass grows : the indigenous fight for environmental justice, from colonization to Standing Rock / Dina Gilio-Whitaker
Through the unique lens of “Indigenized environmental justice,” Indigenous researcher and activist Dina Gilio-Whitaker explores the fraught history of treaty violations, struggles for food and water security, and protection of sacred sites, while highlighting the important leadership of Indigenous women in this centuries-long struggle.

Rooted in the earth : reclaiming the African American environmental heritage / Dianne D. Glave
In Rooted in the Earth, environmental historian Dianne D. Glave overturns the stereotype that a meaningful attachment to nature and the outdoors is contrary to the black experience. In tracing the history of African Americans' relationship with the environment, emphasizing the unique preservation-conservation aspect of black environmentalism, and using her storytelling skills to re-create black naturalists of the past, Glave reclaims the African American heritage of the land.

The earth in her hands : 75 extraordinary women working in the world of plants / Jennifer Jewell
Jennifer Jewell—host of public radio’s award-winning program and podcast Cultivating Place—introduces 75 inspiring women. Working in wide-reaching fields that include botany, floral design, landscape architecture, farming, herbalism, and food justice, these influencers are creating change from the ground up.Profiled women include flower farmer Erin Benzakein; codirector of Soul Fire Farm Leah Penniman; plantswoman Flora Grubb; edible and cultural landscape designer Leslie Bennett; Caribbean-American writer and gardener Jamaica Kincaid; soil scientist Elaine Ingham; landscape designer Ariella Chezar; floral designer Amy Merrick, and many more.

Gathering moss : a natural and cultural history of mosses / by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Robin Wall Kimmerer's book is not an identification guide, nor is it a scientific treatise. Rather, it is a series of linked personal essays that will lead general readers and scientists alike to an understanding of how mosses live and how their lives are intertwined with the lives of countless other beings. Drawing on her experiences as a scientist, a mother, and a Native American, Kimmerer explains the stories of mosses in scientific terms as well as in the framework of indigenous ways of knowing. In her book, the natural history and cultural relationships of mosses become a powerful metaphor for ways of living in the world.

The Home place : memoirs of a colored man's love affair with nature / J. Drew Lanham
Dating back to slavery, Edgefield County, South Carolina―a place “easy to pass by on the way somewhere else”―has been home to generations of Lanhams. In The Home Place, readers meet these extraordinary people, including Drew himself, who over the course of the 1970s falls in love with the natural world around him. As his passion takes flight, however, he begins to ask what it means to be “the rare bird, the oddity.”

We rise : the earth guardians guide to building a movement that restores the planet / Xiuhtezcatl Martinez with Justin Spizman
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is a 16-year-old climate activist, hip-hop artist, and powerful new voice on the frontlines of a global youth-led movement. He and his group the Earth Guardians believe that today’s youth will play an important role in shaping our future. They know that the choices made right now will have a lasting impact on the world of tomorrow, and people—young and old—are asking themselves what they can do to ensure a positive, just, and sustainable future. We Rise tells these stories and addresses the solutions.

Winning the green new deal : why we must, how we can / edited by Varshini Prakash & Guido Girgenti of the Sunrise Movement
In Winning a Green New Deal, leading youth activists, journalists, and policymakers explain why we need a transformative agenda to avert climate catastrophe, and how our movement can organize to win. Featuring essays by Varshini Prakash, cofounder of Sunrise Movement; Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Green New Deal policy architect; Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize–winning economist; Bill McKibben, internationally renowned environmentalist; Mary Kay Henry, the President of the Service Employees International Union, and others we’ll learn why the climate crisis cannot be solved unless we also confront inequality and racism, how movements can redefine what’s politically possible and overcome the opposition of fossil fuel billionaires, and how a Green New Deal will build a just and thriving economy for all of us.

Trace : a journey through memory, history, and the American land / Lauren Edith Savoy
One life-defining lesson Lauret Savoy learned as a young girl was this: the American land did not hate. As an educator and Earth historian, she has tracked the continent's past from the relics of deep time; but the paths of ancestors toward her--paths of free and enslaved Africans, colonists from Europe, and peoples indigenous to this land--lie largely eroded and lost. In this provocative and powerful mosaic of personal journeys and historical inquiry across a continent and time, Savoy explores how the country's still unfolding history, and ideas of 'race,' have marked her and the land.

A terrible thing to waste : environmental racism and its assault on the American mind / Harriet A. Washington
Washington demonstrates how environmental racism influences the racial IQ gap and explains what needs to be done to remedy its effects on marginalized communities.

Descriptions provided by the publishers.