Lack of Black Representation in the Green Community

A wise frog once said, “It’s not easy being green.” That rings true for a lot of us. Especially for the Black community. My counter to that has always been “Why?”

Over the last few years, to no surprise of my mother (she’s always thought I was a little different), I decided to start implementing green changes in my life to be more eco-friendly. At first it was simple things like recycling more, being mindful of my water waste and volunteering with environmental projects. Then it escalated to calculating my carbon footprint, shopping at farmers markets, repurposing discarded items I found and then eventually reaching a level where I was using reusable feminine hygiene products, sewing my own curtains and dumpster diving.

During this green journey, some people in the Black community have side-eyed and even poked fun at me for one reason or another. While non-POC (People of Color) seem to take it more in stride. I carefully thought back to all the times I was at Whole Foods or doing a downward dog in my yoga class or just reading a magazine on green living. There was little to no representation of Black people let alone Black girls.

Had they been living under a rock during our natural hair movement? Didn’t they realize that snake-oiling us with toxic chemicals for our hair wasn’t going to work anymore? Were they expecting us to stop there— to give our hair the naturally needed attention it deserved but let our bodies and inner well- being hang by the hydrogenated trans fat wayside? I know there are other Black girls out there trying to live more green, but they feel isolated in their attempt to do so for one reason or another.

There are some who will read this and say, “Who cares what the media thinks! I’m doing my own thing,” and while that’s great, there are others who rely heavily on the media to tell them what’s “in” or those who are at an age where it is an extension of how they are learning about the world and the people in it. Going green is an act some might not be aware is an option.

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