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10 Black Environmentalists To Celebrate

There’s no denying the strong connection between climate change, the environment and racial injustice. But in this article, we want to celebrate environmentalists from our African-American community who are making strides towards the fight against climate change.

1. Van Jones


The Dream Corps was founded by Van Jones in 2014 to help cutting-edge initiatives grow big enough to impact millions of lives. They back initiatives that close prison doors and open doors of opportunity.

Dream Corps supports economic, environmental and criminal justice innovators – all under one roof. As the green jobs advisor to President Obama, he helped lead the inter-agency process that oversaw the multi-billion dollar investment in skills training and jobs development within the environmental and green energy sectors.

2. Savonala ‘Savi’ Horne


As a state, regional, and national non-governmental organization leader, Savi has been instrumental in addressing the needs of socially disadvantaged farmers and rural communities.

3. Dorceta Taylor


Taylor’s research has ranged over environmental history, environmental justice, environmental policy, leisure and recreation, gender and development, urban affairs, race relations, collective action and social movements, green jobs, diversity in the environmental field, food insecurity, and urban agriculture.

4. Tanya Fields


Tanya Fields is a young, budding activist and social entrepreneur based in the South Bronx. Tanya’s ultimate goal is to help facilitate ushering in a new democratic system that gives the power back to the communities, promote sustainability in environmental justice communities by investing in green collar jobs and economy and to head up her own non-for profit that would address these issues in a creative, funky and artistic way!

5. Robert Bullard

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In 2019, Apolitical named him one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy, Washington State University honored him with the William Julius Wilson Award for the Advancement of Justice and Climate One named him the Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication.

6. Peggy Shepard


She has successfully combined grassroots organizing, environmental advocacy, and environmental health community-based participatory research to become a national leader in advancing environmental policy and the perspective of environmental justice in urban communities — to ensure that the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment extends to all.

7. Mustafa Santiago Ali


Mustafa worked for 24 years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He most recently served as senior advisor for environmental justice and community revitalization and assistant associate administrator, working to elevate environmental justice issues and strengthening environmental justice policies, programs, and initiatives.

8. Jacqueline Patterson


She currently serves on the International Committee of the US Social Forum, the Steering Committee for Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, Advisory Board for Center for Earth Ethics as well as on the Boards of Directors for the Institute of the Black World, Center for Story Based Strategy and the US Climate Action Network.

9. Omar Freilla


He is nationally recognized as a leading voice for worker ownership, green jobs, and environmental justice and is founder and coordinator of Green Worker Cooperatives, an organization dedicated to incubating green and worker-owned businesses in the South Bronx.

10. Rue Mapp


Rue oversees a carefully selected and trained national volunteer leadership team of nearly 90 men and women who represent 42 cities around the US, and shares opportunities to build a broader community and leadership in nature.

From its grassroots beginning, Outdoor Afro now enjoys national sponsorship and is recognized by major organizations for its role in addressing the ongoing need for greater diversity in the outdoors.