3 Environmental Voices You Should Be Listening To Right Now

Last Monday was International Women’s Day, encouraging us to reflect on the essential contributions of women around the world. Today’s post encourages you to find connection with these differing voices as their messages transcend generations and backgrounds to bring all of us closer through advocacy for a better world.


Deb Haaland

Set to be confirmed as Secretary of the Interior, New Mexico Congresswoman

Getty Images: Rep. Deb Haaland testifies at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

We must shift our thinking away from short-term gain toward long-term investment and sustainability, and always have the next generations in mind with every decision we make.”


Who They Are:

Deb Haaland is a “35th generation New Mexican who is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna, and also has Jemez Pueblo heritage. After running for New Mexico Lieutenant Governor in 2014, Haaland became the first Native American woman to be elected to lead a State Party.” Haaland is currently set to be confirmed today as the Secretary of the Interior by the United States Senate, which would make them the first Native American cabinet member.


As the Secretary of the Interior, Haaland would oversee the management and conservation of most federal land and natural resources while leading agencies including the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Geological Survey, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the National Park Service. When asked about this level of influence, Haaland responded: “It's difficult to not feel obligated to protect this land, and I feel that every Indigenous person in this country understands that...We want to protect this country, and that means protecting it in every single way."


What They’re Saying:

During their confirmation hearing, Haaland crafted a delicate balance between resources for energy and addressing the climate change crisis, saying “There's no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come (but)... our climate challenge must be addressed." Stating, "the Department has a role in harnessing the clean energy potential of our public lands to create jobs and new economic opportunities."


Where You Can Find Them:

Twitter

Instagram (Personal)

Instagram (Rep. Deb Haaland)


Resources:

Haaland to be Confirmed Article

Haaland House of Representatives Bio

Haaland and the Future Department of the Interior

“Honoring my Ancestors” blog post (2017)



Corina Newsome

Graduate student, birder, advocate for equality in outdoor representation


Corina Newsome with a seaside sparrow as part of her graduate research.

“For far too long, Black people in the United States have been shown that outdoor exploration activities such as birding are not for us—whether it be because of the way the media chooses to present who is the ‘outdoorsy’ type, or the racism experienced by Black people when we do explore the outdoors, as we saw recently in Central Park. Well, we’ve decided to change that narrative.”


Who They Are:

Corina Newsome is an advocate for environmental equity, justice, and conservation, as well as a graduate student at Georgia Southern University, and the co-founder of Black Birders Week. Newsome, who received her undergraduate degree in Biology, has spent the majority of her life intertwined with the outdoors, building the representation she never had when first venturing into the birding community.


Following the Christian Cooper incident in Central Park, NY, Newsome, her co-founder Earyn McGee, and nearly 30 community members worked together to create and promote the first Black Birders Week, encouraging emerging birders in the space to explore and develop their passions. Newsome continues to connect Black communities with the outdoors through education, outreach and personal activism towards outdoor equity and accessibility.


What They’re Saying:

In a recent PBS article discussing Newsome’s advocacy, it states "she goes by the name Hood Naturalist online in order to communicate science and promote diversity in biology and other STEM careers. She chose the handle “Hood Naturalist” because it speaks to her upbringing in Philadelphia, and to remind people that naturalists can come from anywhere, not just areas with access to an abundance of nature.”


Representation and visibility is incredibly important to Newsome as they work to bring equity to access as well as the image of “the outdoors.” She says, “Lots of structural changes have to happen in different industries including in advertising. That is huge because seeing someone like me, even as an adult professional in the field, is empowering to me, and I wouldn’t be here unless I saw someone like me at some point.”


Corina’s Twitter account is regularly updated with links for advocacy, as well as shared content from other POC creators in the environmental space. You can also visit her personal website to read her published commentary, and learn more about activism and resources for change.


Where You Can Find Them:

Website

Twitter

Hood Naturalist Blog


Resources:

Black Birders Week (LAS Article)

Corina Newsome PBS Interview

National Geographic: 10 good-news stories from 2020

Meet the women making the outdoors more accessible to all


Greta Thunberg

youth climate change activist , student


Wikipedia Commons: Greta Thunberg urges MEPs to show climate leadership

“If you read through the current best available science, you will realize that the climate and ecological crisis cannot be solved without system change. That’s no longer an opinion- that is a fact.”


Who They Are:

Greta Thunberg is a (now) 18-year-old environmental activist who was first recognized in August of 2018 for skipping school to protest climate change on the steps of the Swedish Parliament building. She held a sign saying “Skolstrejk för klimatet” or “School Strike for Climate.” Since then, Thunberg has addressed multiple political and economic leaders across the world and inspired over 4 million people to take part in a global climate strike in September of 2019. To this day, Thunberg continues her school strike, regularly posting pictures of her continued activism, as well as climate change advocacy resources, to her Instagram and Twitter account.



What They’re Saying:

In addressing the climate change crisis, Thunberg refocuses attention from the individual to a call for global and systemic change. Without universal changes across manufacturing, waste, and sustainability (to only name a few), individuals alone cannot possibly reduce the earth’s rising temperatures. In her statement addressing the Paris Agreement, Thunberg states that improving knowledge and awareness of climate change is the key to gathering support and implementing change. Only then, will the voices in power begin to listen.


In 2019, Thunberg addressed world leaders at the UN Climate Action Summit alongside other youth advocates for climate change. When asked what her message was for world leaders, she responded directly,“My message would be- that we are watching you.” As her statement continues, Thunberg continues passionately, “We are at the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth-- how dare you.” Thunberg posits that she is one of the “lucky ones,” who, while victimized by the destruction of our planet, is still in a place to use her privilege to share awareness and lead by example.


Thunberg continues to share resources and calls to action on their social media, supporting efforts and awareness that hold our most influential voices accountable for more than just “go green” lip service.


Where You Can Find Them:

Instagram

Twitter


Resources:

2019 TIME Magazine Person of the Year

2019 Climate Action Summit Speech

Paris Agreement Response Video




TMPF Blog