Memories of Environmentalists of Color

Many environmentalists of color lived before us. Many weren't recognized for their incredible work until they passed because of their background. On this page you'll learn about a few of them and the work that they left impacting the world.

Miranda Smith, Miranda Productions, Inc., CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952, photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
George Washington Carver.jpeg
George Washington Carver

1864 - 1943

Also known as the "Plant Doctor", Carver was the first African American to earn a bachelor of science degree. He was an agricultural scientist and inventor. He discovered the soil depleting effects of growing cotton, and how soil could be restored by growing alternative crops. Soon after his death, Carver received his own monument which still stands in Diamond, Missouri, USA.

Chico Mendes
Chico Mendes

1944 - 1988

Also known as "Patron of the Brazilian Environment", Mendes was a Brazilian conservationist fought for the preservation of the Amazon rainforest. He also advocated for Brazilian indigenous peoples' rights. Mendes was shot outside of his home by an opposing party. In 1990, his home state Acre was established as the Chico Mendes Extractive Reserve, the largest reserve within the Amazon.

Chico Mendes
Cesar Chavez.jpeg
Movimiento, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Cesar Chavez

1927 - 1993

Chavez was a Mexican-American civil rights activist who fought for farmers' rights to a healthy and affordable working and living environments. He initiated nonviolent civil disobedience, such as strikes to gain attention from the employers and governments. His most significant began in September 1965 and lasted five years, known as the 1965 Grape Strike. Two smaller committees formed as the United Farm Workers of America because of his work. In 1994, Chavez was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 2008, Barack Obama quoted Chavez' slogan "Si, se puede" or "Yes, we can".

Bsteinitz, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Eugenie Clark.jpg

1922 - 2015

Also known as "The Shark Lady", Clark was a Japanese-American marine conservationist. She studied shark behavior and poisonous tropical fish. She pioneered using scuba diving for research purposes. One of her most famous research proves that sharks do not need to move to breathe. She worked consistently to convince the public that sharks are not the man-eating machines that media has shown them as.

Eugenie Clark
Grace Lee Boggs.png
On Being, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 <https://www.flickr.com/photos/speakingoffaith/6720766717>, via Flickr
Grace Lee Boggs

The amount of stereotypes and clichés published in media today is appalling. You would think that we've moved past this. Stereotypes are a form of racial microaggression. By using them, racism is normalized in society and leaves a terrible impact on the BIPOC community. They misrepresent most people in the world.

Kingkongphoto & www.celebrity-photos.com from Laurel  Maryland, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Wangari_Maathai_in_2001.jpeg

Throughout centuries of colonialism, white people manipulated stories for their own benefit. They lied to other white people and BIPOC. Many media companies are still doing this because of society's engrained history of racism. White people are still telling stories of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) the way that they see us, instead of showing the world who we really are. Let BIPOC tell their own stories so that the truth is told instead of an interpretation.

Wangari Maathai
Berta_Cáceres_(2).jpeg
UN Environment, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Berta Cáceres

The amount of stereotypes and clichés published in media today is appalling. You would think that we've moved past this. Stereotypes are a form of racial microaggression. By using them, racism is normalized in society and leaves a terrible impact on the BIPOC community. They misrepresent most people in the world.