May 04, 2021

Let Me Introduce You

Posted on May 4, 2021 by Krista McIntyre

I wrote a limerick. I won a book. And I encountered the climate feminist — not a single person; a movement of female leaders “rooted in compassion, connection, creativity and collaboration.” The book, All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, is a collection of essays, poems, and illustrations by women who are activating their super-powers and getting results. All We Can Save is edited by Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Dr. Katherine K. Wilkinson, two climate feminists who inspire optimism and engagement. I was listening to Dr. Johnson’s podcast How to Save A Planet that she co-hosts with Alex Blumberg and following her on Instagram when I learned about her new book. I downloaded it the same day. When Dr. Johnson sponsored a limerick contest to win a hard copy, I exited my comfort zone and submitted five lines:

Adaptation, EV, carbon sink.
We know we’re all on the brink.
Join forces and brains.
Track solutions and gains
Do it now before, you’re extinct!

On my journey to fluency with concepts and vocabulary like “intersectional environmentalist” and “just transition” and “climate citizenship” this book is a happy immersion.

All We Can Save is not only an introduction to engaged women who are sitting at the tables where climate solutions are designed, these are Black, Brown, Indigenous, Multi-National, Multi-Cultural women. They are Diverse and they are a force. In her essay “Collards Are Just as Good as Kale,” former Mayor of Greenville, Mississippi and EPA Region 4 Administrator, Heather McTeer Tony observes that [m]any people think of “environmentalists” as White people and “the environment” as the forest or jungle as opposed to their own backyard. Just the opposite she tells us: Across the country, women of all colors and creeds are not waiting for anyone to tell us what we should do about the climate crisis…we don’t have time to sit around and wait for someone else to make decisions. Instead, we are simply finding ways in our communities to effect change. Today Ms. McTeer Tony leads Moms Clean Air Force, a community of over one million Moms and Dads protecting children from air pollution and climate change.

Two more climate feminists inspired me for Earth Day this year, both presenters at President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate, April 22-23, 2021. First, Xiye Bastida, a 19-year-old climate activist courageously urged global leaders to accept that the era of fossil fuels is over. She spoke of ending investments in fossil fuel subsidies and infrastructure. And Xiye urged transitioning immediately to renewable energy worldwide. As infectious as her peer, Greta Thunberg, Ms. Bastida’s directness makes inaction seem just plain stupid. Next, Nthabiseng Mosia, co-founder of Easy Solar in Sierra Leone, may be my most inspiring climate feminist presently. Tackling the challenges of economic development and the climate crisis in West Africa, her company provides solar power in remote rural communities and jobs for African young people — empowering communities with electricity, employment, and hope. My return to South Africa this January underscored how these intersecting needs and environmental protection merge.

I am a white privileged woman. I am making small, easy contributions to save our planet. I stopped purchasing gasoline in January 2021 and only drive an EV. I shop with reusable bags at Whole Foods. I am reviewing two proposals for solar panels on my home. I eat a lot of plants. I don’t know these inspiring climate feminists personally. I wish I did. They prompt me to do more every day. I am grateful for their commitment + action, and I admire their courageous voices. Now this white woman introduces them to you — hoping that you will read, listen, follow, and share their important stories.