I recently gave a lecture called Black and Green. One of the areas I tried to examine was what the barriers to sustainable lifestyles may be for Black people and the public idea of environmentalism. In my humble opinion there are many, but a few stick out for me :
Expense - Whole Foods is a tad outside of most people's budget. Shame because those one bite brownies are a right not a privilege.
The Dominant Voice - Al Gore, Leonardo Dicaprio and others ...lovely people I am sure ...not a lot of credibility in Bed Stuy
Prescriptive - No one wants more crap to do.
Perception -Early on seemed like a lot of hairy underarmed tree huggers..the modern environmental movement seems like celebrity and tragically hip urbanites. Majora Carter needs more urban exposure...maybe an interview in Black Hair magazine guest appearance on Flavor of Love? Whatever it takes man.
Political - No one is legislating in the Black community for better access to Solar panels and maybe they shouldn't. I am sure a conversation about the asthma rates due to pollution, land fills in the hood, and Green collar jobs may resonate though!
Cultural Disconnect - Sorry Polar Bears are not our priority.
So on a more positive note. Let's talk about the things we ALREADY DO. Environmentalist like to beat up on the rest of us. The lovely Rhea Combs Brown gives us urban dwellers a pat on the back. We are actually doing things everyday and becoming more Green by the minute.