Updated: Jul 27
As I have done personal research on books relating to environmental racism I noticed that I had trouble finding books about the environment and race that were written by people of color. Which is ironic to me. Why are books about environmental racism easier to find written by white authors? Is this because there are more of them or just because that is what is marketed in the media? To spread awareness about this issue, here is a list of 10 authors who are people of color and write about environmental issues.
To stick with our mission, we made sure to link all the books to online bookstores that are not Amazon.
“Kimmerer is an enrolled member of the Citizen Band Potawatomi. Her writings include numerous scientific articles and the books Gathering Moss, which was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for nature writing in 2005, and Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, to be released in October 2013. As a writer and a scientist, her interests in restoration include not only the restoration of ecological communities but the restoration of our relationships to land. She lives on an old farm in upstate New York, tending gardens both cultivated and wild.”
Braiding Sweetgrass - "As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise” (Elizabeth Gilbert)."
Ingrid Waldron is an "experienced Associate Professor with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Skilled in Research with Black, Indigenous, Immigrant and Refugee Communities, Report Writing, Community Engagement, Policy Analysis, Social Media, and Adult Education."
Theres Something in the Water - "Ingrid R. G. Waldron examines the legacy of environmental racism and its health impacts in Indigenous and Black communities in Canada, using Nova Scotia as a case study, and the grassroots resistance activities by Indigenous and Black communities against the pollution and poisoning of their communities."
"In 2020, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) identified Professor Dorceta Taylor as one of the six people continuing Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy through her work. Professor Taylor's research interests include urban agriculture, food access, and food insecurity. "
The Rise of the American Conservation Movement: Power, Privilege, and Environmental Protection - "Dorceta E. Taylor examines the emergence and rise of the multifaceted U.S. conservation movement from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century. She shows how race, class, and gender influenced every aspect of the movement, including the establishment of parks; campaigns to protect wild game, birds, and fish; forest conservation; outdoor recreation; and the movement's links to nineteenth-century ideologies."
Toxic Communities: Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution, and Residential Mobility - "Drawing on an array of historical and contemporary case studies from across the country, Taylor explores controversies over racially-motivated decisions in zoning laws, eminent domain, government regulation (or lack thereof), and urban renewal. She provides a comprehensive overview of the debate over whether or not there is a link between environmental transgressions and discrimination, drawing a clear picture of the state of the environmental justice field today and where it is going."
"Professor Foster’s work focuses on the intersection of law, policy and governance with a specific focus on urban communities and cities. She is one of the leading scholars on environmental and climate justice, most recently recognized by the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law’s 2018 Senior Scholarship Award."
Comparative Equality and Anti-Discrimination Law - "This revised and updated casebook comprehensively compares the U.S. legal approach to problems of inequality and discrimination with the approaches of a variety of other legal systems around the world."
"Vandana Shiva examined the impact of the first Green Revolution on the breadbasket of India. In a cogent empirical argument, she shows how the 'quick fix' promise of large gains in output pushed aside serious pursuit of an alternative agricultural strategy grounded in respect for the environmental wisdom of peasant systems and building an egalitarian, needs-prientated agriculture consistent with the village-based, endogenous political traditions of Gandhism."
"Harriet Washington has a unique and courageous voice and deconstructs the politics around medical issues. In addition to giving an abundance of historically accurate information on ‘scientific racism’, she paints a powerful and disturbing portrait of medicine, race, sex, and the abuse of power by telling individual human stories"
Medical Apartheid: "The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present - "Medical Apartheid is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans."
"Ibrahim is an urban strategist whose work focuses on deepening democracy and improving public engagement. He has advised two mayors on the best was to translate complex decisions related to the cost, impacts, and benefits of environmental policy and of capital projects on communities."
"Ibrahim Abdul-Matin draws on research, scripture, and interviews with Muslim Americans to trace Islam’s preoccupation with humankind’s collective role as stewards of the Earth. Abdul-Matin points out that the Prophet Muhammad declared that “the Earth is a mosque.” Deen means “path” or “way” in Arabic. Abdul-Matin offers dozens of examples of how Muslims can follow, and already are following, a Green Deen in four areas: “waste, watts (energy), water, and food.”
"Majora Carter, of the South Bronx, is determined to make her community more livable, greener, and healthier than it is today. The founder and director of Sustainable South Bronx (SSB), Carter is a relentless and charismatic urban strategist who seeks to address the disproportionate environmental and public health burdens experienced by residents of the South Bronx."
Sustainable South Bronx: A Model for Environmental Justice - "Marjora Carter points to environmental justice as the civil-rights issue of the twenty-first century. She advocates economically sustainable projects informed by community needs. Her work to counteract environmental health hazards and high unemployment in her community includes the promotion of green roofs, greenways, clean technology, and a green-collar job-training program and workforce."
"Shelton Johnson dreamed of mountains as a boy, living in inner-city Detroit..."I can't forget that little black kid in Detroit," he says. "And I can't not think of the other kids, just like me – in Detroit, Oakland, Watts, Anacostia – today. How do I get them here? How do I let them know about the buffalo soldier history, to let them know that we, too, have a place here? How do I make that bridge, and make it shorter and stronger? Every time I go to work and put the uniform on, I think about them."
Gloryland - "Born on Emancipation Day, 1863, to a sharecropping family of black and Indian blood, Elijah Yancy never lived as a slave — but his self-image as a free person is at war with his surroundings: Spartanburg, South Carolina, in the Reconstructed South. Exiled for his own survival as a teenager, Elijah walks west to the Nebraska plains — and, like other rootless young African-American men of that era, joins up with the U.S. cavalry."
"In Afro-Vegan, renowned chef and food justice activist Bryant Terry reworks and remixes the favorite staples, ingredients, and classic dishes of the African Diaspora to present more than 100 wholly new, creative culinary combinations that will amaze vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike."
We hope you find these sources helpful to diversify your reading! Happy reading :)
By Kate Hoffman