Recommended Reading/Listening/Viewing

In honor of #BlackHistoryMonth, we’ve been featuring Black environmental leaders. These are just a couple of videos of some amazing people that we’ve been sharing on our social media pages. To see more, we encourage you to follow us.

In 2010, Ron Finley—frustrated with the lack of access to healthy food in his neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles–planted a produce garden on the empty strip of land between his house and the road. The fruit and vegetables it produced were free to passersby. After someone filed a complaint against his garden, Finley was faced with a warrant for his arrest for planting his garden on public property. Finley fought back and, with the help of Councilmember Herb Wesson, changed the law. In 2012, he launched his own nonprofit called the Ron Finley Project, which focuses on transforming food deserts into food forests through community gardens.

Amanda Gorman is now a household name after her stunning delivery of her poem, “The Hill We Climb” at President Biden’s Inauguration on January 20th. Ms. Gorman sparked our inspiration and sent us seeking her other works. “Earthrise” reminds us of why we continually return to this work, sometimes so challenging and other times filled with joy. We are environmentalists. We love this planet. We love this watershed. We believe that it is all more than worth fighting for. Thank you, Amanda Gorman, for reminding us.

In 1971, Dr. John Francis witnessed the impacts of a massive oil spill in the San Francisco Bay. As a response, he decided to give up use of motorized vehicles. He soon began finding himself arguing with people over the reasons for his decision. So, he decided to stop speaking for one day. That day grew into one year and then into 17 years without speaking. For nearly three decades, Dr. Francis travelled the globe by foot and sailboat with a message of environmental respect and responsibility (for 17 of those years without speaking). Along the way he earned his B.S. degree from Southern Oregon State College, a M.S. degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana-Missoula, and a Ph.D. in Land Resources from the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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