Many Black peoples across what is currently known as Canada are powerful advocates for climate and social justice, however they are often underrepresented. Supporting their work is necessary in propelling us towards a more socially just and sustainable future. Featured below are incredible Black Canadian activists making waves in the climate movement.
Larissa Crawford -- Larissa is an advocate for anti-racism and Indigenous leadership in the energy sector. She is the cofounder of Future Ancestors Services and is a published Indigenous and anti-racism researcher. Corporate Knights recognize Larissa as a Top 30 Under 30 Sustainability Leader.
Chúk Odenigbo -- Chúk is an advocate for inclusive green spaces. He is the cofounder of Future Ancestors Service and The Poison & the Apple. Chúk is a Corporate Knights’ Top 30 Under 30 Sustainability Leader and a Starfish Journal’s Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25.
Alicia Richins -- Alicia Richins a sustainability and social impact consultant and part of the steering committee for Leading Change Canada. She says “at the core of my work is the conviction that we can and must solve the climate crisis, and the broader challenge of sustainable development. To succeed, we need to make room for intersectionality and complexity, because when we look close enough, all of our issues: biodiversity loss, racism, poverty, food insecurity, gender inequality, economic instability, global warming--are all deeply interconnected and interdependent”.
Jason Robinson -- Jason is the Youth Program Facilitator for Ecosource’ s Peel Environmental Youth Alliance project and the Policy Specialist for the Community Climate Council. Jason holds a Master in Environmental Studies, with his area of concentration in Ecological Economics, from York University. With a passion for alternative measure to wellbeing beyond economic growth and local climate action significantly impacting marginalized communities, Jason has led workshops and seminars on the interconnection of human, economic, and environmental systems. Jason, with others, are in the process of developing an organization for Queer BIPOC people in tech for the goal of creating a space for them to network and conduct research on their experiences in the GTA's tech sector.
Anna-Kay Russell -- Anna-Kay is a policy and governance professional. She is a cofounder of the Toronto Black Policy Conference and is part of the steering committee for Leading Change Canada. She is an advocate for the engagement of governments, local innovators, and diverse communities in achieving a sustainable, prosperous, and socially just future. Anna-Kay is a Corporate Knights’ Top 30 Under 30 Sustainability Leader.
Cheyenne Sundance -- Cheyenne is a food and community justice advocate with a drive to see true equity in agriculture. She is the founder of Sundance Harvest, an urban farm in Toronto centred around food justice, and she sits on the board of Food Secure Canada. Corporate Knights recognize Cheyenne as a Top 30 Under 30 Sustainability Leader.
Dr. Ingrid Waldron, PhD -- Dr. Ingrid Waldron, Ph.D. is a sociologist, an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie University, the Director of the Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities & Community Health Project (The ENRICH Project), and the Flagship Project Co-Lead of Improving the Health of People of African Descent at Dalhousie’s Healthy Populations Institute.
Her research, teaching, community leadership, and advocacy work examine and address the health impacts of structural inequalities within health care, child welfare, and the environment in Indigenous, Black, immigrant, and refugee communities.
As the director of the ENRICH Project over the last 8 years, Dr. Waldron has been investigating the socio-economic, political, and health effects of environmental racism in Mi'kmaq and African Nova Scotian communities. The ENRICH Project formed the basis to the creation of the provincial bill An Act to Redress Environmental Racism (Bill 31) in April 2015 and the federal bill A National Strategy to Redress Environmental Racism (Bill C230) in February 2020. Both bills are the first bills to be introduced on environmental racism in the legislature in Canada.
Th ENRICH Project also formed the basis to Dr. Waldron's first book There's Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous and Black Communities, which was published in 2018 by Fernwood Publishing. The book received the 2020 Society for Socialist Studies Errol Sharpe Book Prize and the 2019 Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing.
The 2019 documentary There's Something in the Water is based on Dr. Waldron's book and was co-produced by Waldron, actor Elliot Page, Ian Daniel, and Julia Sanderson, and co-directed by Page and Daniel. It is currently streaming on Netflix.
Do you know a Black climate activists or change-maker not featured here? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can include them!
Positionality statement: Hello, my name is Hayley Brackenridge and my pronouns are she/her. I identify as a white settler of what is currently known as Canada, with mixed European descent. I live in what is currently Guelph Ontario, the territory of Mississauga peoples and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, under Treaty 3, the Between-The-Lakes purchase. I am cis, female-identifying, heterosexual, neurotypical, and able-bodied. These identifying factors contribute to my relational position which has shaped my perspective of the world. Climate injustices most strongly affect BIPOC and LGBTQ2SIA+ identifying folx, therefore, this blogpost is intended to centre Black climate activists residing in what is currently known as Canada. I do not wish to speak for those with experiences that I have not lived, but rather lessen the burden of translation exhaustion by amplifying Black voices.