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Environment & Outdoors

An inhospitable climate is more than drought or storms or fire: it's having an "unwelcome identity"


Longtime environmental advocate and community organizer Sam Grant says he had about "two weeks of normal" after starting his new job as the executive director of MN350 at the end of February.

Then came COVID-19.

But environmental concerns didn't take a backseat to the pandemic, even if the federal Environmental Protection Agency decided not to enforce environmental regulations for the duration.  Grant's been quoted on that controversy as well as speaking at the news conference where Minnesota's Attorney General announced a lawsuit against Big Oil: ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and American Petroleum Institute.

But his decades of experience training social-justice facilitators has served him in good stead.  From MN350's mission to put black, brown, and indigenous people, along with other groups usually left out of these discussions, squarely front and center as Minnesota transitions to an equitable clean-energy economy, to providing food and first aid to protestors after the death of George Floyd, Sam Grant says it's all part of the same thing. Racial justice, climate justice: we're where we are now, he says, because "we haven't paid enough attention to our relationships with nature or each other."

Sam Grant referenced Nathan Hare's essay "Black Ecology." It was originally published in The Black Scholar in April of 1970 and you can read it here.

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