The world is changing. By all scientific accounts, we are on the brink of a massive ecological reckoning. At the same time, our modes of communicating, sharing information, and connecting are being completely overhauled. The rise of TikTok has ushered in a new wave of easily-digestible, ultra-sharable content, giving any one person the ability to become a platform. Consumer clicks now have the power to create movements IRL. But, what does all this mean for one of the most pressing issues of our time?
Well, for starters, it’s getting a lot more colorful. From cycling to gardening to composting and co-living, the Western face of sustainability has long been that of well-to-do white faces. But as the inequitable effects of our climate crisis manifest — and communities rise up against issues like green gentrification — the picture is beginning to change.
With many modern environmental practices being rooted in BIPOC thought and culture, here are just a few of the artists, activists and community practitioners who are reclaiming their right to be “green” — and bringing the digital masses along in the process.
1. Isaias Hernandez (@queerbrownvegan)
One of the most well-known eco-influencers, Isaias is an environmental educator with a focus on “(un/re)learning” environmental justice and sustainability. His insightful content deftly navigates prevailing discourse around the climate crisis, including climate doom and eco anxiety.
2. Courtney Cobbs (@FullLaneFemme)
In her own words, Courtney is a “Chicago bike dyke visionary who loves cats and universal basic income”. An avid cyclist, Courtney uses her platform to advocate for safer streets for folks of all ages, abilities and walks of life.
3. Alexis Nikole Nelson (@blackforager)
Alexis is a foraging teacher, enviro-science enthusiast and experimental vegan cook. On her platform, she jovially shares her many foraging adventures, interesting finds, and lesser-known historical information.
4. Nelson Holland (@fatblackandgettinit)
A self-proclaimed “wildlife addict”, Nelson’s content is a journal of his outdoor adventures. His platform sits at the intersection of adventurism, naturalism, and inclusivity.
5. Autumn Peltier (@autumn.peltier)
Profiled in the documentary The Water Walker, Autumn is Chief Water Commissioner of the Anishinabek Nation. She uses her platform to ceaselessly advocate for Indigenous communities’ right to safe, accessible drinking water.
6. Dominique Drakeford (@dominiquedrakeford)
Dominique is a mom, urban gardener and ethical street style influencer. In addition to sharing educational tips on fashion, sustainability and agriculture, she co-founded Sustainable Brooklyn and helped create The GreenISH book, a Brooklyn-based directory of businesses and resources that prioritize the safety, comfort & agency of Black consumers.
7. Leah Thomas (@greengirlleah)
Leah is an environmental advocate, educator and founder of Intersectional Environmentalist, a climate justice collective dedicated to radically imagining a more equitable and diverse future of environmentalism. She recently authored a book by the same name.
8. Nyombi Morris (@mnyomb1)
Nyombi is a Ugandan climate activist, reforestation practitioner, and leader of the Fridays for Future MAPA (Most Affected People and Areas) collective. Since 2019, he’s planted over 25000 trees and worked with regional leaders on integrated climate and environmental protection initiatives.
9. Shia Su (@_wastelandrebel_)
Shia calls herself a “vegan zero waste nerd” and uses her platform to share stories and practical — budget-friendly — tips for maintaining a cruelty-free, circular lifestyle. Her book, Zero Waste, details her journey to enviro-conscious living and more.
10. Corina Newsome (@hood__naturalist)
Corina is an educator, birder, and wildlife conservation expert. On her platform — in addition to sharing her journeys in nature — she advocates for ecological protections, inclusive outdoor communities and environmental justice.