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Black, Green and Me  – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

Bonnie Boswell (Karen Steyer)

Growing up, I used to say, “If a piece of aluminum foil or plastic wrap enters this house, it never leaves.” Why? Because my mother was an early recycler.

Walking into the kitchen, I often found Saran Wrap washed, hanging, and dripping on the faucet. Nasty! The tin foil will also be washed – dried, neatly folded and put away in the drawer for reuse. It drove me crazy.

I get it Mom was raised during the Depression. Her philosophy was “waste not/want not.” But years later, when she visited my home, I gleefully declared, “There will be no Saran washing in this house!” However, I admit, I have reconsidered my position due to climate change.

Terrible wildfires, devastating floods, extreme heat and hurricanes aren’t just on the horizon, they’re here. So we must find ways – big and small – to protect our planet so it can save us.

As African Americans, we know that climate change disproportionately affects poor people and people of color. With everything going on in our lives, thinking about climate change can at least seem like someone else’s job. But frankly, none of us can handle that. Our survival is at stake.

Kathryn Wilkinson, co-editor of All We Can Save, an anthology of essays on the climate movement, says it’s important to recognize the emotions we feel about this existential threat — anger, anxiety, even depression. But instead of cringing, we must recognize that beneath these emotions lies love for our families, friends, and the sacred beauty of the natural world.

Wilkinson encourages us to use love to fuel activism. She says we can influence national policy by urging senators to continue advocating for bold climate initiatives on the scale of the crisis. ( www.call4climate.com)

Locally, we can educate ourselves about what is happening in our communities. Will the plan to revitalize 51 miles of the Los Angeles River help? How about creating local parks closer to under-resourced communities? With a median of 3.3 acres per 1,000 people, The Trust for Public Land says Los Angeles ranks near the bottom of cities that have enough park space.

We can also support programs like the Nature Nexxus Institute, which brings hundreds of inner-city students out into nature, teaching them birdwatching, horticulture, biology and environmental stewardship (www.naturenexusinstitute.org). We can also benefit from the natural world by joining groups like Afro Southern California, a group connecting black people with activities such as fishing, gardening, tourism and conservation (www.outdoorafro.org).

We help ourselves and our planet by working on both a macro and micro level with like-minded people. And we can reduce our carbon footprint by doing things like replacing lawns with beautiful drought-tolerant plants or using fewer paper towels.

And while I’m still not tempted to wash Saran Wrap or aluminum foil, I’m trying to use less of both. My mom would be so proud.

Watch Bonnie Boswell Reports Friday at 2:58 on KCET or go to kcet.org/bonnieboswellreports.

Black, Green and Me  – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel Source link Black, Green and Me  – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

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