By Ariana Palmieri
Back in April we officially launched the One Movement Change Makers, an eco fund for BIPOC Activists. Too often, BIPOC communities end up bearing the burden of climate change far more than affluent white communities. Yet BIPOC voices in the environmental movement often go unheard.
“Just as we grow in the understanding that everything in this world is interconnected, so too, we understand the depth of the connection between the profusion of social and environmental issues we face.” says Petrice Jones, founder of The One Movement.
Our Change Makers eco fund sought to amplify BIPOC environmentalists' voices by highlighting the great things they’re doing in this space. We had so many amazing entries, all worthy of funding, so it was a very difficult decision. The four winners received a grand total of $5000 to help turn their ideas into reality.
Here’s a closer look at our first ever winners of The One Movement Change Maker Activist fund. Lets dive right in!
Amber Brown from Dallas, Texas @un_bur_lievable
Jasmine Flores is an indigenous CHamoru from Guåhan (Guam), alongside being an environmental advocate and zero waster.
Guam has been colonized for the last 3 centuries, but most recently by the USA. Before colonization, plastic packaging was completely foreign to Guam. The natives were sustainable by nature, using things like shells, coconut trees, leaves and bark.
Now, Guam imports 90% of its goods, and you can imagine the amount of plastic packaging that comes with it!
Guam is a very small island with only 170,000 people. Yet on average, 600,000lbs of plastic waste is being generated per day. China stopped accepting plastic in 2017, including for Guam. This forced Guam to open a second landfill with 11 different slots – already, they’ve used 3 out of the 11 slots.
Guam doesn’t have the resources to continue dealing with this waste, which is why Jasmine’s solution is to open Guam’s first mobile refillery shop, Numa'lo Refillery. You bring in your own containers and she refills it with a product of your choice, such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, laundry detergent etc.
She plans to operate on a pop-up style at various locations on a weekly basis. This way everyone from the north to the south of Guam can have access to this service. She also plans to do home deliveries where you can refill your containers right from the van.
In Jasmine’s own words, “...with this grant, I plan to purchase and outfit a van, build startup inventory, and pay our small two-person team, as well as purchasing special containers/accessories. I aim to source local businesses as our main vendors.”
Sumaiya Harunany is a co-founder of Blue Earth Organization, a nonprofit that seeks to fight climate change through planting over 10,000 mangroves in Miritini, Mombasa, Kenya using locally grown seedlings.
Mangroves make up less than 0.4% of the world’s forest, but their deep root systems prevent soil erosion and serve as a nursery for marine organisms like fish, shrimp and crabs. Mangroves are also important for shoreline protection, as they help prevent soil erosion. Additionally, they protect water quality and absorb heavy rainfall which reduces flooding.
However, in Kenya over 70% cover loss since 1985 has been recorded due to over-harvesting.
Mangroves are primarily harvested for their wood, but are also cleared out to make way for shrimp farming. Cutting mangroves releases large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and leads to a decline in biodiversity.
Sumaiya’s solution for this problem is to plant 10,000 mangroves in Mkupe in Miritini, Mombasa – a place that is being severely impacted by mangrove loss – through her non-profit Blue Earth Organization.
These mangroves absorb 10x more CO2 than mature tropical forests. Sumaiya is working to restore these mangroves through local community grown seedlings.
In Sumaiya’s words “With these funds, we will continue to restore the ecologically, biologically and culturally diverse coastal forest.”
Winnie Cheche is an environmental blogger and activist in Nairobi, Kenya working with two orphanages to create vertical gardens with bucket drip irrigation to provide fresh produce to both the orphans and the local community. Winnie also wants to promote successful tree planting and growth in drylands.
In Winnie’s city, they only have access to a small amount of land, making it hard to garden traditionally or on a larger scale. The orphanages rely heavily on food donations, but sometimes those donations are scarce.
Also, due to the limited amount of water, many trees don’t reach maturity so they avoid planting them in the dry lands. However, more trees would cool things down and create better soil conditions.
Winnie's solution to these problems is creating vertical gardens to grow vegetables and bucket drip irrigation systems that doesn't waste water. The bucket drip system will also be used to help trees being planted and grown in the drylands.
The project will be carried in two orphans' centers, with the help of the Young Muslim Association Orphan Centers. They’ll function as the ambassadors to promote vertical gardens to other people and ensure the seedlings grow.
In Winnie’s words, “funds will be used to buy the equipment, sourcing seedlings for vertical gardens and open ground, labor and transport for the team and Internet bundles to reach the wider communities.”
We can’t wait to see what Winnie builds and creates! You can follow along on her journey via her Instagram page.
Amber Brown is our grand prize winner! She’s an environmental and social justice activist working with Oak Cliff Veggie Project to restore the 10th St Neighborhood community in Dallas and The Bottoms.
The Tenth Street Freedman's Town is a historic African American community in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas, Texas. A freedmen's town is a community settled by former slaves who were emancipated during and after the American Civil War.
Unfortunately, this community has little access to fresh fruits and vegetables. This is on purpose – it's more than just a lack of grocery stores, it’s food apartheid, which points to the discrimination of communities of color. Accessible healthy food options are limited on purpose in these areas due to dominant policies.
In my opinion, controlling land and food is the ultimate form of oppression. Hunger is a weapon designed to keep people where they are. How can we expect people to focus on the climate crisis when they don’t even know where their next meal will come from?
Amber, as an environmental and social justice activist, is proposing that the Tenth Street community is restored. She plans to build a basketball court for the youth to provide more resources and expand the community gardens that currently exist.
Community gardens provide access to fresh vegetables and fruits, along with education on how these plants are grown. When you grow your own food, you choose what goes into growing it – meaning there’s much less chance of pesticide exposure. Plus, you gain access to package-free foods that aren’t wrapped in wasteful plastic.
Having access to fresh produce is necessary for healthy and sustainable living – this is restorative justice and environmental justice all at once. A basketball court will also get kids outside and help them move their bodies which is integral to good health.
Are you a change maker too? Share your environmental projects in the comments below!