Podcast Review: Hot Take
For the 4 April edition of Hot Take, a feminist, race-forward podcast on climate change, hosts Mary Annaise Heglar and Amy Westervelt meet with climate activist and fellow podcast host, Reverend Yearwood from The Coolest Show. Rev Yearwood discusses the legacy of white supremacy within the early movement against climate change in the US, highlighting its failure to make links with radical social justice movements like the civil rights and LGBT movements of the 1960s. He argues for a spiritually and socially rooted movement that links climate justice with racial justice.
Using a conversational format and accessible language, the hosts unpack Yearwood’s journey to climate activism as a black reverend. He tells them how he mobilised the hip hop caucus for environmental justice (often abbreviated to ‘EJ’ in the US) and there’s a great discussion in the episode about the segmentation of the movement that happens when white climate activists relegate the issues that most affect communities of colour to the EJ movement.
One of the most interesting points in the conversation is about the role of spirituality in sustaining the climate movement. It’s a perspective that we rarely get to hear – probably due to the predominance of activists from the overdeveloped world in climate activism – one that suggests an important role for religion, faith and belief in the work. Mary and Amy pick up on this in discussing the sense of strength in community that young climate activists get in organising locally around climate justice.
As usual with Hot Take, the hosts’ irreverent style belies an informed analysis of the intersecting ways that race, class, gender and climate interact. ‘I felt like I was going to church and going to school’, Amy says of the discussion, and I am inclined to agree with her.
You can listen to the episode here: https://www.criticalfrequency.org/hot-take
Podcast Review: Breaking Green Ceilings
On this episode of Breaking Green Ceilings, host Sapna Mulki welcomed Raya Salter to discuss her perspectives as a black woman, attorney, and policy expert in the climate justice movement. The discussion explored the pursuit for environment justice, or ‘EJ’, through intergenerational organising, community power and individual workspaces. It spoke to the purpose of the podcast itself: to give a platform to voices versed in climate crisis and environmental justice from minoritised backgrounds.
The interview touched on Salter’s motivations in studying law and clean energy, creating space for people of colour in the EJ movement on an individual level and forging an inclusive movement. Central themes throughout included a reminder to call on the legacies and founding values of the movement rooted in the civil rights era; the necessity of personal resilience for people of colour in EJ spaces; and the importance of seeing communities as a vital hub for enacting climate policies that are just and empowering.
The most exciting moments of this episode for me were Salter’s direct remarks to working professionals and young people in the EJ movement about finding an alignment between personal fulfilment and participation in society, and bringing ourselves honestly to the movement. She reminds us that our work in EJ is fuelled by our passions but sustained by our community, before highlighting the importance of community empowerment to climate crisis goals such as CO2 emission reductions. For Salter, without redistributing the power to act on the climate crisis, we cannot have just or sustainable solutions.