The concept of intersectional environmentalism was a leading theme last year. On the heels of that, Alyssa and Jackie decided to start a zine, the magazine's self-published younger sibling, devoted to the subject. Recently, the cofounders shared what drew them to the topic and where they see their publication going. Buy the Winter 2020 EARTH Zine edition here.
GBJ: What drove you to start a publication explicitly dedicated to intersectional environmentalism?
A+J: Both of us have been passionate about environmental work for a few years and tossed around the idea every once in a while of starting a blog or creative community. However, it wasn't until the COVID lockdown that we finally had enough time to start such a project, and thus EARTH was born. Collectively, our academics gave us both great foundations in environmentalism, intersectional theory, graphic design, and storytelling, and we were searching for a creative project to put these skills towards. In May 2020, at the start of the Intersectional Environmentalism discussion, prompted by Leah Thomas, we felt instantly drawn in. We saw the outpouring of creative media around environmental justice through an intersectional lens yet saw a lack of platforms dedicated to this purpose. We decided to start EARTH to serve this purpose, with a commitment to intersectionality, uplifting marginalized voices, and accessibility.
GBJ: Where do you see the publication going? What is your vision for EARTH in five years?
A+J: We are so grateful for how much EARTH has grown and accomplished in less than one year and owe so much of this to our incredible team of passionate environmentalists and our amazing community. EARTH holds so much potential to continue growing, and as of right now, we are flexible in the direction that it goes. Within this timeframe, a major goal is to strengthen our community bonds digitally and locally. Through collaborations with other organizations, virtual community events, in-person (COVID-safe) community work, and other initiatives, we envision EARTH becoming a strong network of environmental justice advocates and creatives. We will continue our biannual issues revolved around climate justice creative media, each exploring new niches within the movement. Ultimately, our vision for EARTH is to continue being a space for all environmentalists to come together over shared passions, creative work, and a common vision of a just world.
GBJ: Your first issue focused on the connections behind the environmentalism movement. Why did you choose this topic?
A+J: We decided on the theme of "connections" for our first digital and print issue as a simple way to express the numerous topics that environmental work is related to and open our platform to all voices. In exploring intersectionality with environmentalism, there are so many paths to discuss and experiences of individuals who fall at various intersection points of social concepts (race, gender, sexuality, nationality, disability, economic class, etc.) to share. Additionally, both of us were examining our roles within the environmental movement (as we will most likely continue to do throughout our lives) and felt that this was a common experience of others in our generation. In having this theme, we wanted to set a foundation for our community of how expansive the environmental justice movement is, how it affects people in different ways, and the countless available roads to get involved in the work.
GBJ: What subjects do you expect to cover in the future?
A+J: As an environmental justice-centered publication, we will continue highlighting people and current events within the movement and sharing our community members' creative work. EARTH will always be mindful of centering and uplifting marginalized voices and ensuring our collective is increasingly diverse. We value our opportunity of amplifying individuals' personal climate justice stories and plan to continue doing so while expanding our reach globally. We hope with expansion, our platform can cover a wide range of environmental justice topics and bring awareness to local initiatives fighting for better futures.
GBJ: Do you think intersectional environmentalism will actually drive change, or is it just a trend?
A+J: This is truthfully a tough question. We see both sides of the coin but are optimistic in the former being the outcome. In reviewing the U.S. environmentalism movement's relatively recent history, different phases can be deduced, each defined by key focal points. The periods are summarized as so, the Conservation & Preservation phase (beginning around 1900), the Silent Spring phase (the 1960s), the Sustainability & Sustainable Production phase (the 1970s), and the Environmental Justice & Grassroots phase (the 1980s to present). It is vital to recognize that remnants of each phase are carried over into the next, and each phase is not a fresh start. In viewing our small piece in this generation-spanning movement, we think that change has occurred with the addition of intersectional environmentalism. While each phase's distinct characteristics may resemble the fleeting style of trends, their existence makes a monumental impact in the grand scheme of our history. At this time, while we recognize that the amount of professional athletes, mainstream media sources, and corporations speaking on IE has significantly died down since June of 2020, we give recognition to countless activists, organizations, and grassroots media continuing the conversation. By adding the lens of intersectionality — through which environmental justice can be achieved — we anticipate powerful ripples will affect the movement, impacting generations to come.