This is an explication about my feelings about Earthy Day. There is a lot to be said about its origins and current effectiveness in actually changing public consciousness around environmental concerns. That is a good conversation but there are other issues too. Some of those issues are the reason why the Environmental movement stumbles so often.
It all comes down to politics. Maybe you remember PETA using models (scantily covered by leaves of lettuce) to advertise that they would rather be naked than wear fur. This is a noble sentiment, but it trades off the exploitation of animals for women.
Recently while attending an Earth Day celebration here in
But for as much as a love that community of hippies, neo-luddites and primitivists, permaculture activists, back-to-the-landers, urban farmers, and all things sustainable, I am not welcome into that community. So my excitement for these topics is always tempered by the knowledge that my body and my identity aren’t as warmly welcome.
To out myself, I am a queer gender-queer transdyke. I do not try to pass, and so I often do not. Perhaps my sense of unease in this community is caused by their own unease with my identity. And that is the problem. They may have good politics around environmental concerns but are bad on issues of diversity.
On Saturday I saw a crowd of white, mostly young, middles-class, cisgender, and heterosexual people claiming to try to save the world and all its inhabitants. So there are issues around cultural appropriation (see emphasis on Native American culture and Eastern spirituality); around race (
In a sense this is a call to all environmentalists to check their politics and their privilege. If you hope to save the world you need to include everyone, and most of the world is not white. If you want allies and progress everyone needs to be included, accepted, and welcomed. Simply diversity statements do not cut it. Unless you can make a culture that is inclusive Earthy Day will remain an event for the privileged.