Black Girl Environmentalist Is Shaping The Future Of Climate Activism 

by Emily Rems

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, race is the number one indicator of how vulnerable someone is to climate change. But within the climate justice movement, top positions are rarely occupied by people of color. Fueled by a desire to address this representation gap head-on, Wawa Gatheru, 25, founded Black Girl Environmentalist, an organization that has been helping to empower Black girls, women, and gender-expansive people to realize their full potential in climate leadership since 2021. “We began as an Instagram page,” says Gatheru, a Philadelphia-based Rhodes Scholar. “At the time, the platform served as a space for other Black women interested in environmentalism to see themselves represented online. Since then, we’ve grown into a national non-profit working to address pathway and retention issues in the climate sector while helping women of color find community and resources.”In just three short years, Black Girl Environmentalist has worked with 55 corporate and non-profit partners and hosted 38 events across 10 cities, prompting Forbes to name them one of the largest Black youth-led organizations in the country—and they’re just getting started. “I want more Black girls and women to see themselves as environmentalists and as capable of contributing to earth stewardship,” says Gatheru. “Black women and women of color deserve to have a space where they are seen, validated, and empowered in this work.” 

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