This quote comes to us from Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr., founder of the “Back to Africa” movement, Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), and the African Communities League (ACL), “two organizations that promoted educational and industrial opportunities for black people.” –
As an orator with many great ideas you can imagine Garvey had so many great quotes to choose from. I liked this quote because it made me think of the environmentalist movement and my own experience as a black person engaged in environmentalism.
It’s easy to objectify a group you don’t belong to. To lump everyone in together as if they were all the same. Unfortunately, environmentalists get a bad rap. People think of greenies as judgmental, naive, obnoxious, middle-class do-gooders who are…well, white.
So while I find myself taking on the notion that one does not have to be any of those things to be an environmentalist with those outside the movement, I’m amazed at the variety of opinions within the green movement.
A major point of contention at one time, in my mind, was the compatibility of capitalism and environmentalism. Many enviros believe the two are compatible. Black environmentalist Majora Carter, in her famous TED talk, basically disregarded the idea of doing her work outside of capitalism as unrealistic. This is in stark contrast to the authors of Deep Green Resistance: Strategy to Save the Planet who maintain civilization as we know it is not even compatible with life on this planet. And that’s just one issue many disagree on.
To bring us back to Marcus Garvey’s quote, just because a person claims membership in a group doesn’t mean they are just like whatever generalization you have of that group. As far as environmentalists go we have as many schools of thought in environmentalism as we have practitioners.
How does this quote resonate with you? What does it say to you?