Wednesday Night Owls: Young activists shift the focus to ‘intersectional environmentalism’

Wednesday Night Owls: Young activists shift the focus to ‘intersectional environmentalism’

Night Owls is a themed open thread appearing at Daily Kos seven days a week.

Cameron Oglesby at Grist writes—The generational rift over ‘intersectional environmentalism’

New eras are often marked by changes in language.

Whereas the Trump administration was calling natural gas “molecules of freedom,” the Biden administration has gone all-in on “environmental justice.” President Biden made it a primary theme of one of his first executive orders and created a new council for addressing equity, on top of nominating North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality Secretary, Michael Regan, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. This is a new emphasis for the White House, and it has contributed to increased mainstream media coverage of the environmental justice movement.

But much like Biden’s oft-used catchphrase, “listen to the science,” his vocabulary on equity might not be translating quite how he means it to — especially when compared to the way young climate leaders are currently talking about injustice.

“Racial justice, economic justice, immigration justice — it’s all climate justice,” wrote Nikayla Jefferson, a Sunrise Movement organizer and graduate student, in a November op-ed titled “It’s our party now.” “This isn’t just the white climate kids’ movement anymore — this is an intersectional movement for justice.”

Intersectional environmentalism — yes, it is a mouthful — rings true with many young environmental activists today. The uptick in its use goes back to this past spring, shortly after the death of George Floyd. Eco-influencer Leah Thomas, commonly known as Green Girl Leah, posted on Instagram last May, asking environmentalists to step up and acknowledge the racial disparities in their own organizations. “I’m calling on the environmentalist community to stand in solidarity with the black lives matter movement and with Black, Indigenous + POC communities impacted daily by both social and environmental injustice,” she wrote. “Please swipe to learn more about intersectional environmentalism and take the pledge.”

Seemingly overnight, Thomas said she received over 100,000 new Instagram followers, most of them young people. “For Gen Z, for whatever reason, intersectionality just clicks,” Thomas told Grist. […]


George Shultz, the Godfather of the Discredited Laffer Curve, by Bruce Bartlett. The late secretary of state helped bring an economic monster to Washington.

The New Deal Put Huge Numbers of Unemployed Artists to Work, by Ellen Engelstad. New Deal job programs didn’t just absorb unemployment but allowed thousands of artists and writers to work on ambitious creative projects. Works Progress Administration funding allowed a golden age in U.S. culture—but drew vicious anti-communist attacks, offering a foretaste of McCarthyism.

Larry Summers Is Still Worth Ignoring, by Jeet Heer. Shut out of power, the onetime wunderkind tries to grab the spotlight with an attention-getting argument.



In largely virtual House Financial Services markup of Covid bill, @RepTomEmmer is asked to suspend his comments and figure out why he is upside down.

— Jack Fitzpatrick ☘️ (@jackfitzdc) February 10, 2021


“Diversity is what happens when you have representation of various groups in one place. Representation is what happens when groups that haven’t previously been included, are included. Intersectionality is what happens when we do everything through the lens of making sure that no one is left behind. More than surface-level inclusion, or merely making sure everyone is represented, intersectionality is the practice of interrogating the power dynamics and rationales of how we can be together.”
           ~~Alicia GarzaThe Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart (2020)


On this date at Daily Kos in 2011—House GOP meltdown over budget cuts:

Basically we’re seeing two factions in the GOP these days, the ORCs and the YATs.

The first are the Opportunist Republican Cynics (ORCs), and they are still the dominant faction. They are led by John Boehner, and they are basically the same people who drove America’s economy into the ground under George W. Bush. They’ve regained power thanks to tea partiers, Fox News, and a willingness to parrot the doomsdayer teahadist rhetoric about spending and debt, but they also understand that actually following through on what they promised would be a political disaster of epic proportion. The problem for ORCs is that they don’t have anything else to offer because they last time they were allowed to drive policy decisions for the GOP, they ended up thoroughly discrediting the party.

The other faction are the Yelling Angry Teahadists (YATs). They don’t control the GOP leadership, but there’s enough of them that the GOP needs them to maintain its majority. The YATs believe everything they said during the campaign about how Obama is the second coming of Karl Marx and how spending is destroying America. They really believe the only way to save America is to eliminate the deficit and they believe the deficit can be balanced by immediately cutting spending by hundreds of billions of dollars. And they believe the rest of America agrees with them. YATs are the only Republicans with any real enthusiasm, but that’s mostly because their ideas haven’t yet been discredited by the test of reality.

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