Systematic racism and white supremacy are at the core of why Black voices are often left out of conversations about the environment and outdoor spaces. From being restricted from land ownership or being forced to live in communities exposed to harmful air and water pollutants, BIPOC communities have historically been at the short end of the stick when it comes to environmental concerns.

Historically, the idea of environmental advocacy did not include Black people. Environmentalists of color rarely received the same acknowledgment or accolades as their counterparts. Despite this reality, Black advocates are crucial to the environmental movement and closing the gap in outdoor spaces. Through their contributions, they bring diversity and representation into a space that often ignores issues that plague BIPOC communities.

Black environmentalists intersect the fights for social and community justice issues. These fights usually revolve around gentrification and the erasure of BIPOC communities and spaces. These advocates lead the charge for equality in green living, climate justice, wildlife concerns and land preservation. Their ability to provide a broader range of perspectives and engage with all communities has contributed to the transformation of the environmental crusade.

As we celebrate Earth Day, here are 10 Black environmentalists worth knowing and rallying behind.

Rue Mapp


View this profile on Instagram


Rue Mapp (@ruemapp) • Instagram photos and videos

Dr. Robert Bullard

Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant


View this profile on Instagram


Rae Wynn-Grant, PhD (@raewynngrant) • Instagram photos and videos

Dr. Dorceta Taylor

Leah Thomas


View this profile on Instagram


Leah Thomas (@greengirlleah) • Instagram photos and videos

Jerome Foster II


View this profile on Instagram


Jerome Foster II (@jeromefosterii) • Instagram photos and videos

Alexis Nikole


View this profile on Instagram


Alexis Nikole 🌾🍀 (@blackforager) • Instagram photos and videos

Danni Washington


View this profile on Instagram


DANNI WASHINGTON 🧜🏽‍♀️ MERMAID (@danniwashington) • Instagram photos and videos

Wawa Gatheru


View this profile on Instagram


Wawa Gatheru (@wawa_gatheru) • Instagram photos and videos

Chelsea Murphy


View this profile on Instagram


Chelsea Murphy (@she_colorsnature) • Instagram photos and videos