10 Black Environmentalists We Love

As of this week, June 19th is a federal holiday. Juneteenth recognizes the day in 1865 when Union troops arrived in Texas, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, to announce that all slaves were to be free. 

A federally recognized holiday is not justice or reparation, but it is a victory for many who championed the cause. It now exists not only as a day of celebration, but as another opportunity to bring awareness to systemic oppression and to confront our ugly history so we can continue to stay accountable for it.

Our company's primary objective is the health of the planet and those living on it, and we believe that racial justice is inseparable from environmental justice, so we'll always take an opportunity to lift up and celebrate marginalized people and support their work. 

These incredible activists deserve a shout-out and a follow this weekend!


Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson 

A marine biologist, policy expert, writer, and Brooklyn native. She is a founder of the non-profit think tank Urban Ocean Lab, co-founder of the climate initiative The All We Can Save Project, and co-host of the podcast How to Save a Planet. You’ll find her at the nexus of science, policy, and communication, building community around climate solutions.


Wanjiku “Wawa” Gatheru

An environmental justice advocate passionate about empowering BIPOC communities, Gatheru is a Rhodes, Truman, and Udall Scholar, and the founder of Black Girl Environmentalist, a supportive community of Black girls, women, and non-binary environmentalists.


Genesis Butler

Now just 14, Genesis Butler went vegan at the age of 6 and has been campaigning for animal rights ever since. She is the founder of Youth Climate Save, and winner of the Animal Hero Kids' Sir Paul McCartney Young Veg Advocate award, Vegan Kid of the Year award from Vegans Are Cool, PETA's Youth Activist of the Year, and the Lisa Shapiro Youth Activist award.


Chelsea Murphy

Chelsea Murphy is a social and environmental activist promoting diversity and inclusion in the outdoors. Murphy is a mother, writer, speaker, and the founder of She Colors Nature


Brittany Leavitt

Backpacker, climber, educator, Brittany Leavitt is another trailblazer for fellow women of color in the outdoors. Her work with Outdoor Afro, Brown Girls Climb, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and REI helps to promote diversity, inclusivity, and accessibility in climbing.

Ashley Renne

A sustainable lifestyle and plant-based health expert, intersectional environmentalism advocate, vegan mom, and host of Smart Healthy Green Living!

Leah Penniman

Co-director and farm manager at Soul Fire Farm, whose mission is to end racism in the food system and reclaim ancestral connections to the land. Leah’s book “Farming While Black” has been described as “a love song for Earth and her people.”

John Francis / The Planetwalker

An activist famous for his 22 year abstinence from motorized vehicles and 17 year vow of silence, John Francis has modeled his organization Planetwalk on his own "pilgrimage", promoting environmental education and responsibility with a vision for world peace. Planetwalk works "to transcend cultural, social and political boundaries by fostering communication between young people, scientists and environmental practitioners."


Peggy Shepard

A community organizer and advocate, Shepard is the co-founder and executive director of WE ACT For Environmental Justice, a not-for-profit that empowers low-income people of color to build strong communities. She campaigns to address environmental protection and environmental health policy both locally and nationally. 


Rue Mapp

Founder of Outdoor Afro, a nonprofit network connecting Black community out in nature, empowering leadership and inspiring a passion for conservation. Mapp is an inspirational writer, speaker, and public lands champion. 



1 comment

What a fantastic list! I’ll be digging through it to follow these fantastic humans. Thank you!

Rachel June 28, 2021

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