“What you’re doing is that you’re taking a colonial approach to environmentalism.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., revealed Sunday that a “core component” of her Green New Deal is adapting projects to “communities of color.”
In Instagram video filmed during a visit to a Bronx community garden, Ocasio-Cortez said that she has faced backlash from defenders of “a colonialist approach to environmentalism.” But she said she would not back down from her fight against racist vegetables.
“That is such a core component of the Green New Deal is having all of these projects make sense in a cultural context, and it’s an area that we get the most pushback on because people say, ‘Why do you need to do that? That’s too hard,'” she said.
“But when you really think about it — when someone says that it’s ‘too hard’ to do a green space that grows Yucca instead of, I don’t know, cauliflower or something — what you’re doing is that you’re taking a colonial approach to environmentalism, and that is why a lot of communities of color get resistant to certain environmentalist movements because they come with the colonial lens on them.”
Ocasio-Cortez has made clear that the Green New Deal is not just a plan to save the planet for climate catastrophe, but also to overhaul America’s society and economy in the name of social justice.
“There is no justice and there is no combating climate change without addressing what has happened to indigenous communities,” she said in announcing that a resolution for her plan would be introduced to Congress in February. “That means that there is no fixing our economy without addressing the racial wealth gap.”
Ocasio-Cortez explained to her Instagram followers that she was highlighting the garden in her district in an effort to connect it to the one she maintains in Washington, D.C. Although she has admitted to not really knowing how to garden, she said that “living off the land” is in her blood.
“Our communities are naturally in tune to live in an environmentally conscious way,” she said. “A lot of us are one or two generations removed from living off the land. My family in Puerto Rico in many ways lives off the land.”