Did you know that it’s cool to be black and green? Kari Fulton has been leading the charge to let the black community know that environmental justice is an issue to be concerned about. The Denver native is considered one of the leading green justice activists of color in the country.
Fulton is a youth campaign coordinator for the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative (EJCC), and is co-founder of ChecktheWeather.net. After seeing the environmental devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Fulton awakened to the fact that environmental justice was a black issue.
“If you live on this earth and you breathe this air and you walk on this planet, then you are an environmentalist,” she said in a video interview with the Brower Youth Awards. “There is no other cause that can unite this many people like the environment can.”
The Howard University graduate co-founded the Loving Our City, Loving Ourselves, a campus and community initiative that builds solidarity on issues of concern in Washington, DC. In her capacity at EJCC, Fulton trains hundreds of young people at more than 50 universities, particularly students of color at historically black colleges, about the importance of building a green movement.
In addition, Fulton is a 2008 recipient of the Damu Smith Power of One Award and Earth Island Institute’s Brower Youth Award.
Recently, Fulton took her message of urban green justice international when she attended the United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen in December to coordinate other American youth of color in attendance. She felt compelled to be there in order to make sure the voices of American people of color – a demographic most vulnerable to climate change – were represented at the table.
For this young activist, “we must first work on the environment and get that together, and once we get that together, we can work on everything else in a better, more realistic and holistic manner.”