Dear IAEP Members and Friends,
As an organization committed to social justice, the International Association for Environmental Philosophy has listened carefully to communities of color and the other voices of Black Lives Matter as they call for racial justice, challenge systemic racism, and protest the militarization of U.S. police forces. We stand in solidarity. Now is the time to relay and amplify the demands of Black Lives Matter for the sake of a just and peaceful world.
As environmental philosophers we recognize that environmental harms are often concentrated in Black communities and communities of color while the benefits for which such harms were produced accrue largely to white communities. We recognize that the histories of racism and settler colonialism are intertwined with the history of environmental destruction.
We understand the environment not as “pristine nature,” but as a place where the exploitation and extraction of settler colonialism and racialized capitalism has destroyed, and continues to destroy, lands and their myriad living bodies, cultures, and peoples. Police brutality against Black bodies in the U.S. is part of the ongoing trauma and degradation produced by the forces of colonialism and racial capitalism that continue to shape our shared society today.
As continental philosophers we recognize that the “easy” universal voice with which much philosophy has been, and continues to be, written has often covered over various forms of exclusion and marginalization, including the exclusion and marginalization of Black and Indigenous people, and people of color generally.
We recognize too that environmental philosophy has often been exclusionary. The field’s early focus on a romantic depopulated notion of wilderness is but one example of the ways in which our field too has been racist.
We support the central demands that Black Lives Matter has articulated, originating from Black voices. We believe there needs to be acknowledgement of and accountability for the devaluation and dehumanization of black lives at the hands of the police. The systemic racism and cultures of corruption exemplified by arbitrary police violence must be confronted and eradicated.
As IAEP’s Executive Committee we continue to be committed to the work of environmental theorizing not as an alternative to the work of engaging with social and political issues, but as part and parcel of them. We are committed to listening and are always open to how we could do better.
The IAEP Executive Committee