The Mainstreaming of Activism

‘Ahead of the Curve’ in collaboration with SYSTEMIQ – Episode 5

Environmental justice and racial justice are inextricably linked, according to our latest podcast guest. Jerome Foster II is an environmental activist, voting rights advocate, and emerging technology engineer. He sits on President Biden’s White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council and serves as executive director of OneMillionOfUs, which educates and mobilises young people to register and turn out to vote. If you think that’s impressive for a 19-year-old, just wait until you hear him speak.

Foster is someone who believes that “You can’t have any kind of social justice without climate justice”. He thinks that “What’s needed is for governments around the world to make unprofitable [infrastructural] investments in rural communities”. He passionately believes that tackling the effects of climate change is not a Republican or Democratic issue because it affects all of us, whatever your political leaning. And in this podcast he tells us how he engages across the political divide.

His linking of environmental and racial justice is both easy to grasp and persuasive. For centuries economics has been built on extractivism and exploitation of natural resources, he argues. Black people have been ravaged so much over the centuries they are still recovering and the same is true of nature. He has ideas how we can build a more equitable and safe society for people, which starts with how we invest in things. “Budgets are moral documents,” he told us.

Host Paul Van Zyl suggests that Foster and fellow young people who are engaged in change, mobile, and increasingly wielding political power, might be one of the tipping points necessary to help tackle climate change effectively. If you’re looking to be enlightened and inspired in equal measure, tune into the latest episode of ‘Ahead of the Curve’.

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