“Green” is the buzz word of the moment in everything from business to food to government policies. However, from the general media standpoint, it seems as if African Americans aren’t proportionally represented in the Green movement. So, are they going green? And with so many immediate threats to their community, why should they?
According to the 2003 University of Michigan study entitled "Dispelling Old Myths: African American Concern for the Environment," African Americans are going green and do show they are knowledgeable and concerned with the environment they live in and the foods they eat.
Paul Mohai, associate professor at the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and Environment, is the author of the study published in Environment Magazine, and in the report said, "The conventional wisdom is that, due to greater concerns about jobs, crime, education and other 'survival' issues, African Americans are unconcerned about the environment. This study provides clear evidence that conventional wisdom is wrong."
In an interview for this article, green lifestyle expert, Chris-Tia Donaldson of Thank God I'm Natural says that Blacks have adopted “green” behaviors as a matter of economic necessity rather than purely out of care for the environment.
She explains, “Historically, Blacks farmed and cultivated their lands with vegetables, fruits and the foods they needed to feed their families and make a living. In the kitchen, they developed traditions, including reusing plastic bags and jelly jars and creating new dishes from a hodge podge of leftover items. For many 'environmentalists' riding a bike or taking the train to work is a way of reducing their carbon footprint, but for African-Americans living in low income communities without access to a car, public transportation is a matter of necessity for providing for their families.”
It seems as if African Americans may not be chanting “Reduce. Reuse. Recycle” at local Earth Day rallies, but rather they are quietly living a green lifestyle.