Environmental Womanist Activism and Environmental Justice


           Activism, whether it be at the personal community level, international level, or anywhere in between, is at the heart of the womanist worldview. As Layli Maparyan expresses, it is an activism that springs “from a deep love and concern for humanity that originates in love and concern for our family, friends, and loved ones, our communities, the natural environment, and the spirit world”[1]. Activism is the channel through which womanist transformation is made, challenges are embraced, and people are able to connect. Environmental womanist activism focuses on the intersections of the oppression and exploitation of the natural environment and oppressions based on all different aspects of identity and positionality. As mentioned above, environmental womanist activism can be, and is, done on many levels, in many different ways, and by diverse types of groups. Much, if not most, of this activism begins among people working together at the local community level, such as the work done in NYC by WE ACT for Environmental Justice or the activism of the Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice and the Green Belt Movement in Kenya which began locally and have expanded into national and international movements (without losing their local focus). Other organizations work at the national level as forms of organization for many connected local groups, such as the Indigenous Environmental Network in the US and Navdanya in India. Groups such as Women’s Earth Alliance and Women’s Earth & Climate Action Network are international movements which serve as sources of collaboration, support, and organization for activists in many different countries. Finally, some organizations, like the Women’s Environment and Development Organization, act as agents of international womanist influence on institutions such as the UN and national governments, working as organizers for collective and inclusive action.  All of these activist groups, in many different ways, are spaces for environmental womanist advocacy, education, action, organization, mutual support, alliance, collaboration, representation, awareness, research, political participation, and community health and well-being.

The Green Belt Movement:


Women’s Earth & Climate Action Network (WECAN), International:




Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA):


Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN):


WE ACT for Environmental Justice:


Detroiters working for Environmental Justice (DWEJ):


Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WE DO)



[1] Phillips, Layli. The Womanist Idea. London: Routledge, 2012. Print.