“There is no question that the environmental movement is most critical to our survival. Our house is literally burning, and it is only logical that environmentalists expect the social justice movement to get on the environmental bus. But it is actually the other way around; the only way we are going to put out this fire is to get on the social justice bus and heal our wounds, because in the end, there is only one bus.”Paul Hawken
While studying earth systems and sustainability science at Stanford University, Darel Scott struggled to feel a sense of belonging in the environmental movement.
“When our conversations envisioned these bright and sustainable futures, I didn’t see my culture or people who look like me reflected in that vision. Actually, even looking around me in those very conversations, I didn’t see many people who looked like me either,” she recalls.
Her references were different, too. For most of her peers, a highlight of their experience is visiting the O’Donahue Family Stanford Educational Farm. Yet Darel found it difficult to connect to the land and the people of the farm. Instead, this experience led her to consider the complicated relationships between cultural history, land, and the impacts of racism, violence, and oppression.
These experiences prompted Darel toward deep inquiry around the intersection of race and environment, even beyond the land histories interwoven with historical pain. She began to focus specifically on the cultural disconnection people of color may have to natural spaces and how that interrelated to intergenerational nature-related traumas.
From her desire to make both nature and the environmental movement more inclusive, Earth in Color was born. Earth in Color started as an art festival on a farm to celebrate people of color and their cultural connections to the natural world. That day under the spring sun—filled with art, food, music, and connection—highlighted the importance of people of color being able to see themselves through this lens of health and sustainability.
Earth in Color exists because everyone should have the opportunity to experience the healing and nourishment that comes from deep kinship with the earth. Through storytelling, outreach, and nature experiences, Earth in Color removes cultural barriers to engaging in healthy, sustainable living. Darel and her team want to manifest community healing and create a future in which we all can live in ways that regenerate our bodies, our communities, and the earth.
The Pollination Project was honored to support Darel’s early work, and serves as a fiscal sponsor for her next ambitious venture. Earth in Color plans to launch two projects before the end of the year: Radicle and UNEARTHED. Radicle is an interactive magazine that is a companion for nature engagement and sustainable living. The magazine includes recipes, activities that spark earth curiosity, photo essays, resources and more. UNEARTHED is a documentary series that celebrates and archives Black land history. It highlights past and present connections to place focusing on relationships to the natural environment. Through each episode, Earth in Color will encourage the Black community to call their elders in order to unearth their histories and heal their connections to the land.
Earth in Color recently launched an Indiegogo campaign that will help to progress their bold mission. Contributions are tax deductible through their fiscal sponsorship with The Pollination Project, to the extent allowable by law. You can support and learn more here.