As the global climate crisis intensifies, its impact beyond ecological concerns is increasingly evident. Climate change affects us all, but it disproportionately affects vulnerable communities, including the LGBTQIA2S+ community. Environmental justice recognizes that marginalized communities often bear the disproportionate brunt of its consequences and strives to address the intersecting inequalities exacerbated by climate change.
The intersectionality of queer identities and environmental justice sheds light on the specific challenges faced by individuals who identify as such; reduced access to wealth, resources, and supportive networks necessary to adapt to a changing climate exacerbates the vulnerability of these communities, often forcing them to endure worsening conditions brought on by a deteriorating environment.
The fight for LGBTQIA2S+ rights and environmental justice share a common goal of creating a more equitable and sustainable future for all. According to Lisa Pradhan of Earthjustice, LGBTQ activists and organizers have long been at the forefront of movements for social and environmental justice. Both movements understand the need for intersectional approaches that account for race, gender, class, and other intersecting identities. The environmental justice movement recognizes that the fight for a sustainable future cannot be achieved without addressing the systemic injustices faced by LGBTQIA2S+ and other marginalized communities.
While our nation becomes increasingly divided and distracted by amplifying culture wars, the powers that be delight, as their real goal is to diffuse our collective strength. Far-right groups like The Heritage Foundation, the Koch Industries climate denial front group, are also behind the recent slew of anti-LGBTQIA2S+ legislation nationwide. They go as far as drafting model legislation and have offered financial support for legal fees to fight when laws are challenged in court. We can see this in Alaska with the revived effort to ban queer books in our libraries. First, they came for queer books, and next, they will petition for the removal of books on climate change.
Recognizing the shared struggles is crucial for building solidarity and fostering a collective vision of a more equitable and sustainable future. When we allow culture wars and false divisions to separate us, we fail to recognize and unite behind a shared vision. Once we stop seeing these fights for humanity as separate, we open ourselves up to the possibility of learning from each other in deeper ways.
Science shows us that ecosystems are stronger the more diverse they are. Ecosystems celebrate diversity, and so should we.