Conservation biologist Rao introduces 20 “environmental defenders” who are black, Indigenous, and people of color, inspiring young readers and environmentalists.
When Rao entered the environmental field decades ago, she didn’t encounter many people who looked like her. But, she writes, “my culture and my passion for the earth are linked,” and she shows how that is the case for the defenders she interviewed for this book. Indonesian Muslim urban designer Nana Firman had limited results talking about “sustainability” and “conservation” with communities; when she identified Islamic foundations for stewardship, she found language that connected people to the cause. Oakland native Rue Mapp founded Outdoor Afro to connect African Americans to nature by holding space for the histories of injustice and exclusion black Americans have experienced in outdoor spaces and using a social justice lens to create safe and welcoming outdoor experiences. These environmental defenders hail from all over the world and vary greatly in ethnicity, culture, age, and religious background. The ways in which they protect the Earth vary too, but their messages echo each other with hope in what can happen when people come together and make small changes that add up. Each short biography, enhanced by attractive color photographs and engaging sidebars, also illustrates how the defenders came to their chosen paths—thought-provoking reading for young people figuring out their own contributions.
This valuable compilation shows that Earth’s salvation lies in the diversity of its people. (glossary, resources, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)