THE BLOG

Black Girls Can Be Green, Too

02/11/2015 12:57 pm ET | Updated Apr 13, 2015

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When we picture people who are part of the eco-friendly "green" movement, we don't often picture our Nubian sisters. However, personal experience and data confirms the fact that Black people and other "people of color" can be green. This includes Black girls, an often under-recognized group of "greenies." As Juanette demonstrates in the picture above from her blog, fashionnette-work.blogspot.com, green (mind, body, and soul) is a fabulous look for us.

Black people are just one sub-group of a large ecologically conscious community of folks that I call "guardians of the planet." Responsible ecology is part of our history and culture; it is in our DNA:

"There was a time when guardians acted in isolation as people tried to label them as hippies, tree-huggers, cults, or 'weirdos.' Now, more people understand what all the fuss is about because we are more enlightened about global warming, deforestation, and irresponsible wastefulness. Together, we realize that being green is not just good for the planet, it is good for our health, too, and makes us feel good. As we change our thinking, we also realize that it is not so difficult, after all." Excerpt from Black Girls Guide: How to Be Green

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A recent study titled Dispelling Old Myths: African American Concern for the Environment demonstrated our community's concern about ecological issues. According to study results: African Americans are less likely to buy food treated with pesticides, are as likely to join environmental groups, and are more likely to express concern about their local environment than White Americans. This might surprise some, but it doesn't surprise me.

I wrote Black Girls Guide: How to Be Green because we can be fierce, fly, beautiful, and green. In addition to all of its numerous benefits, being green also saves money. Who doesn't like that? Nowadays, it is easy and fun to be eco-chic. The interest is there and the sooner we learn, the better off all of us will be.

There is a proverb:

"The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now."

Wangai Maathai was an environmentalist and political activist from Kenya who founded the Green Belt Movement and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. She taught us that we can all do our part. When we incorporate the four R's (Rethink, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) into our daily routines, we are practicing a green, eco-friendly lifestyle that can save us time, money, and our health, while contributing to the longevity of our planet.

From carpooling and biking to work, changing our diets and growing food gardens, to purchasing energy-saving appliances and compost toilets, to eliminating plastic bags and using permaculture techniques, adding grey water systems, and making all-natural beauty products that do not test on animals... the green movement is alive and well. Younger generations seem to be very motivated and often adapt to green habits exceedingly well.

Being green is becoming big business, too. Jessica Alba's Honest Company, for example, is a company that specialized in chemical-free, non-toxic products. A business model of ethical eco-consumerism, it has recently been valued at over one billion dollars.

How we build, what we wear, and what we do -- it all matters. What are you doing that is eco-friendly, environmentally sustainable, and green?