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Courtesy Sanetra Longo
September 28, 2022 6:00 AM EDT

Leah Thomas’ mother made sure she was surrounded by stories centering brown and Black voices throughout her childhood in St. Louis. But at college, and while working as a National Park Service ranger, the self-­proclaimed science nerd realized conversations about the environment and social justice didn’t always take into account how the issues overlapped. When Black Lives Matter protests erupted in 2020, she posted a call to action on Insta­gram that popularized the idea of “intersectional environmentalism.” Scientists echoed the words. Professors began lecturing on the topic. Thomas and her friends launched a resource hub to help everyone from the public to major brands rethink their approaches to sustainability. In the time since, she’s continued to build a coalition of educators and activists to further raise awareness—and uplift solutions. This includes launching a unique Black eco-­feminist summit in London this October. Her work addresses more than just injustices, she says: it also shows that “diversity and inclusion and environmentalism is very joyful.”

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