Rolling Out

Raina Turner-Greenlea discusses how buying new clothes can harm the environment

Raina Turner-Greenlea shares the biggest issue that could be a detriment to our environment

Raina Turner-Greenlea is the co-founder and director of Black Sustainability Inc., where they inform others about sustainability and build communities and economies that will restore balance to the planet.

Turner-Greenlea spoke with rolling out about what we should know about sustainability and some of the biggest issues plaguing the environment.

What should the Black and Brown community know about sustainability?

For the Black community to understand, we’ve done this before; we’ve had these practices before. All of these new terms of permaculture and reparative agriculture are things that our ancestors had already done, who were brought over here and gave us our knowledge and wisdom. Let’s be very clear about what we possess, and then make sure that our community is informed and that we can implement that in our communities for our self-sufficiency.

If we’re living in food deserts, we should be able to grow our own food; we should have a network of Black farms and farmers that are sourcing our food. Our network is bringing together those of us who have that knowledge, that wisdom, and that interest in learning and relearning to participate in our learning management system for learning how to grow our own foods, for looking at alternative sources of energy, what have we done before, and looking at how we build our own homes.

What are some issues people should know about that are plaguing the environment?

What we recognize at our core is that we have been indoctrinated into this Western thought process, which talks about how we’re just going to take as much as we can and get mine. That’s not how we are as a people. That’s not how our ancestors were, and we need to have a return or Sankofa back into that cultural pride and resonance that we have with being a part of nature. As we reclaim this African-centered worldview, then we start to reclaim the practices that were beneficial to our planet and our homes. If I am in the sneaker culture where I’m rocking all these shoes, or I’m buying the nicest gear, and I’m not wearing that outfit again because I gotta be fresh when I go back again, I’m creating waste. I’m contributing to this.

We need to recalibrate our thinking and return to a way where we are living in harmony with nature. That doesn’t mean you can’t buy your sneakers, but it does look like being more mindful about how many sneakers and shoes you’ve purchased, or what type of clothing you’re getting. When you’re sweating, the fabrics that you’re wearing should be natural fibers, because the chemicals are leaching into your skin and getting into your bloodstream. Just be mindful of what you’re doing and have a process for returning this waste and turning it into something else that can be beneficial and economically beneficial to our community.

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