The Weekly - July 21, 2020 - 6

Pulse
S U M M E R

THE

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# W E A R E C O M M U N I T Y

Ramón Cruz

Intersectional
Environmentalism

The newly elected leader of the Sierra Club's 3.8
million members, Ramón Cruz, is an unapologetic
urbanophile, and he's ready to fight for justice alongside conservation. By Emma Athena
RAMÓN CRUZ, THE FIRST LATINO

president in the Sierra Club's 128year history, is ready for sweeping
change. The Puerto Rican-turnedNew Yorker was elected in May
and tasked with navigating three
historic global events: a pandemic,
the Trump administration, and a
roaring demand for equality. He
sees the fight for environmental

protection intimately connected
with the fight for social justice. We
talked with Cruz from his home in
Brooklyn. This interview has been
edited and condensed for clarity.
What makes you different from
past Sierra Club leaders?
For an organization that's been
around for so long, having a Latino

6 THE WEEKLY / OUTDOOR RETAILER SUMMER 2020

president, it's a big deal. It shows
the increasing importance of this
demographic in the country, and
it represents the future of the
country. We don't think of Trump
as our leader, but, ultimately,
he's the elected leader, and when
you hear his rhetoric against
Latino populations, classifying
Mexicans as rapists, et cetera,
it's relevant that an institution
as old, as big as the Sierra Club
elects its first Latino president in
the middle of this kind of debate.
We have come a long way, and we
still have long ways to go, but my
election cannot be seen separated
from where the nation is right
now, where the environmental
movement is right now.
What are the Sierra Club's most
pressing challenges, and how
will it help protect the most
vulnerable populations?
The work for environmental justice and racial justice is inextricable. We will only have one when
we have the other. When you have
environmental pollution, when
you have the climate crisis-and
when all of that is based on a
system that recognizes some areas
as "disposable"-then you will
sacrifice some areas. And in order
to sacrifice some areas, then that
means the people in that area are
also disposable or can be sacrificed as well. You cannot have that
notion of areas you can sacrifice or
people you can sacrifice without
racism, without white supremacy,
without a culture that could make

me superior to those people, no?
That's why we need to stop racism
and any kind of supremacy in order
to save the environment.
All of the effects of the climate
crisis and environmental pollution-and the access to a new clean
economy and its benefits-are not
shared equally across racial and
socioeconomic divides right now.
We believe every person deserves
to live in a healthy, safe, welcoming
community-without fear, or physical or institutional violence. We
believe public investments should
be focused on preventing violence,
not funding a form of policing
that only results in more violence.
Investments in nature can help
achieve these goals, and that's the
link. It's why Sierra Club supports
the removal of statues that are
monuments to slavery, to genocide,
which make public spaces unwelcoming to Black, indigenous, and
people of color. And it's why we're
working to counter anti-Blackness
in the outdoors.
Access to nature is a human
right, and we fight to make outdoor spaces safe and welcoming
for all. It's why we're pushing to
address systemic racism through
targeted investments in under-resourced communities and as part
of COVID-19 relief legislation.
Only by correcting all these racial
disparities in our health care and
economic systems can we hope
to avoid the negative outcomes
for communities of color from
climate change and health crises
in the future.

CO U R T E SY S I E R R A C LU B

H E A D L I N E S

2 0 2 0


https://www.sierraclub.org/

The Weekly - July 21, 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Weekly - July 21, 2020

Contents
The Weekly - July 21, 2020 - Cover1
The Weekly - July 21, 2020 - Cover2
The Weekly - July 21, 2020 - Contents
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The Weekly - July 21, 2020 - 21
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The Weekly - July 21, 2020 - 27
The Weekly - July 21, 2020 - 28
The Weekly - July 21, 2020 - Cover3
The Weekly - July 21, 2020 - Cover4
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