Frank & Audrey Peterman, G .W. Carver among top 29 Black environmentalists
Local environmentalists Frank and Audrey Peterman are among the top ‘29 African American Environmentalists’ and pioneers cited by San Francisco Environment in celebration of Black History Month. The list includes the revered scientist and humanitarian Dr. George Washington Carver (1864-1943) whose discoveries in resource conservation in the early 1900s still set the standard for today.
“We are excited to feature 29 African American Environmentalists during this celebratory month,” said Shawn Rosenmos, the agency’s Senior Environmental Specialist in Development and Community Partnerships. “There are so many people doing amazing work on environmental issues – from urban and rural agriculturists to environmental justice advocates to naturalists to scientists – we only got to the tip of the iceberg in recognizing those making real and lasting change. While it has been difficult to find information on early leaders, we know that they were there, creating a movement and legacy that grows stronger each day.”
“To be included on a list with Dr. Carver makes me tremble in awe, as we have accomplished nothing close,” says Audrey Peterman. “His belief that nature reflects God and that we must take care of the environment for future generations is the focus of our mission today. This list brings the past and the present together at a time when African Americans are displaying widespread interest in becoming more ‘green.’ I hope it encourages others to find where they fit in.”
The leaders cited range from MaVynee Oshun Betsch, “The Beach Lady” (1935-2005) who worked tirelessly to save her beloved NaNa dunes on American Beach, to Majora Carter, MacArthur ‘Genius Award’ winner and renowned urban revitalization specialist.
From Solomon G. Brown (1829-1906) who distinguished the Smithsonian in his 54-year service at that institution to Will Allen, founder and CEO of Growing Power Inc., a leader in agriculture and food policy, named one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People by Time Magazine.
From former US EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to Savonala Horne who strives to keep Black farmers on their land in North Carolina.
From Ranger Shelton Johnson who sheds light on Black history in the high Sierra Mountains of Yosemite National Park in California to Marjorie Richard, who tackled environmental injustice that made her Louisiana community sick, and won the Goldman Environmental Prize.
The list is expansive but by no means exhaustive.
“The best thing about this i; knowing so many other people out there who could be on this list,” says Frank Peterman. “It’s a great contrast to when we started here in Fort Lauderdale in the 1990s and many people said, ‘Oh, Black people don’t have time for the environment.’ African Americans have a long tradition of being involved with everything, because everything affects us as human beings and citizens of this country.”
The full list is available at:
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