As the effects of the climate crisis manifest across the world, the responses to the global ecological emergency have become one of the most talked about topics in society. However, the ways that it is discussed in Western mainstream media would lead people to believe that the climate movement emerged from a wave of white and middle-class people making climate emergency declarations over the past few years. This representation is ultimately a result of the marginalisation of narratives from black, brown and indigenous communities in the global south and diaspora who have been experiencing the effects of this crisis for a long time before these recent proclamations.
Like many children who received a whitewashed, Eurocentric public education, my introduction to learning about the effects of climate change had no explicit racial analysis. In addition, the limited teaching I received about European colonialism did not take into account how exploitation of people of colour, land and resources is directly connected to the current ecological breakdown. So, it wasn't until I was in my mid-20s that I learned more about climate colonialism: the understanding of climate change as a legacy of European colonisation and Western Imperialism. This was a revelation that helped me to recognise and articulate the ways in which the climate justice movement had become a colonised space that centred the needs and perspectives of the white Western world at the expense of communities of colour.