Climate Action

Reading List: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Environment

Martin Luther King Jr. was quoted as saying, “We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers.” Below, stories about his work as it relates to environmental justice. “Martin Luther King Jr. and Environmental Justice: A Leader Ahead of His Time” (CDC)
“When we look at the environmental justice movement today, the same social justice and rights Dr. King defended are intrinsic in the movement’s focus on the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of individuals in society…”
“Martin Luther King, Civil Rights, and Environmental Justice” (KCET)
“Martin Luther King highlighted urban planning, parks and recreation, schools and education, human health, meaningful work, and democratic decision making as genuine civil rights issues….”
“Martin Luther King Jr.: Ecologolical Thinker” (Drew Dellinger)
“King’s phrase, “network of mutuality,” is perhaps as good a definition of ecology as any offered by an ecologist. Is it possible that recovering the ecological and cosmological dimensions of King’s vision could help inspire our present work to link issues, connect ecology and social justice, and build a culture with a viable future?…”
“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Helped ‘Plant the Seeds’ for ‘Environmental Justice Movement,’ Says Attorney General Holder” (CNS News)
“Together we are approaching environmental justice just as what it is: It is a civil rights issue. By examining environmental requirements in conjunction with our civil rights laws, I am confident that we can do a better job of assuring fairness and advancing justice….”
“Dr. King Said Segregation Harms Us All. Environmental Research Shows He Was Right.” (New York Times)
“He died before the modern environmental movement, but a growing body of research around pollution and health shows that his belief about segregation hurting everyone extends to the environment as well….”