In honor of Earth Day, it’s worth noting some of the many Black entrepreneurs who have created businesses aimed at pouring back into the planet.
Darrell Jobe developed a natural passion for preserving the planet following a number of shirt prison stints. Looking for a way to help the environment, Jobe created Vericool to help brands use environmentally safe product packaging.
“I love animals and if you do, you care about the environment because that’s how they live,” Jobe told NBC News. “All the stuff that went on in my life, that respect for the earth never left me.”
“To get beyond all that and to be able to do something to protect the environment is rewarding.”
Abdul-Matin, author of “Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet,” notes the growing number of Black-owned sustainable businesses and the shift from the stereotype that environmental advocates are typically white and wealthy.
“They represent a movement of human beings that are concerned about how we live the best possible way on the planet Earth — and how we solve problems better than we’ve ever done before,” Abdul-Martin said.
After working as an electrical engineer at a nuclear facility, Tanjuria Willis expanded her consignment shop, eKlozet, through the launch of Atlanta Sustainable Fashion Week.
“Sustainable textiles are created with the environment in mind,” Willis said. “The aim is to reduce harm through the production process, fiber properties and environmental impact contributing to the reduction of waste, water conservation, lowered carbon emissions and soil regeneration.”
Willis’ sustainable fashion event showcases models wearing designs “produced in a socially responsible manner or promotes a circular economy, thereby extending the life cycle of the garment and keeping them out of the landfill,” she said.
Abdul-Martin encourages those who are environmentally conscious to advocate and encourage others to do their part in preserving the planet.
“I would venture to say that most Black folks have a deep tradition that is already connected to the land and connected to the earth,” he said.
“And if they don’t, they may have some relatives or some folks in their families that are. We should care. We should care because it’s absolutely essential. You can’t assume that certain things that happen are part of the natural world or are random occurrences. Human impact is obvious.”