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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Tru Earth Applies An Intersectional Lens To Their Fight For Climate Justice

Within a year of being in business, Tru Earth supplied 60,000 people in 40 countries with an eco-friendly 2’’ x 4’’ laundry strip weighing just under 3 grams. If everyone made the switch from using laundry detergent to these strips, they could eliminate nearly 1 billion plastic jugs, save truck fuel and the CO2 equivalent to taking 27 million cars off the road per day.

In addition to working hard to save the planet, Tru Earth also makes a conscious effort to care about all people by applying intersectionality to their young and ambitious business mindset.

Intersectionality was first coined by Kimberly Crenshaw who analyzed how different aspects of a person’s social and political identities combine to create different ways of discrimination and privilege. From there, intersectionality has spread into a variety of social justice movements—including environmentalism. 

Historically, environmentalism has ignored how different groups of people have been disproportionately affected by something such as the climate crisis. For example, in a study done by S. Nazrul Islam titled, “Inequality and Environmental Sustainability,” it showed that the depletion of forests and open capture fish stocks may decrease the resource base of low-income people, reducing their real income and thus aggravating inequality. 

Not only are essential resource prices rising, making general living costs rise in the process, but eco-friendly products are also expensive. This leaves low-income communities powerless in fighting the climate crisis that they experience disproportionately more than the rest of the population. Due to this, intersectional environmentalism has continued to be pushed by BIPOC, activists and communities, land defenders, the labor rights movements, and low income communities, among others. 

Tru Earth has been listening, and has been actively working to donate their products to those in need to narrow the disparity. They have donated nearly 8.5 million loads of laundry, in counting, to a variety of locations such as hospitals, food banks, shelters, transition houses, animal rescues, and women’s safety houses.

In addition to building their donation program, Tru Earth is investing in education about intersectional environmentalism into the foundation of their young company by implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion training for all executives and department heads. They also encourage the use of pronouns in internal Slack bios and external emails.

“In general, it is a good practice to have as it allows people to share their pronouns without feeling singled out. It just creates a more comfortable workplace. It also allows people that we work with to know how to approach us or speak about us,” said Mckenna Liski, Tru Earth’s Environmental and Sustainability Impact Specialist. 

On social media, Liski amplifies the multitude of diverse environmentalists to their online community by sharing social media accounts that are talking about climate justice and intersectionality every week on Fridays.

“I think it’s really important as there’s kind of a stereotype as to who can be an environmentalist, and who can not be one. So we’re trying to showcase to our large online community that you can have any career and still be an environmentalist and uphold these values and try to make a bigger change,” said Liski.

Moving forward, Liski is developing a carbon reduction plan for Tru Earth by collecting data on how they could reduce greenhouse gases and greenhouse gas emissions with the goal of becoming carbon neutral.

“We are making sustainable and accessible behavioral changes. Sustainable in the literal sense of the word—that we can sustain this for many, many years. But also sustainable in the sense that it becomes a habit and isn’t a quick thing people get excited about for a week and then lose out on. Accessibility is something that I’m really focused on. We don’t all have the same means, and we don’t all have the same experience in life. We go through different struggles so we need different accessibility and Tru Earth is trying to make sure that we meet those needs.” 

Tru Earth’s intersectional implementations in their fight for climate justice is creating real impact, and they have received great feedback from their community, in the process. As more businesses strive to dismantle the disparities and the systems causing them, the environmentalism community will continue to strengthen and hopefully create a healthier, more just, and ethical world for all.

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