Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Black, Green and Me 
By Bonnie Boswell, Contributing Writer
Published August 4, 2022

Bonnie Boswell (Karen Steyr)


Growing up, I used to say, “If a piece of aluminum foil or plastic wrap comes into this house, it never leaves.” Why? Because my mother was an early recycler.

Entering the kitchen, I would often find Saran Wrap washed, hung, and dripping, over the faucet. Yuck! Tin foil would be washed too – dried, neatly folded and stored in the drawer for reuse. It drove me crazy.


I get it. Mom was raised during the Depression. Her philosophy was “waste-not/want-not.” But, years later, when she visited in my home, I gleefully declared, “There’ll be no Saran washing in this house!”  However, I admit, I have been reexamining my position because of climate change.

Scary wildfires, devastating floods, super-intense heat, and hurricanes are not just on the horizon, they are here.  So, we must find ways – big and small – to protect our planet so she can save us.

As African Americans, we know climate change disproportionately affects poor people and people of color.  With all that goes on in our lives, thinking about climate change may seem like at least that should be someone else’s job.  But, honestly, none of us can sit this one out. Our survival is at stake.

Katherine Wilkinson, co-editor of “All We Can Save,” an anthology of essays about the climate movement, says it’s important to recognize the emotions we feel about this existential threat – anger, anxiety, even depression. But instead of becoming numb, we should recognize that beneath these emotions is love for our families, friends, and the sacred beauty of the natural world.

Wilkinson encourages us to use love to drive activism. She says we can influence national policy by calling senators to continue to advocate for bold climate initiatives at the scale of the crisis. (

At the local level, we can educate ourselves about what is going on in our communities. Will the plan to revitalize 51 miles of the Los Angeles River help?  What about creating local parks closer to under-resourced communities?  With a median of 3.3 acres per 1,000 people, The Trust for Public Land says L.A. is near the bottom level of cities that have enough park space.


We can also support programs like the Nature Nexxus Institute which gets hundreds of inner-city students out into nature, teaches them birding, gardening, biology, and environmental stewardship (  We, too, can benefit from the natural world by joining groups such as Afro Southern California, a group connecting Black people to activities like fishing, gardening, hiking and conservation (

We help ourselves and our planet by working at both macro and micro levels with like-minded people. And, we can reduce our carbon footprint by doing things like replacing lawns with beautiful drought tolerant plants, or using fewer paper towels.

And, while I’m not yet tempted to wash Saran Wrap or aluminum foil, I am trying to use less of both. My mom would be so proud.

Watch Bonnie Boswell Reports, Fridays at 2:58 on KCET or got to 

Categories: Opinion | Uncategorized
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