Feb 10, 2023 • Annie Cao
In honor of Pride Month, we’d like to highlight 5 LGBTQ+ environmental and climate activists who have made an impact on our planet!
Rachel Carson is credited with starting the modern environmental movement in the 1960s and is well-known for her best-selling book Silent Spring. Her book studied the effects of chemicals and pesticides on the environment and raised awareness about how it was damaging the planet.
Carson was also a lesbian who was involved in an intimate relationship with a woman named Dorothy Freeman. They exchanged letters and spent time together for 12 years until her passing in 1964. However, because the chemical industry tried to discredit Carson for her lack of scientific background and gender, she decided to hide her relationship and sexuality from the public to avoid further criticisms.
Carson’s career in the federal service spanned about 15 years as a scientist, editor, and eventually editor-in-chief of all publications for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. After writing Silent Spring, President John F. Kennedy launched an investigation into the use of pesticides. Consequently, DDT and other chemicals were banned and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was partially influenced by her activism. Today, her legacy lives on as we continue to work on protecting the planet from pollution.
“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” - Rachel Carson
Born in Los Angeles, California, Isaias Hernandez is a queer content creator for Queer Brown Vegan who uses his platform to create educational content about the environment and sustainability. Because Hernandez grew up in affordable housing using food stamps, he felt the disproportionate effects of pollution in low-income communities firsthand and used these experiences to fuel his interest in the environment.
He went on to earn a B.S. in environmental science at UC Berkeley and approaches the topic of environmental justice with the goal of providing accessible education to anyone wanting to learn about environmentalism.
“The best way that’s helped me manage climate anxiety is building community and recognizing that this is an Earth-based emotion. Individuals are interconnected with the Earth.” - Isaias Hernandez
Proving that you can have the best of both worlds, you can usually find Wyn Wiley, aka Pattie Gonia, in high heels posing on top of mountains. As a queer environmentalist and drag queen, they enjoy capturing the outdoors through photography, promoting sustainable drag, and raising money for outdoor and LGBTQ+ nonprofits. Using Pattie Gonia as an alter ego, they try to create eco-friendly drag ensembles by restyling wigs or creating dresses out of materials such as plastic to represent specific environmental issues.
Their goal is to connect people to nature because “if we can fall in love with nature, we’re going to advocate even better for it. Because we fight for what we love.”
Describing themselves as a “trans indigenous mutant” in their Instagram bio, Pınar Sinopoulos-Lloyd is a queer environmentalist with Quechua and Turkish roots. They are the co-founder of Queer Nature, a Colorado-based project that brings culturally-accessible outdoor spaces to the queer community. There, people can take workshops that explore cultural land history and teach ancestry wilderness skills.
"Nature is the source of resiliency and can be a mirror to ourselves." - Pinar Sinopoulos-Lloyd
Jamie Margolin is a lesbian author who wrote Youth to Power: Your Voice and How to Use It. Her book gives advice on how to successfully organize peaceful events and use media to spread a message, all while using time management to juggle being a student activist.
At 20 years old, Margolin is a climate justice activist who has co-founded Zero Hour, an organization that encourages younger generations to fight climate change, and is also a screenwriter, filmmaker, and director while studying film at NYU.
“We had no power in creating the systems that are destroying our world and futures — and yet we are and will be paying the biggest price for the older generations’ recklessness.” - Jamie Margolin