Pride Month, LGBTQ+ And The Environmental Movement
June has arrived, and this is when we celebrate Pride Month. It is a period to remember everything that members of the LGBTQIA+ community have overcome through history and the challenges they still face every day.
Everything that confronts the status quo will face prejudice and attempts to be washed out of society. But if you’re Queer and you here, be proud and keep existing in all of your brightness. We celebrate and admire everything this fierce community has fought for. Even though many of those who are not queer don’t realize it, when we fight for acceptance, we create a better world for everyone.
So this month, we see beautiful parades sparkling through many cities to celebrate being gay and proudly expressing whatever you want to look and whoever you want to love. But these beautiful events can reach giant proportions with thousands on the streets. And we know that when we gather a lot of people on the streets, there is a big chance that there will be a lot of single-use plastic items in the trash when it’s all over.
So, to make Pride Parades even better, it is essential to think about sustainability. Because there is
no way of thinking about a fair world for everyone if we don’t think about environmental equity too. We can and should take advantage of these moments to bring awareness about how we are treating each other, and this involves the way we are treating the only planet everyone has to live on. There is no way to say that I respect another human being if I don’t appreciate the resources we share to survive.
In 2015, after a long discussion and research with its members, the United Nations had set goals for us to reach as humanity. These are called The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and they call out for various social, economic, and environmental development aspects. The LGBTQIA+ is included in these parameters, and we must compromise with inclusion and equity as fundamental human rights.
But to reach this holistic, sustainable development, we must develop a sustainable mindset. Once you think about sustainability in one aspect, you’ll start seeing it everywhere. After all, there is no way to reach social equity without environmental sustainability. The way we use our natural resources has a drastic impact on how it affects different communities, as unsustainable actions will hit harder underprivileged populations.
Hows do it translates: racialized and marginalized communities are pushed to more polluted places, where air and water quality are lower. So, a big event like a Pride Parade can set an example of how it is possible to live a more sustainable and less unfair life even though the ones with more privileges are responsible for the most significant slice of pollution and generation of waste discarded in the environment.
When asked about sustainability subjects, members of the LGBTQIA+ community show higher levels of interest and concern than other individuals. However, as they’re facing many other unfavorable factors in their daily life and economic loss due to prejudice, they lack access to sustainable education and time to manage their consumal and disposal. It’s harder to think about environmental sustainability when you’re fighting for survival and the bare minimum to live a dignifying life.
Pride month is a moment of visibility. We have to spread the message that is caring about minorities is intrinsically attached to caring about natural resources. We can take advantage of the Pride Parade to educate and collaborate with the LGBTQIA+ on sustainable matters. Remember that it is a collaborative mindset. When we think about respecting another human being, we start to learn about compassion, unity, kindness, and love. Let’s spread love.
There are many ways to make a Parade greener and eco-friendly. We can think about food and drinking logistics, giving preference to as little disposable packaging as possible. We can change single-use plastic bottles to reusable ones, with water stations for people to refill their bottles and cups. In 2019, O’land was in the Fierté Montreal, and there were 2,000 fewer plastic bottles in the trash than usual, with no action to prevent it. Can you imagine a pile with all this plastic going to the landfills or the oceans, where, unfortunately, much of our garbage ends up? Imagine this in just one event. Imagine how many more bottles we could avoid if we were present at more stops. Well, if we can imagine, we can do it. We can think about decoration, using recycled materials, and avoiding the generation of microplastic.
Of course, there is no Pride Parade without tons of glitter, but what if we could change at least a fraction of this glitter for eco glitter that is biodegradable?
As we celebrate Pride Month, let’s celebrate the creation of a fairer world with social justice for everyone. The change starts within ourselves.