Climate Activist Elsa Mengistu on Why Black Girls Are Crucial to The Fight Against Climate Change

By Ava Marshall

Everyone plays a role in combating climate injustice, but when it comes to being a Black girl, the stakes may be even higher. We sat down with former Zero Hour team member Elsa Mengistu to find out what we can do to save our planet — because the earth can’t wait.

Why should Black girls care about climate change?

Elsa: [We are] disproportionately discriminated against, have less access to resources, are more vulnerable to climate chaos, etc. If the conditions that we live in on this Earth get worse, then so does the already comparably lower standard of living for [many] Black girls everywhere. We are important to this fight because we are at the core of this fight. 

What can Black girls do to combat it?

Elsa: Black girls can combat climate change by showing up. We need Black girls who show up as they are if we want to sustain this movement. We need Black girl artists, writers, organizers. We need Black girl magic, Black excellence, and Black power. Show up and donate your presence and skills to different parts of this fight. We want to transform this world into a just, dignified, and thriving one.

How can Black girls reduce their carbon footprint? 

Elsa: By doing small things that add up — using reusable water bottles [and] not running the water when we scrub our legs or deep condition our hair. [We] can save resources by being honest about what [we] use use and what [we] don’t use. We don’t have to buy a ‘fit for every single function; we can get creative with our outfits. We can also thrift! So much water is needed to make clothes, and so many resources and fossil fuels are used, as well. Just by acknowledging what we use and limiting how much we buy can make a change.

Black girls are powerful. We are capable. We are fighters. Those are facts. Our sisterhood is unmatched. So, let’s work together and make Earth a better place.

Main Image: Courtesy of Elsa Mengistu


Quarterly print teen magazine for Black girls ages 13 to 19. Covering The Black Girl's Mainstream™