CNN published an article in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, claiming the civil rights icon was also “an environmental hero.”
CNN’s post, titled “Three ways MLK speaks to our time,” describes King as a hero of the environmental movement and a “socialist before it was cool.” MLK didn’t say much about the environment, let alone issues like global warming.
CNN admitted King “didn’t live long enough to see the environmental movement take off,” but that hasn’t stopped environmental activists from tying their causes to civil rights issues, often invoking King’s legacy. Activists say that King talked about the interconnectedness of life, and CNN pointed to one speech he gave shortly before being assassinated in 1968 about all life being “interrelated.”
“There’s a connection between what King was saying in the 1950s and ’60s and this explosion of ecological thinking that emerged around 1970, where everyone was saying it’s all about interconnectedness,” activist and author Drew Dellinger told CNN.
In a 2011 speech, former Attorney General Eric Holder said King helped “plant the seeds for what would become our nation’s now-thriving environmental justice movement.”
Now, the NAACP wants to make global warming a civil rights issue. The group says King’s vision for a society free of racial injustice can’t be achieved unless global warming is addressed.
However, Rachel Carson is most often credited with sparking the environmental movement with her 1962 book “Silent Spring.” Carson’s book claimed the pesticide DDT was harming the environment and human health.
The book rallied environmental groups and eventually led to the Environmental Protection Agency banning DDT in the 1970s.
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