Authored by Liz Mugho
This month, as individuals begin to celebrate the beginning of summer and the good times the warm weather brings, it’s critical to recognize people actively fighting to keep our Earth habitable so that everyone can enjoy future summers.
June is also Pride Month, and Brightmark remains a strong and committed ally to the LGBTQIA+ community and believes there is a natural connection between fighting climate change and fighting for equality for all.
While various LGBTQIA+ individuals are taking the mantle and leading the way in environmentalism and sustainability, here are five keen examples of LGBTQIA+ individuals making bright strides in environmentalism—both in their communities and worldwide.
Jamie Margolin | Climate Activist and Non-Profit Founder – She/Her
Jamie Margolin is a young woman living in Seattle known for juggling many titles, such as writer, community organizer, and climate activist. She is most known as one of the founders of Zero Hour, a non-profit organization that provides a platform for youth voices to be heard in the climate movement. Jamie started the organization after her local leaders’ frustration with inaction and a need to give power to herself and the youth around her. Zero Hour is working on multiple projects, including Zero Hour 101, a training program that educates youth about environmental issues and environmental justice.
Brian Brigatti | Sustainable Gardener – He/Him
If you’re looking for someone to show you the ropes of gardening with intention, Brian Brigatti is the perfect person to follow. Originally from New York, Brian and his partner, Dominick, moved to Tennessee during the COVID-19 pandemic and began to connect with nature by creating a garden and homestead, learning how to grow and cultivate a garden now known as Redleaf Ranch. Brian uses his platforms, such as Instagram, to share his knowledge throughout his gardening journey with people interested in learning the ropes. Brian hopes to create sustainability awareness, bring awareness to the food people eat, and help people return to their roots.
Pınar Sinopoulos-Lloyd | Eco-Philosopher and Mentor – They/Them
Pinar is an indigenous eco-philosopher and co-founder of Queer Nature, a project designed to promote ecological awareness, solidarity, and earth-based living skills to LGBTQIA+ people and allies. Queer Nature focuses on building naturalist skills and offering a sense of community and peace in times of uncertainty regarding the future of the Earth’s climate and shifting patterns worldwide. It offers a variety of educational opportunities, such as learning animal tracking, basket weaving, woodworking, and more. In addition, Queer Nature also values educational equity and has grant-based workshops through the non-profit Women’s Wilderness. This gives access to the courses they offer for people who may not usually have financial access. Queer Nature aims to create inter-communal solidarity between humans, non-humans, and nature.
Tori Tsui | Climate Activist – She/They
Tori Tsui is a climate activist, speaker, and consultant from Hong Kong based in Bristol, England. She is co-founder of the Bad Activist Collective, a group created to give people the space to normalize being an imperfect activist, making mistakes, and learning from them. Tori is also making their debut as an author with their book, “It’s Not Just You,” coming out this summer, focusing on mental health, the climate crisis, and the intersections between them.
Paul Getsos | Climate Coordinator and Activist – He/Him
Paul Gestos is a New York-based activist fighting climate change for decades, leading and encouraging marginalized communities to participate in the climate movement. He wrote the book “Tools for a Radical Democracy,” which is a guide for grassroots organizers, and he is a national coordinator for the People’s Climate Movement. He also co-founded Community Voices Heard, a charity that runs programs that improve welfare recipients’ education and training so they can more easily get hired for jobs and create more social equity.
Brightmark celebrates those in the LGBTQIA+ community who are making strides toward creating a better future for communities and the world and doing so with a determination that is to be celebrated.