Intersectional Approaches to Change

Here is an example of how intersectional approaches to issues are really the only approach to issues. And admittedly, how I failed to think this way on one current hot topic.

A while ago I started looking to reduce the amount of straws I used. So I stopped taking them in restaurants or anywhere else they were made available. This straw-free approach to environmental concerns seemed a great way to reduce plastic waste on a pretty large scale, so why not push to have all places go straw-less, I though?

Well, because only a short time later I started reading stories about how much a straw ban like this would impact an entire community of people. About how people with mobility issues rely on these straws when going out for dinners or lunches or drinks at restaurants, just like the rest of us do all the time without much thought.

What to me seems like s problem-free approach to removing ocean-bound plastics, is a major impact on the lives of others.

So, the answer can't be, remove all the straws from all the places, because that further deepens the accessibility divide for those who need them and prevents them from experiencing the same things we take for granted. Taking an intersectional approach to the issue points out that straws are still essential and must be offered to those who need them.

I think we need to take approaches to drastically change human behaviour to sustain our environment. I think I personally can stop using single-use straws. I think I can also push for restaurants to change the way they distribute single-use straws. 

But even more importantly, I think I have to learn how across the board implementation of things like this is not a viable approach. As someone with loads and loads of privilege, and as a parent raising kids who likewise will grow up without experiencing a great amount of oppression, it is my responsibility to sit back and evaluate how they impact the activism I undertake.

Intersectionality asks us to consider the experiences of others. Doing this is such a key element in also raising kids to understand they are part of a larger community. 

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-for-many-with-disabilities-plastic-straws-are-essential-not/

It's a small example, but a reason we can't simply think "this works for me, let's make it happen," when we're looking to push for change.

What is Intersectionality?

Looking for a better definition of intersectionality than I have given? Here's a great video to help us understand.