Artisanal cobalt miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo are pictured working with little, if any, health and safety measures Photo credit Wikimedia Commons Cobalt is essential for electric vehicle batteries, and much of that cobalt comes from the Congo. According to environmental journalist Adam Mahoney, “As America’s dependence on the Congo has grown, Black-led labor and environmental organizers here in the U.S. have worked to build a transnational solidarity movement. Activists also say that the inequities faced in the Congo relate to those that Black Americans experience. Transit planner Bakari Height of the Labor Network for Sustainability told Mahoney that

the global harm caused by the energy transition and the inability of Black Americans to participate in it at home are for a simple reason:

We’re always on the menu, but we’re never at the table. The space of transportation planning and climate change is mostly occupied by white people, or people of color that aren’t Black, so these discussions about exploitation aren’t happening in those spaces — it is almost like a second form of colonialism.

Height told Mahoney that when Black people are in the room, these conversations are not only more prevalent, but also more action-oriented. His organization the Labor Network for Sustainablity supports Black workers and helps craft policies that support “bold climate action in ways that address labor concerns without sacrificing what science is telling us is necessary.” For the full article with more of Bakari’s interview: