Belonging: Black Americans in Nature Project, The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization, Climate Champion: Lawrence Anthony

by | Aug 10, 2022 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Belonging: Black Americans in Nature Project

Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization

Climate Champion, Lawrence Anthony

Belonging: Black Americans in Nature Project, Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization, Climate Champion: Lawrence Anthony



Our top story today of strength, hope and courage focuses on Caroline Brewer. Brewer began working for the Audubon Naturalist Society five years ago. According to an interview she gave with Jacob Fenston of WAMU, Washington, DC’s NPR news station, she noticed a tremendous lack of diversity, a tremendous lack of people of color,” when it came to finding diverse images to promote events and other programs.  

She now runs Audubon’s Taking Nature Black conference. From that project evolved the idea for Belonging. It aligns with the goals of the Taking Nature Black Conference to elevate the presence, contributions, and unique stories of Black Americans in the environment.

The images show Black D.C.-area environmentalists, scientists, and others in some of their favorite natural spots around the D.C. region, from Seneca Regional Park in Great Falls, to Anacostia Park in the District, to Sligo Creek in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

Why does Belonging matter to all of us? Belonging seeks to address the near-invisibility of Black Americans in nature photos and publications generally available on the Internet, and other forms of mass media. The goal is to normalize the image of Blacks and other people of color, and of differing physical abilities in nature. One because everybody benefits from nature, and two, because if we all see all of us in nature, then all of us will become more invested in living in harmony with it, which will help save the climate.

Images for the book are available for download on Audubon Naturalist Society’s Flickr page for use by the media and the general public through a Creative Commons license. 

DEEPER DIVE: ANS Conservation Blog, WAMU, YouTube, Audubon



Hey now, have you heard of the LAEO? The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization. LAEO was founded in 2004 and is dedicated to forwarding the legacy of world-renowned conservationist Dr. Lawrence Anthony. Lawrence Anthony was an international conservationist, environmentalist, explorer and bestselling author. He was the long-standing head of conservation at the Thula Thula animal reserve in Zululand

He’s best known as the Elephant Whisperer, and for rescuing animals from the Baghdad Zoo after America’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. More on those, later. The folks at LAEO believe none of us survive alone, that life does best when it works together with other life towards the goal of mutually thriving. Its mission is through education and the implementation of effective solutions, we work to bring about far healthier conditions for all life and the environment.

LAEO preaches the gospel of Cooperative Ecology or CoEco, a term coined by Lawrence Anthony to describe when all the parts of an ecosystem, including people, work well together and cooperate toward the mutual benefit of all.

To the degree that any one life form, including an individual person, makes decisions or takes actions that are more destructive than constructive towards the people and natural world around him/her, that person or life form’s own potential to live a long and healthy life is endangered.

LAEO offers online resources to if you wish to become a CoEco ambassador, and it provides CoEco education materials for educators and the curious. Because LAEO’s focus is on science-based, long term climate change solutions, it also offers a bounty of environmental solutions. And there’s the annual eco-safari too.

Why does LAEO matter to us? It strives to improve environmental, social and economic conditions to enhance the health of all life by researching to find the factual root of the problems and then getting logical solutions implemented.

DEEPER DIVE: LAEO, Lawrence Anthony



International conservationist, environmentalist and bestselling author, Lawrence Anthony, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1950. He was raised in Rhodesia (now called Zimbabwe), Zambia, and Malawi, before settling in Zululand, South Africa. Anthony started his career in insurance, and then migrated to real estate development. In his off hours, he started working with Zulu tribespeople. By the mid-1990s, his passion for the African Bush inspired him to buy the Thula Thula game reserve, spread over 5,000-acre in KwaZulu-Natal. That started his career as a conservationist.

He became legendary when he was called by a conservation group to rescue a group of nine elephants who had escaped their enclosure, were wreaking havoc across Northern eMpumalanga. and were about to be shot. He tried to communicate with the matriarch of the herd through the tone of his voice and body language, eventually rescued them and brought them to the reserve – in time he came to be known as “Elephant-whisperer.”

To preserve wildlife and their habitats, Anthony showed antagonistic African tribes how they could benefit by cooperating in setting up game reserves to attract tourists. Anthony’s work was most widely publicized after the United States and its allies invaded Iraq on March 20, 2003. Hearing that Baghdad had the biggest zoo in the Middle East, he was in Kuwait within days and packing a car with veterinary supplies before crossing the Iraq border in the wake of the United States soldiers.

He arrived at the zoo while fighting was still going on to find that of the 650 animals in the zoo before the invasion, just 35 were still alive, mainly large ones like lions, tigers and a brown bear native to Iraq. He worked in Baghdad for six months. He paid mercenaries, and sought help from US soldiers, who volunteered their time after a day of patrols. Former Iraqi soldiers who had abandoned the Republican Guard joined the effort, too. 

He managed to restore the zoo. And for that, the United States Army’s Third Infantry Division gave Anthony a medal for his bravery. Why does Climate Champion Lawrence Anthony matter to us? two reasons: he bought a 5,000 acre game reserve to preserve biodiversity and two, he’s proof it’s never too late to pivot into fighting for the climate!

DEEPER DIVE: LA Obit, Wikipedia, LAEO