White House honors Wisconsin Green Muslims founder

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Photo and story by Kari Lydersen

On June 22, Huda Alkaff circulated among the crowd of men, women and youth at the Islamic society of Milwaukee gathered to break the Ramadan fast after sunset and to talk about climate change, water and how to live a more environmentally sustainable existence.

The event was hosted by the Islamic Environmental Group of Wisconsin, or Wisconsin Green Muslims, a volunteer group that Alkaff founded in 2005 and now directs. The group educates the Muslim community and the general public about Islamic environmental teachings, in order to apply these teachings in daily life and to form coalitions with others working toward a just, healthy, peaceful and sustainable future, Alkaff explained.

The enthusiasm, curiosity and commitment to these issues on display that humid, stormy night in Wisconsin was a window into a larger local and national movement Alkaff has helped spark and shape.

Today Alkaff is among 12 faith leaders around the country being honored by the White House as Champions of Change, who “have demonstrated clear leadership across the United States and around the world through their grassroots efforts to green their communities and educate others on the moral and social justice implications of climate change,” as a White House statement said.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and Senior Advisor to the President Brian Deese will honor the champions at the event today at 2 p.m. Eastern time, which will be live-streamed.

Alkaff has degrees in conservation ecology, sustainable development and environmental education from the University of Georgia, and she has taught environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin.

She’s also a founding member of Wisconsin Interfaith Power and Light, which trains and mobilizes people of all faiths to fight climate change by promoting energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy. She serves on the national Interfaith Power and Light Campaigns Committee, the national Greening Ramadan Task Force and the Milwaukee Environmental Consortium Board of Directors.

Midwest Energy News spoke with Alkaff about climate change among Muslim communities and her leadership work. Read the interview at the link below:

Connecting Faith, Environmental Justice and Sustainability through Education and Service, Since 2005.