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Bette Dangerous Podcast Ep86: ‘All the Beauty’ — A Q & A with Audrey Peterman

Bette Dangerous Podcast Ep86: ‘All the Beauty’ — A Q & A with Audrey Peterman

I am delighted to bring you this inspiring interview with environmental activist and author Audrey Peterman

***I am making this podcast available for free to everyone. Please take out a subscription to support me as I do this work.***

“The land is the firmament upon which we have our being.”—Audrey Peterman

What better way to celebrate soaring past 3,000 subscribers (thank you!!!!) than with an interview with Audrey Peterman, one cosmic lady.

Peterman is an award-winning environmentalist and author, and an international treasure. Her advocacy work on behalf of America’s treasure — our national parks — is unparalleled. She is a leader on matters of climate justice and encouraging diversity in America’s national parks.

I have no idea how she came into my life — let’s call it divine intervention — but one day there she was, with her sunrises, and goodness, and reminders to cherish the earth. And her words, her beautiful words, that help give shape to mine.

In our interview I was able to share with her that my before my feet touch the ground each day, “I say a silent prayer of thanksgiving as I walk upon the earth.” Those are her words.

In sharing Jamaican sunrises with her substack community, I became an ardent auroraphile.

In this interview, she shares with us how she came to be an advocate and activist for national parks and all cosmic things. You can learn more about her journey from her book, From My Jamaican Gully to the World and Back and from her infectious Audrey’s Joy Train substack.

I hope you enjoy meeting Audrey, as much as I did.


More about Audrey here:

“From riding a donkey to flying in the Blimp and touching the space shuttle; from my little gully to publicizing million-acre national parks and marine sanctuaries – my life is a wonderful adventure!” Audrey Peterman

Audrey Peterman is half of an inseparable duo, an iconic Black couple know for helping open up America’s National Park System to residents of color. The 2022 Centennial Leadership Award from the National Parks Conservation Association recognizes “her outstanding contributions toward ensuring that the national parks are ready and well-prepared for their second century of service to the American people.” She was honored with the Environmental Justice “For the People Award” by the National Wildlife Federation, June 2023.

Audrey became enamored with the national parks in 1995 on a “discover America” road trip around the country with her husband Frank. Seeing less than a handful of Black and Brown Americans in the spectacular parks such as The Grand Canyon, they resolved to help make a change. For nearly 30 years they have stuck to this mission, and since 1997 have been simultaneously raising the alarm about climate change.

Audrey and her husband founded the consulting firm Earthwise Productions, Inc. in 1995, andbegan advising federal land managers, conservation organizations and educational institutions how to be more inclusive of Americans of color. They helped publicize the contributions of Black and Brown Americans in the national parks – including the Buffalo Soldiers who guarded the giant sequoias in Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks, 1903 and1905; and the Jones Family  that defended Biscayne Bay from developers in the 1960s, leading to the creation of Biscayne National Park, one of the Park System’s largest marine parks. Through prolific communications in mass media and social media, community organizing, speaking engagements, tours to national parks, and petitioning government officials and Congress, they helped change the relationship of Americans to the national parks

Audrey is co-founder of The Diverse Environmental Leaders Speakers Bureau, a “one-stop shop” providing access to a wide spectrum of talent. As a member of the Next100 Coalition, she helped persuade President Obama to issue the Presidential Memorandum – Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Our National Parks, National Forests, and Other Public Lands and Waters in January 2017.

A naturalized American of Jamaican origin, she holds a Bachelor of Arts/Communications degree from St Thomas Aquinas College in New York, and a Diploma in Communications from the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica. She co-authored Legacy on the Land: A Black Couple Discovers Our National Inheritance and Tells Why Every American Should Care with her husband in 2009, and published the travel guide Our True Nature: Finding a Zest for Life in the National Park System in 2012. Her inspiring life story is the subject of From My Jamaican Gully to the World and Back,” published in 2019, updated in 2022.

She is the recipient of several notable awards including the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Citizen Conservationist of the Year Award 1998 from the National Parks ConservationAssociation; the George Barley Leadership Award from the Everglades Coalition, 1998; the Environmental Hero Award 2000 from Vice President Al Gore and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Apex Distinguished Service Award from Black Meetings and Tourism Magazine2014, and the Outdoor Afro Lifetime Award, 2016.

Audrey and her husband share a blended family of six children, 18 grandchildren and six great grandchildren. Their love for each ot ther, their family and community helps drive their passion to protect the national parks and the environment, for the benefit of this and future generations.

Audrey recommended links:

Screams for Help Coming from National Parks (
As Threats to National Parks Increase, President Biden Calls for More Funding and Staffing · National Parks Conservation Association ( 
"From My Jamaican Gully To The World and Back" A discussion with author Audrey Peterman (
Audrey Peterman: On a Mission to Save our Public Lands | by Becca Burton | The Marjorie | Medium
Protect America’s stories, Mr. President | The Hill
Audrey Peterman | HuffPost

To support her writing, here is a link to her substack, and to her book, and her socials are below:

@audreypete (X)
PetermanAudrey (Insta)
LinkedIn: Audrey (Wright) Peterman

Here is excerpt from her book, courtesy of Audrey:

I’m eager to help make a positive difference in Jamaica and the world. I invite you to embrace the consciousness that all humanity is one, and help spread peace and love to heal ourselves and the Earth, wherever you are.

Ten suggestions to prepare for a changing environment and get more joy out of life:

1. Get informed about climate change and what’s happening, from the top environmental, science and social justice organizations focused on the issue. I recommend;;;;; and

2. Take action. If you sign up for their alerts, they will send you petitions with the issue already laid out, and all you need to do is press a button to sign them and they will be sent along with millions of others, to relevant representatives in Congress.

3. The more you know, the more you will want to take steps to protect yourself, your family and your community. Make it a point of conversation and encourage members of your school; church; homeowners’ association – everyone; to organize and begin to make it known that you are concerned.

4. Consider walking when you can or taking public transportation. In every aspect, strive to conserve energy and use the least-polluting sources.

5. Recycle, and organize members of your community to help make sure there are legitimate recycling programs. It is your right to help make a difference.

6. Get to know your neighbors and have a way to communicate with them. An emergency is no time to be trying to get to know the people around you who will be the most practical help to you.

7. Learn some survival skills, such as how to build a fire, and how to purify water. In disasters one of the first things to go down is the electric grid, so it’s useful to know how to handle the basics of life until the grid is back up.

8. Pack a “to-go” bag with your vital papers; a full change of clothing; matches; disinfectant wipes; chlorine tablets (to purify water); a first aid kit; and a month’s supply of any medication you need.

9. Take a wilderness course (some will actually teach you what wild things are edible). Wilderness First Aid is highly recommended by my friends who lead outdoor outings.

10. Maintain a positive mental attitude, knowing that you are as prepared as anyone can be. Let joy in nature and the small things of life be your constant condition. Find one natural thing – a tree, a bush – and focus on it all year so you notice changes you may have overlooked.-Audrey Peterman, My Jamaican Gully to the World and Back,” published in 2019, updated in 2022


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