"Diversifying the American Environmental Movement"
As the nation continues to diversify, the environmental movement is left with one of the greatest challenges it will face this century. In order to become an influential and sustainable movement for generations to come, it needs to successfully address its diversity crisis. In this essay, the authors, Marcelo Bonta and Charles Jordan, analyze the problem, acknowledge past and current diversity efforts, provide a comprehensive and strategic approach to diversifying, and stress the importance of diversifying in the right way. They provide action-oriented solutions at the movement, organizational, and individual levels. This chapter was featured in the book, Diversity and the Future of the U.S. Environmental Movement.
"Kyra's Path: Reflecting on his daughter's future, a father says the green movement must diversify"
During an early summer morning, Marcelo Bonta and his daughter happily explore the wonders of their local park, from maidenhair ferns to red-backed salamanders. But Bonta’s joy fades as he begins to wonder about Kyra's place in the current, too-white environmental movement. Will her experiences with the movement be as frustrating as his? Or will the movement succeed in diversifying enough to serve future generations?
"How to Diversify Environmentalism? The Movement's Greatest Challenge is Its Own Lack of Diversity"
Published in Grist Magazine, the Center for Diversity & the Environment's Executive Director, Marcelo Bonta, describes a comprehensive strategy that emphasizes cultural change and action oriented solutions.
"Diversifying the Conservation Movement"
Authors, Marcelo Bonta and Charles Jordan, share their strategy for diversifying the conservation movement. This article was featured in the Land Trust Alliance's Special 25th Anniversary Issue.
"Diversification, Minorities, and the Mainstream Environmental Movement"
Written in the early 1990s by Charles Jordan and Donald Snow in the book, Voices from the Environmental Movement, this piece is one of the first to address in detail the lack of diversity in the environmental movement. Much of the issues and information presented applies to the movement over fifteen years later.
Mainstream Environmental Organizations Could Benefit by Hiring Qualified, Interested Minority Candidates with Environmental and Engineering Degrees
A study conducted by University of Michigan's Dorceta Taylor shows that many students of color with environmental backgrounds prefer to work for mainstream environmental organizations upon graduation. With only 14.6% of the staff of these organizations being people of color and 35% of these mainstream groups not having people of color working for them at all, there is a huge gap between the willingness of people of color to work for these groups and the hiring practices of mainstream environmental organizations. Taylor's full article, "Employment Preferences and Salary Expectations of Students in Science and Engineering,” appears in the February 2007 issue of BioScience (Vol. 57, No.2).
"Changing the White Face of the Green Movement"
A Time Magazine article that focuses on Sanjayan, the Nature Conservancy's Sri Lankan-born lead scientist, and his push for racial diversity in the conservation movement.
"A Personal View on the Importance and Imperative of Diversity Work"
Mainstream environmental and conservation organizations have been talking about the importance and challenge of “diversity” for years now without tremendous progress. A sincere and sophisticated approach to diversity is essential to the current success and future relevance of the movements. The author gives both a personal and organizational perspective on the subject as an incentive to action and some thoughts on making that action effective. Her personal experience in diverse working environments leads to a heartfelt belief in the importance of diversity work for the land conservation movement as a whole and for individuals. One organization’s early efforts are described as an example that may be accessible and instructive to others. This chapter was featured in the book, Diversity and the Future of the U.S. Environmental Movement.
"In Oregon and U.S., Green Groups are Mostly White"
"In the mainstream green movement, being any color but white can be a little lonely. Take it from Marcelo Bonta, who's half Filipino. He got a job with the Portland office of a wildlife nonprofit, then began going to national environmental conferences. 'I'd see only one or two or three people of color out of 100 to 200 people in the room,' he says. 'I felt like I'd stepped back a few decades, if not more, in terms of race and ethnicity...
Grist Magazine's Poverty & the Environment series
A seven-week series of articles devoted to examining class and socioeconomic status as they relate to environmentalism and the environmental movement. Authors include Francis Beinecke, Eric Mann, Robert Bullard, Sheryll Cashin, Na'Taki Osborne, Matthew Klingle, and Tomasita Gonzalez.
"Global Warming is Colorblind: Can We Say As Much for Environmentalism?"
Author, Jennifer Oladipo, shares her perspective working as a black woman at an urban nature reserve in Louisville, Kentucky. She provides insight into the scarcity of people of color in the environmental movement and why environmentalism needs to expand its "mostly white and well-off" base of supporters.
Adrienne Maree Brown, "a young woman of color who doesn't do environmental work for a living," discusses how the environmental movement does not resonate with the urban masses and provides fresh approaches to become a more appealing and successful movement.
"All Our Shades of Green: Discovering Northwest Environmentalists- of Color "
A Colors NW Magazine cover story that focuses on environmentalists of color who are making a difference in their communities and the environmental movement in the Pacific Northwest.
"Black & Green: the new eco-warriors"
An Ebony magazine article featuring "eco-warriors," Van Jones, Majora Carter, Mario Van Peebles, and Kerry Washington, who are redefining what it means to be green.
Changing the Social Climate
A conversation between Michel Gelobter, Executive Director of Redefining Progress, and Catherine Lerza, Senior Philanthropic Advisor at the Tides Foundation, about global warming as it relates to economic and social justice (a Tides Foundation publication)
"How Propositions 40 and 45 Fared Among Voters"
A 2002 Los Angeles Times exit poll for a proposition that calls for a $2.6 billion bond issue to improve water quality and preserve open space in California revealed 77% of African Americans, 74% of Latinos, and 60% of Asians (while only 56% of Caucasians) approved the measure.
"Assumption is wrong- Latinos care deeply about the environment"
Authors, Manuel Pastor and Rachel Morello-Frosch, site compelling evidence that Latinos care strongly about environment issues, including pollution, sprawl, and habitat conservation issues, and at a degree higher than non-Latinos.
"A Latino Shade of Green"
In a Natural Resources Defense Council blog, Author, Alba Garzon, dispels assumptions of misdirected green marketing approaches to Latinos.
"Poll Finds Latinos Concerned About California's Oceans and Beaches"
An article that provides results of a Public Policy Institute of California poll. The poll shows Latinos supporting environmental issues at a higher rate than non-Hispanic whites. Issues include coastal protection, worry about fish contamination, and weighing the importance of the environmental platform of political candidates in determining their vote.
African American concern for the environment- Dispelling Old Myths
Author, Paul Mohai, presents both statistical and anecdotal evidence that African Americans care about the environment. On many issues, such as protection of open space and national parks, African Americans rated their concern at the same level as their white counterparts. On other issues, such as rain forest extinction and the greenhous effect, African Americans showed higher concern.
"Blacks Deserve More Ink in Green Coverage"
Author, Van Jones, provides a number of examples of African Americans in environmental leadership positions and calls for environmental media coverage to start showcasing the full spectrum of diversity in their stories and images.
An organization that seeks to improve the economic health of disadvantaged communities by creating environmental job training, employment, and entrepreneurial opportunities, fostering the connection between economic vitality and environmental protection and restoration.
Indian Country Conservancy
The Indian Country Conservancy (ICC) is dedicated to working with landowners to return original lands and ecosystems to the trust of their native inhabitants to care for them.
An organization that builds leadership and strengthens organizations working for environmental and social change through the power of diversity and inclusion.
Center for Whole Communities
An organization that creates a more just, balanced and healthy world by exploring, honoring, and deepening the connections between land, people and community. It identifies a new land movement that integrates conservation, health, justice, spirit and relationship. Through its programs, Measures of Health, Whole Thinking Forums, and Vision and Values Workshops, the Center strives to reframe values, redefine success, and rejuvenate activists.
A policy institute that develops solutions to help people, protect the environment and grow the economy. They partner with grassroots communities, labor unions, policymakers, businesses, and academics to shift the economy towards sustainable growth.
Green For All
A national organization dedicated to building an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. By advocating for local, state and federal commitment to job training, job creation, and entrepreneurial opportunities in the emerging green economy – especially for people from disadvantaged communities – Green For All fights both poverty and pollution at the same time.
Sustainable South Bronx
Founded in 2001 by Dr. Majora Carter, this organization addresses land-use, energy, transportation, water and waste policy, and education to advance the environment and economic rebirth of the South Bronx and inspire solutions in areas like it across the nation and around the world. Its mission is environmental justice through innovative, economically sustainable projects that are informed by community needs.
Black Family Land Trust
An organization working to ensure, protect, and preserve the natural, historic, environmental, and community resources of African Americans in the United States of America through land ownership.
Environmental Leadership Program
An organization that inspires visionary, action oriented and diverse leadership to work for a just and sustainable future. It nurtures a new generation of environmental leaders characterized by diversity, innovation, collaboration, and effective communications.
National Hispanic Environmental Council
An organization that seeks to educate, empower, and engage the Latino community on environmental and sustainable development issues; encourage Latinos to actively work to protect the environment; provide a national voice for Latinos; and assist Latinos to pursue careers in the environment and natural resources field.
"Mission Critical: A New Frame for Diversity and Environmental Progress"
The values and vision of environmentalism, diversity, and inclusion are
inextricably linked. In the 21st century, the ability of environmental
organizations to catalyze a positive common future for all people,
beings, and places will depend on the commitment of leaders and
organizations to make these explicit, intentional connections in every
facet of their work. Diversity, inclusion, and cultural competence need to
become major priorities at the organizational level if environmental and
social change movements are to marshal the innovation, creativity, and
expansive reach necessary to handle the complexity and scope of
environmental challenges. Organizational and movement-wide impacts
are at risk if diversity is not seen as mission critical. This chapter was published in the book, Diversity and the Future of the U.S. Environmental Movement.
Environmental Stewardship for the 21st Century: Opportunities and Actions for Improving Cultural Diversity in Conservation Organizations and Programs
A survey of diversity activities, including internal organization representation, recruitment, outreach, and partnerships, of Natural Resources Council of America group members.
Cultural Diversity in Conservation Organizations and Programs
Follow-up survey to the Natural Resources Council of America's Environmental Stewardship for the 21st Century: Opportunities and Actions for Improving Cultural Diversity in Conservation Organizations and Programs report.
Building Relationships with Communities of Color: The Western States Diversity Project
Pyramid Communications and The Nature Conservancy conducted surveys and discussion groups among people and organizations of color in Washington, New Mexico, and Colorado with the intent of developing a strategy for increasing partnerships with communities of color. Through analysis of the information collected and the shifting demographics of the western U.S., the authors identified the need for the conservation community to successfully work with communities of color and provided effective outreach strategies and tools.
Diverse Partners for Environmental Progress
National Summit 2005 (click here to read report)
Western Regional Roundtable 2007 (click here to read report)
This partnership grew from a historic conversation in 2005 at the first national summit held in Wakefield, Virginia. A historic conversation of more than 90 leaders from public health, conservation, faith-based, environmental justice, park and recreation, youth serving, social justice, and community organizations that came together to address the challenges of working together across racial and other barriers and to begin to heal some of the misunderstandings of the past. Since then, a series of regional roundtables and national summits have continued the dialogue, carried out action-based solutions, and built upon the progress of the previous gatherings.
Soul of Environmentalism
Nine economic, environmental, and social policy leaders provide a perspective on the role and connectivity of environmental and progressive movements today. They discuss the crucial importance of race and class in the environmental movement.
Coalition for a Livable Future
This organization unites over 90 diverse organizations and hundreds of individuals to promote healthy and sustainable communities. By connecting issues, people and organizations, this partnership empowers communities to take action together to shape the big decisions affecting the Portland region’s future.
Asian American Environmental Partnership
This partnership is a non-profit organization dedicated to increase awareness and understanding of environmental issues in the Asian American community by building partnership and inspiring diversity in leadership. AAEPUS.ORG serves the environmental professional field and educates the public about environmental topics that concern the lives of Southern Californians.
Regional Equity Atlas Project
Using data from maps, the purpose of the project is to advance equity - the right of every person to have access to opportunities necessary for satisfying essential needs and advancing their well-being - as a key component of the Portland metropolitan region's development. The project involves a number of partners, including the Coalition for a Liveable Future (and its over 90 member organizations) and Portland State University's Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies (IMS) and Center for Population Research. Sprawl is ultimately more costly for everyone, including the poor, than growth management done right. This project helps to address how to distribute the burdens and benefits of growth more fairly, and how to use growth management strategies to reduce inequities in the region. It will especially help develop new ways of planning for people, not just places.
Conservation Based Affordable Housing (CBAH)
www.resourcefulcommunities.org/CBAH (Arendt's NC sites)
www.conservationfund.org/node/225 (Report on Conservation Based Affordable Housing)
Randall Arendt, renowned landscape architect, developed conservation based affordable housing plans for three North Carolina sites. He met with local community development corporations working to develop affordable housing. Funded by a Clean Water Management Trust Fund grant, Arendt's site designs create high quality neighborhoods by preserving open space and protecting critical natural areas, while minimizing cost.
Building Capacity Through Diversity Project
A project that sought to foster a more diverse and inclusive grassroots movement around health, housing, land use, and environmental justice. Participants engaged in a series of anti-racist, anti-oppression trainings to examine the barriers that exist among their communities and in their work.
Pickup & Go
Earthwise Productions, Inc. founders, Audrey and Frank Peterman, publish this newsletter about “African Americans enjoying the wonders of Nature in our National Parks and Forests.”
The Koi Group's Environmental Resources
The Koi Group specializes in cultural change initiatives and building multicultural collaborations, staff and organizational development, group/meeting facilitation, and team building. Its clients include a variety of environmental organizations, and its website includes diversity resources for environmental audiences.
The Conservation Fund's Resourceful Communities Program
The Conservation Fund's Resourceful Communities Program blends innovative techniques to help North Carolina's underserved communities create new economies that protect and restore, rather than extract, natural resources. The program provides a range of direct assistance to develop the leadership and organizational capacity necessary for sustainable community development. Because Resourceful Communities works closely with local partners, including nonprofit, private and public concerns, we help ensure local ownership of long-term economic, social and environmental change.
"Class Notes: Thoughts on Diversity in the Classroom & in Environmentalism’s Past"
Diversity remains an ongoing experiment for environmental
organizations, but efforts to achieve diversity often begin much earlier,
in the college classroom. Here, too, prospective environmental
professionals tend to be overwhelmingly white and affluent. The author, Mathew Klingle, analyzes the connections between diversity and higher education in North America with a focus on the history of environmentalism and its antecedents. Interweaving personal experience with historical analysis, Klingle concludes that creating and sustaining diverse communities of students and faculty is not enough. Educators instead need to teach how environmental problems are insoluble absent diverse disciplinary approaches, from the sciences to the arts and humanities. This chapter was publishe in the book, Diversity and the Future of the U.S. Environmental Movement.
Multicultural Environmental Leadership Development Initiative (MELDI)
A University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and Environment project that aims to enhance the leadership and career development opportunities available to students and environmental professionals of color.
Environmental Learning for Kids
An organization tha offers science and conservation education, with consistent long-term mentoring by natural resource professionals, to culturally diverse urban youth and their families to ensure they become natural resource stewards.
Outward Bound Adventures
An organization that provides nature-based education that promotes positive self development, environmental responsibility, and outdoor career exposure for at-risk, low income and urban youth
Diversity in Outdoor/Environmental Education
An annotated list of diversity resources in outdoor and environmental education housed on the Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education's website.
Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS)
A national society that welcomes membership of people of all racial and ethnic group participation in agricultural and related sciences careers. It promotes academic and professional advancement by empowering people of color in agriculture, natural resources, and related sciences.
Metcalf Institute Diversity Fellowships in Environmental Reporting
Fellowships offered to traditionally under-represented journalists of color interested in studying marine and environmental science and developing environmental reporting skills. Fellows take part in a one-month independent study at University of Rhode Island followed by a nine-month reporting assignment at one of five news outlets. The fellowships are supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Principles for Environmental Justice
Guiding principles for environmental justice work that was created at the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit in 1991
WE ACT works to inform, educate, train and mobilize the predominately African-American and Latino residents of Northern Manhattan on issues that impact their quality of life – air, water, indoor pollution, toxins, land use and open space, waterfront development and usage, sanitation, transportation, historic preservation, regulatory enforcement, and citizen participation in public policy making. Committed to the Principles of Environmental Justice.
Organizing People - Activating Leaders (OPAL)
A community organization that works for environmental justice in the Portland metro area. It supports ignored communities that fight against the oppression of pollution and social injustice.
Asian Pacific Environmental Network
An organization that empowers low-income Asian Pacific Islander communities to achieve environmental and social justice
Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice
An environmental justice organization that brings together activists and grassroots organizations from across the Southwest, West and border states of Mexico
Indigenous Environmental Network
An organization that addresses environmental and economic justice issues that affect Indigenous Peoples in North America and globally