Sunday, March 1, 2009

Changing the White Face of the Green Movement: Time Magazine

Wow! I could really relate to the sentiments expressed by environmentalist, Sanjayan, in this Time Magazine article. Especially as I attended a number of green events last month. Highlights from the article:

  • An incredible lack of racial and economic diversity exists in the environmental movement
  • Needs to reflect the growing diversity of the United States
  • Perception exists that only wealthy white liberals can afford to "go green"
  • Difficult to relate to groups that don't seem to reflect your culture, lifestyle
  • Suggests green groups diversify their workforce and identify and recruit students of color
  • Encouraged by exposure and activities of environmental justice and green jobs activists, Van Jones and Majora Carter
  • I would add - seek diverse representation on boards, advertise or write in culturally diverse media outlets, educational programs to K-12 urban schools, fraternities and sororities and business groups, aggressively seek representation at events, seek diversity training

Though I am a fearless networker, I have found that it is definitely more comfortable to attend these events with a friend or another African American, because sometimes there is a feeling of "what are you doing here?". This way both of you can network together, without that awkward feeling. Maybe, I am paranoid (not a personal trait), but the very fact that I feel this way, tells me that at least organizers should make a better effort to make "minorities" feel welcome. Another benefit of cultural, racial and economic diversity is that organizations can achieve the successes of of corporations that have diverse boards- greater performance metrics vs those entrenched in the "old boy" network. A broad range of backgrounds, styles, experiences and approaches spurs innovation and gains in market share. And Lord knows we need innovation in this country now more than ever.

2 comments:

Cheap Like Me said...

Amen.

Quiskaeya said...

The fact is that the black community is finally jumping onto the band wagon. And what I'm finding is when our people do catch the "green" we are serious about it. It's not a trendy movement, or something to do to show face, it's a genuine heart to make this world better for our future. I love that. We might have been slow to move, but our move is steady and consistent.