Monday, April 15, 2013

Biodiversity, but No Real Diversity in Environmental Organizations

So the GOP wasn't the only entity pursuing a relationship with the students at Howard University this spring. The Environmental Defense Fund, an environmental advocacy group which describes itself as "passionate, pragmatic environmental advocates who believe in prosperity and stewardship", has forged a partnership with Howard University to put sustainability in the curriculum and introduce environmental careers to students. There will be yearlong fellowships and internship positions for the students and sustainability will be integrated into the curriculum of the business school. Like so many environmental groups and political groups, the EDF has seen the maps of 2020 and realizes that in order to survive as a non-profit and meet its goals, it must be more inclusive. Realizing is one thing, doing is another, as evidenced by long time African American advocates in the field like Norris McDonald of the African American Environmentalists Association , quoted in this article on diversity in environmental groups. My observations of environmental groups that are more actively pursuing inclusion are, The Nature Conservancy, the National Park Service,  and the Association of American Geographers. The Natural Resources Defense Council, one of my favorites, says that it is going to try to be more inclusive, but when I type in the words inclusion and diversity in their search engine, all I get is biodiversity and the like. Guess they are just getting started?? There are many more less well known, regional based organizations that are also working towards being more inclusive - Green for All, Center for Diversity and The Environment  to name a few. From my experience in inclusion work, the best ways to start becoming more inclusive are 1)  Be where the diversity is (outreach and listening), 2) Hire a diverse staff and  3) Bring on a diverse board of directors. If anyone from those organizations are reading this post....I know some great green living and environmental bloggers with diverse points of view, that write on the topic and would love to hear from you..from So Fresh and So Green to Outdoor Afro to African American Environmentalists Association and of course there is my blog.

Black and Into Green readers, which environmental organizations have you found to be most inclusive?

No comments: