Thursday, February 16, 2017

The “environmental movement is stubbornly White” with racist history and biases, opines writer at TruthOut.

It’s been almost 2 years since the following blog post got some so riled up. How much has changed within the environmental movement since then? The following comes from an article by Olivia Aguilar at TruthOut titled, “Diversifying the Environmental Movement Isn’t Enough”:

“We have known for quite a while the environmental movement is stubbornly White. Most recently, Barbara Grady, of GreenBiz Group, noted that improvements are in the works, citing that the leaders of the EPA and NRDC were women of color. Unfortunately, this doesn’t address the elephant in the room.
     Environmentalists don’t have a diversity problem, they have an identity problem. And it’s rooted in a racist history and unchecked biases.” [emphasis added]

It’s interesting that in the debate as to whether the state of Florida should spend over $1B+ to buy land south of Lake Okeechobee the discussion has mostly White people on one side of the argument and mostly White people on the other side. You don’t see many African-Americans or Hispanics, for example, on either side of the debate. In reality though, don’t they have as much at stake as anyone else?

When you go to websites of the Everglades Foundation, the Loxahatchee Sierra Club, or even more radical groups like EarthFirst!, they are mostly composed of White people although down on some staff levels you may see an African American or a person of color. Are you aware of any environmental groups that represent Florida demographically from the top down? The public wouldn’t tolerate an organization like PBSO, for example, having a leadership that’s overwhelmingly White. There would be outrage.

So this begs the question: what and whose interests do the environmentalists truly represent? It’s certainly not all of Florida and definitely not the demographic of our City of Lake Worth. Do I need to post the racial breakdown of South Florida?

Maybe soon we’ll see some major changes in the leadership at groups like the Loxahatchee Sierra Club, like an African American spokesperson for instance.