The Need for Diversity
All too often we hear the phrase: "I am the only person of color there."
The effort to recruit and retain diverse, qualified candidates in environmental sustainability has been mostly good intentions without significant progress. According to the report "The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations"*, environmental organizations across the Great Lakes Region usually express interest in diversity initiatives but few are likely to support their implementation. The lack of momentum impedes people of color from taking advantage of rewarding internships, gainful employment, and effecting solutions to environmental hazards impacting their communities.
As environmental complexities effect all communities, the need for increased staff and leadership diversity will be imperative for a broadened and deepened impact of programs across the region. It will not happen quickly, but as with many other environmental challenges, we can continue working together towards practical, sustainable solutions.
Environmentalists of Color is a Chicago-based network seeking to engage members and allies to create a more diverse and inclusive environmental sector. The network is committed to:
- Embracing and leveraging multicultural experiences to inform solutions to environmental, economic, social and policy challenges;
- Informing the network of opportunities, resources and ideas;
- Cultivating future leaders in environmental careers by engaging a diverse audience, forming strategic partnerships and providing mentoring opportunities.
By working together, EOC hopes to inspire current and emerging leaders who are prepared to address professional and social complexities in the environmental sector.