The Center For Diversity and The Environment aims to reshape the current composition of environmental movements that lack racial and ethnic perspectives. In order to give minorities a voice in the field of environmental studies, CDE has programs such as the E42 Program which allow for aspiring environmental leaders of color to participate in a multi-month program with two in-session retreats. CDE’s various programs produce quality environmental leaders of color who have the potential to change the world for a better by collaborating with established environmentalists.
Now we just need to give them a voice…
The Inclusivity Summit
As far as our group knows, CDE holds many collaborative and informative retreats and programs, but lack a way of projecting their voices to the global stage where they can converse with established environmental leaders and make truly impactful changes. We propose a 2-day long retreat where we hold a colloquium where established environmental leaders such as Sunita Narain speak with a guest panel to all of the aspiring environmental leaders of color. Following the guest speeches, the aspiring and established environmentalists could engage with one another (much like the way we got to talk with Sunita after the keynote). This would amplify the voices of aspiring environmental leaders of color and allow for more environmental movements to include the essential voices of minorities. A program like this would also strengthen communication skills and relationship building skills amongst its participants and allow for a much more impactful form dialogue. A key component approach of this program would allow for environmentalists to use such dialogue to reach action-based solutions.
The “Who” represents the multitude of aspiring environmentalists that lack a way to project their voices into the field of environmental studies. With a field that is largely dominated by a single perspective (everything that comprises the “white” perspective) the potential for minorities to enact real environmental change is limited. The other part of the who would be the panel of experienced and established environmental leaders that have already made their way onto a stage where they can broadcast their voices that choose to participate in our Inclusivity Summit.
The “What” represents the current state of environmental movements that fail to include the perspectives of minorities. Along with CDE, we believe that the key to making true environmental change lies behind the idea of diversifying our view of the world and its inhabitants. By excluding minorities from environmental movements, we not only eliminate our chances of obtaining a full understanding of environmental issues such as those who are affected, but we also neglect a large company of people that can help reshape the current state of environmental affairs.
The “How” represents our Inclusivity Summit where we hold a 2-day long retreat much like the reconnaissance trip we began our year with. We’d invite a panel of established environmentalist such Sunita Narain and have them give a step by step intro to environmental professionals of color on how to make their voices heard on the stage of environmental affairs. This retreat would not only inspire a diverse set of environmental leaders but also allow them to engage in productive conversation with the panel of speakers. Likewise, we feel that engaging in open-minded discussion is also important to solving environmental problems so we’d emphasize its importance in the introduction of the retreat.