The Center for Diversity and the Environment (CDE) is based in Portland, with chapters across the country. They were established in 2008 and have since worked with over 300 organizations and 3,000 people. The organization was established with the goal of bridging communities of color and the environmental community. By doing so the environmental movement becomes more equitable, inclusive, and diverse. They have several approaches, mainly to shape leaders to be the catalyst of change within their communities.
The CDE’s vision “harnesses the power of racial and ethnic diversity to transform the US environmental movement by developing leaders, catalyzing change within institutions, and building alliances.” They achieve this by addressing issues of equity at different levels: leadership, institutions, and the public.
For those interested in becoming leaders within their community, the CDE offers several individual level opportunities. They believe it is important that change starts at the individual level. Those who go through their programs learn to advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion and develop relationship building skills. The largest programs offered by the CDE include the Environment 2042 Retreat Leadership Program (E42) and the Exploring Power, Priviledge, and Tools for Change Retreat (EPPTC). E42 is a multi-month program meant to build a network of peers and colleagues, develop ways to exemplify an inclusive culture within environmental institutions, and build skills in planning action-based solutions. The name is derived from the fact that by 2042, more than 50 percent of the US population will be people of color, making their work incredibly important. EPPTC is a shorter program, only lasting two and a half days and meant for individuals who have some background in barriers to inclusion and equity. Like E42, they learn how to develop action-based solutions and enact them within their lives and the larger context of the environmental movement.
The CDE is inspired to aid institutions in addressing internalized issues of equity because 33 percent of environmental institutions currently have no people of color on staff. Their vision is to provide guidance for institutions seeking to create a more inclusive environment, a key characteristic being to develop a sustainable plan. To begin, the CDE recommends an Equity Engagement and Strategy Process (EESP). This is a foundation building activity facilitated by the CDE. An organization can then request equity audits and a series of workshops to help address their equity issues. For more long term involvement, the CDE also offers coaching and consulting. The CDE has already worked with organizations such as: the Audubon Society of Portland, the National Park Service, National Geographic, National Wildlife Federation, and the Sierra Club.
To engage the public they hold workshops, retreats, and events, all for people to learn and for the CDE to receive feedback on their work. To create movement in communities across the nation, the CDE develops leaders who carry their skills wherever they are. The CDE has several chapters throughout the US of the Environmental Professionals of Color. It’s a program that trains students to be leaders of change within their future roles, becoming key players in community building. There is currently a network of over 1,000 individuals. The director of CDE, Queta Gonzaléz, also gives keynote talks to speak to her experience of challenges within the environmental movement. One of their programs that most closely aligns with our ENVS 295 idea of engagement is their Convening Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Forums. These are opportunities for members from the environmental community and communities of color to hold dialogue concerning the racial and ethinic divide within the environmental movement and identify action oriented solutions.
This article provides commentary on the lack of diversity within those involved in environmental studies. In light of these reports that show such a lack of diversity, Non-profit orgs are striving to be more inclusive by conducting exercises and events that allow for community building. In order to enact great change, the article explains the idea of systematic change which aims to diversify the people involved in environmental NGOs.
The Racial Equity Institute, or REI, is an alliance of multiracial trainers, environmentalists, and institutional leaders who have a great concern for the lack of racial equity in most organizations. The REI strives to help individuals and organizations implement new ways of challenging the current, unfair, and unjust power dynamic in the US. Currently, there is a great amount of exclusion when it comes to the relationship between people of color and environmental studies. REI aims to utilize systematic change by developing leaders of color that may integrate themselves in to the field of environmental studies.
This article was posted by the Oregon Environmental Council which was founded in 1968 by Oregonians that were unsettled by the health of our air, land, and water. This article, written by Rob Nathan, a member of OEC’s emerging leaders board, provides commentary on the idea that: “The message was clear: regardless of what Oregon’s intentions are in the present, it has a history of systematically denying people of color access to clean air and clean water, healthy environments and crucial decision-making processes and that history matters when we are looking at addressing solutions today.”
This is one example of the many newsletters that CDE posts on their website to inform its supporters and readers of recent successful events/programs or upcoming events/programs. Written by the CDE’s Director, Queta Gonzalez, this article acts as almost a motivational speech for its readers in the sense that it was very repetitive and focussed on the key points that are consistently presented throughout the actual CDE site itself. After discussing inequity, Gonzalez ends this newsletter with a reminder about an upcoming event.
“Latinos And the Environment '' is an article that provides commentary on a poll that showed the relationship the support Latino voters have for immigration reform in comparison to other issues of importance. Many feel that Latinos are lacking the recognition they deserve when it comes to their concern for the environment, this poll shows that Latinos value environmental health just as much as they value immigration reform. The poll displays percentages that correlate with what Latinos believe should be most addressed by the President and Congress. Support for immigration comes in at 80 percent while protecting wildlife and developing clean energy solutions come in at 79 and 78 percent. This article sheds some light on the lack of diversity and inclusion within the field of environmental studies through their representation of Latinos and their concern for the environment.
The CDE believes that the current posture of environmental studies excludes many minorities from participating in environmental movements. This article insinuates that in order to achieve real change, we must include everyone in our efforts to sustain the environment. It bases this idea on the claim that minorities care more about the environment than the majority. The article claims that according to recent polls, minorities are “ahead of the curve” when it comes to supporting environmental policy and support. Along with this article, the CDE posts and shares many articles that they feel highlight their message of equality and a more diversified environmental efforts. This article gives insight from a minorities perspective on political affiliation, environmental justice, and global efforts.