13 Jan Greening Youth ~ A Conversation With DEI Subject Matter Experts
Hey everybody it’s January 2020 Happy New Year! In fact happy new decade for the 21st century. It’s kind of cool to be living in the future, a time I tried to imagine as a kid growing up in the 80s. But here we are. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come. And still what a long way yet to go.
If you’ve been following my work on this podcast or in a few magazine articles I’ve written over last few years you know that I put a lot of effort into the topic of diversity, equity and inclusion or DEI in the world outdoor recreation and environmental conservation. Throughout the last decade I’ve reported a lot about the progress that the outdoor industry has made in creating positive cultural and professional environments for people of color, the differently abled, those who identify as LGBTQ and other socially marginalized communities. But there is still so much that outdoor retailers, manufactures and non profit organizations can do to create spaces where everyone can not only be made to feel welcome, but encouraged to thrive, succeed and excel. I spent a bit of time throughout 2019 exploring how various institutions in the outdoor industry are rethinking the various pathways they can take to get a wide variety of different people outside.
So I made stop in Atlanta Georgia to speak to a team of subject matter experts who are leading the way toward making the outdoors more diverse, equitable and inclusive.
Angelou Ezeilo is the founder and CEO of the Greening Youth Foundation.
I think the challenge with a lot of these retailers are trying to figure out how to integrate, you know, the other right into what they’re doing without it being so freakin awkward. So it shows that we have still a long way to go.
For more than 10 years the Greening Youth Foundation has worked with Governmental Agencies like the National Park Service, U.S.D.A Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to place Black, Hispanic and Native American young people in paid professional internships. Working now with private companies like The North Face and Patagonia GYF is trying to expand the diversity of under represented segments of the population in the outdoor industry. In a very candid conversation with members of her staff at their offices in Atlanta, Ezeilo explains the many challenges we face in moving forward the work of DEI. As you can imagine it can be little awkward.
It’s important to understand that the work of DEI is not a philanthropic enterprise. Research shows that industries and workplaces that are racially and culturally diverse are much more innovative, socially relevant, creative and productive. Having a base of employees and managers that better reflect the emerging demographics of the communities they serve will assure an organizations long-term success and prosperity well into the future.
The Greening Youth Foundation is based in Atlanta but they provide services and programs for clients nation wide. Angelou Ezeilo is the author of the new book Engage, Connect, Protect: Empowering Diverse Youth As Environmental Leaders, now available at Amazon. As we head into the new year and a new decade perhaps now we can all work to create diverse equity and inclusive environments where everyone is welcome.
The Joy Trip Project is made possible thanks to the support of our partners at American Rivers, the National Forest Foundation and Patagonia. In our best efforts to protect and preserve the natural environment we need fresh ideas to reimagine how we see ourselves as part of one big biological community. We believe that through creative storytelling we encourage everyone to #ReThinkOutside Find out how at ReThinkOutside.org.
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For now go be joyful and until next time take care!