Diversity

#ORSummer, Diversity, Environmental Justice, National Parks, Outdoor Retailer, Podcast, Special Events, Summer, Yosemite / 10.08.2011

For those of us who spend a great deal of time outdoors it’s hard to believe that there are many of those who don’t. Especially when it comes to our national parks there is an entire segment of the United States population, natural born citizens who seldom if ever visit. This is particularly true among people of color. African-Americans, Hispanics and other ethnic minorities spend far less time in nature than their white counterparts. And in a shifting demographic where minorities will soon become the majority there’s rising concern throughout the conservation movement that one day in the not so distant future most U.S. citizens will have no personal relationship with or affinity for the natural world. This concern is expressed most eloquently by National Park Ranger Shelton Johnson. The only permanent African-American ranger at Yosemite National Park his mission is to share with audiences, black and white, lessons of stewardship that illustrate the bond with nature that is every U.S. citizen’s birth rite. An interpretive ranger that tells the story of the Buffalo Soldiers, African-American cavalrymen who projected Yosemite at the turn of last century, Johnson puts into context the importance of wilderness not merely as a point of national pride but an intrinsic value of what it mean to be human.
Adventure Activism, Adventure Media Review, Diversity, Environmental Justice, Film preview, National Parks, PBS / 18.05.2011

Travel is an event of transformation. In 1961 a long bus ride from Washington D.C. to New Orleans changed the world forever. But the PBS American Experience documentary “The Freedom Riders” will likely do little to alter your perspective of a journey upon the open road. Instead I hope that it will open your awareness to the fear and vulnerability a conspicuous minority will face even today while traveling and exposed to the hostility of an entitled majority.

Art, Diversity, Environmental Justice, Film Festival, Mountain Film, Music, Podcast / 15.04.2011

Now that spring is in the air it’s time to start thinking about that next great road trip. In the coming weeks I’ll pack up the Jetta and head out on a tour of the adventure media and film festivals. Looking for stories that celebrate the active lifestyle and environmental conservation I’ll be reporting from the 5Points Festival in Carbondale Colorado and then the Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride. But as I’m making my plans I can’t help but think about how much our nation has changed over the past half century. Last year at Mountain Film I met a man who helped me put the freedom of road travel into a different perspective. Earnest “Rip” Patton is from Nashville, Tennessee. He’s considered an historian and a civil rights activist of the last 50s and early 60s.  Fifty years ago Rip was among first wave of student activists who road on buses into the Southern United States in the spring of 1961. Called the Freedom Rides the plan was to organize demonstrations in protest of racial segregation.
Diversity, Environmental Justice, National Parks / 10.03.2011

  Protecting the environment for future generations is great idea. In fact it’s a notion so simple that you might wonder why it took a White House committee 10 months, 52 public listening sessions and a 116-page document to express what any lover of nature knows by heart. Unveiled in February by President Obama, America’s Great Outdoors report offers a comprehensive list of recommendations to preserve wilderness and recreation areas throughout the United States for decades if not centuries to come. It’s a thorough series of proposals that provide logical solutions that aim to engage more citizens in outdoor activities. But this plan, ironically devised by the most racially diverse administration in our nation’s history, seems to neglect an excellent opportunity to make the great outdoors more relevant to the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population: people of color.
Diversity, Environmental Journalism, Environmental Protection, Kids in Nature / 18.02.2011

This is likely one of many hundred videos, hopefully thousands. But it’s the first to come across my desk and it prompted me to write in support of one young man who hopes to represent his generation on behalf of the environment. Christian Alvarado is among the teens and young adults across America vying for the Sierra Club’s Best Internship on Earth.

Diversity, National Parks, Outdoor Recreation, Yosemite / 18.11.2010

Can the power of celebrity bring more people of color into the National Parks? Yosemite Ranger Shelton Johnson thinks so and now that he’s grabbed the attention of talk show host Oprah Winfrey momentum is building to invite the rap star Snoop Dogg to go camping. A petition is being circulated in the hopes of enticing the urban music icon into the wild.