Diversity

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.

Breaking News, Destinations, Diversity, Environmental Protection, Yosemite / 29.10.2010

Yosemite National Park  Ranger Shelton Johnson was as surprised as anyone. “I was more than surprised,” he said in a recent phone conversation. “I was shocked. When the EMTs resuscitated me I was pretty much flat-lined.” Standing outside the south entrance to Yosemite National Park, Johnson thought he was awaiting the arrival of six African-American women, all about to have their first camping experience. “I was told they’ve been friends since college and they were being reunited at a spa,” he said. “But unbeknownst to them they were being taken to Yosemite Valley for a camping trip instead. At least that’s what I thought.” Johnson thought he was in on a clever plot to welcome a group of nature neophytes into the great outdoors. But the joke was on him. “Here I’m expecting to meet these six African-America women and who shows but Oprah Winfrey and her friend Gayle King,” Johnson said. “I knew this was a project affiliated with her show, but to have Oprah right there in front of me was something else entirely. So yeah I was surprised, surprised in the best possible way.”