Diversity

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.”
Commentary, Diversity, Outdoor Recreation, Outdoor Retailer, Summer / 03.09.2010

[caption id="attachment_3787" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="OR director Kenji Haroutunian (left) walks the show floor with DOI Sec. Ken Salazar"][/caption] After 20 years in the industry I can’t recall a cabinet level executive ever attending the Outdoor Retailer Show. Those with long standing memories may prove me wrong and I’ll stand corrected. But I believe that the address of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to the biannual Outdoor Industry Association breakfast meeting was a truly unique occurrence. His position in the Obama Administration not withstanding, Salazar’s visit to OR is important for other reasons. As a person of Hispanic ancestry and the direct representative of the first African-America president of the United States for the first time in our history, federal policy for the protection of our public land, air, water and natural resources is being guided predominately by people of color. Salazar brought with him a message from the White House that stands not only as a sign of a strong relationship between our industry and the U.S. Government, but it may also serve as a rare opportunity to finally bridge the divide between outdoor recreation and ethnic minorities in our country who fail access it.
Breaking News, Diversity, Environmental Justice, Yosemite / 25.02.2010

Congresswoman Jackie Speier (San Francisco/San Mateo County) testifies today  before the House Natural Resources Committee.  Speier's bill, H.R. 4491, authorizes the National Park Service to study the role the African American regiments played in establishing the National Park System and to honor their legacy. "I am thrilled to have this opportunity to begin to tell the world of the momentous contribution the Buffalo Soldiers have made to our country," said Congresswoman Speier.   "It is fitting, during Black History Month, that we take the first steps towards the rightful recognition of these soldiers.   They were truly the first guardians of...

Diversity, Environmental Justice, Interview, Podcast / 09.02.2010

An interview with Peggy Shepard executive director of West Harlem Environmental Action Inc.

Racism is a word that seldom comes up in a discussion of environmental protection. Clean air, water and soil are universal human values that transcend ethnic identity or the color of one’s skin. But in metropolitan centers around the United States minority communities are being inundated with a disproportionate burden of pollution. Industrial waste, municipal garbage and sewage treatment plants are routinely deposited in areas predominately populated by low income African Americans and Hispanics. In 1988 a community organizer named Peggy Shepard was asked to help address concerns around the creation of one such sewage treatment plant. A facility built in the New York City burrow of Harlem.