We believe that resources should be open-access and easy to navigate, so we have curated a working archive of some of our favorite readings, activities, media and tips & tools. As we learn about and gather more resources, we will upload them here. Click on the type of resource below (activities, media, readings, tips & tools), then filter by subject on the left.
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There are two great resources that are constantly updated and both worth keeping up with.
1. This interactive map built by Claudio Saunt shows the dispossession of indigenous land from the late 1700’s to the late 1800’s. If you click on different parts of the map, a pop up will give you information and links to relevant treaties, laws, and executive orders that legalized the dispossession. Explore more here.
2. Another interactive map that shows relevant treaties, languages spoken, and territories. Explore more of this map here.
Brentin Mock connects the dots between the history of environmentalism and its legacy of racism by discussing some lesser known history. Read here.
In this essay, Rahawa Haile, describes her journey along the Appalachian Trail as a black Eritrean-American woman. She discusses the important role that books by black authors played along her journey, as well as her complex feelings about being in such a white space. Read more here.
18 JanToolkit on Implementing the President’s Memo on Diversity & Inclusion in Public Lands & Waters
We built this toolkit to help you implement the Presidential Memorandum issued on January 12th, 2017. The memo is available online here. The toolkit is attached.
20 DecEnvironmental Justice and Environmentalism: The Social Justice Challenge to the Environmental Movement
This collection of essays explores the complex relationship between environmentalism and environmental justice. The contributors approach how the goals of both environmentalism and environmental justice can be achieved. Among the fields represented are anthropology, environmental studies, natural resource sciences, philosophy, public policy, rhetoric, and sociology. Read here.
This is collection of perspectives on diversity and the environmental movement by various leaders in the movement (edited by Emily Enderle). The entire book is available free online here and is attached.
This FAQ posted by the City of Seattle and the Seattle Office for Civil Rights clearly articulates some reasons why organizations and agencies like theirs prioritize dismantling racism (over other forms of oppression). If your organization is struggling to articulate why you should or do lead with race, use this for your messaging.
This Everyday Feminism post gets to the heart of one of the things we find most challenging about cultural appropriation: engaging in productive dialogue to give people feedback without them shutting down or getting over defensive. If you’re having a hard time talking to someone about this topic, or if you yourself are wondering why cultural appropriation is a big deal, please read the post here.
In this seminal work, the authors of the Implicit Association Test discuss the impetus for their research on implicit biases. The book is peppered with fascinating activities and stories. Because implicit bias is what fundamentally gets in the way of our doing good diversity, equity, and inclusion work, we recommend everybody read this book. For those who are more audiovisual, listen to the podcast we’ve posted with Mazarin Banaji. If you have some time to read, order the book online here.
20 DecCrimes against Nature: Squatters, Poachers, Thieves, and the Hidden History of American Conservation
Crimes against Nature reveals the hidden history behind three of the nation’s first parklands: the Adirondacks, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon. Focusing on conservation’s impact on local inhabitants, Karl Jacoby traces the effect of criminalizing such traditional practices as hunting, fishing, foraging, and timber cutting in the newly created parks. Jacoby reassesses the nature of these “crimes” and provides a rich portrait of rural people and their relationship with the natural world in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The book is available for purchase online here.
20 DecThe Rise of the American Conservation Movement: Power, Privilege, and Environmental Protection
This book by Dorceta Taylor reveals the untold stories of the American conservation movement as they relate to race, indigeneity, gender, and other historically marginalized ideas and perspectives. Highly recommended for outdoor education and recreation folks. A must-read for anyone in the conservation or environmental sector (including advocacy, conservation, preservation, land, water, and wildlife management, and environmental education). The book is available for purchase online here.
This book by Abigail A. Van Slyck examines the unique history and legacy of summer camps in the U.S. For those who don’t want to read the entire book, in our work with camps and outdoor recreation, we found following chapters particularly enlightening:
- the Introduction
- Chapter 3 (titled “Housing the Healthy Camper: Tents, Cabins, and Attitudes towards Health.”
- Chapter 5 (titled “Good and Dirty? Girls, Boys, and Camp Cleanliness”)
- Chapter 6 (titled “Living Like Savages. Tipis, Council Rings, and Playing Indian”)
The book is available on Amazon here.
This article describes a recent paper by U.C. Davis that “that the Black Lives Matter movement addresses racism in the U.S. as an embodied experience of structural, environmental insecurity.” This is one many useful articles in connecting the dots between the environmental movement and Black Lives Matter.
This Everyday Feminism article explores the growing use of the gender neutral and intersectional identifier “Latinx” instead of “Latino” or “Latina.” Read the article here.
In this study of perceptions among voters of color (sponsored by New America Media and the Next100 Coalition) researches found that—contrary to some stereotypes and perceptions—voters of color care about public lands, participate in outdoor activities on public lands, and support increased access to public lands.
This Atlantic essay examines the pervasive use of “grit” (and “resilience”) in the American education system, and why the use of these words is “irresponsible and unfair” because students who have been exposed to trauma (a) already possess grit and resilience; and (b) cannot change their mindsets without changing the situation around them. For outdoor education organizations that have “grit” and “resilience” as outcomes, read this for a new perspective. Read the article here.
16 DecThink before you appropriate: Things to know and questions to ask in order to avoid appropriating indigenous cultures.
For those looking for a toolkit or checklist on indigenous appropriation, this guide published by Creative Commons will be useful. This is particularly useful for camps and outdoor education organizations who have historically or contemporarily utilized indigenous culture, iconography, rituals, costumes, and other cultural resources.
MTV’s Francesca Ramsey provides a succinct explanation of what constitutes cultural appropriation, when it is harmful, and why it is harmful. This video is great for folks who don’t have time or bandwidth to dig into reading on the subject, and simply want a short explanation. That said, this video should be the beginning of your journey (not the end). Watch it here.
In this video, Professor Adrienne Keene explains the impact of the appropriation of native iconography and cultural resources on indigenous people. This video is useful for outdoor organizations and camps who historically or contemporarily practice indigenous rituals, utilize indigenous costumes or customs, or utilize indigenous iconography. Watch the video here.
16 DecOpportunities for white people in the fight for racial justice-moving from actor–>ally–>accomplice
This is one of many comprehensive toolkits that lays out concrete actions white folks can take in the fight for racial justice. We like it because it makes a great distinction between actor, ally, and accomplice, which is increasingly important in an era where the word “ally” seems to be overused and diluted. It also has 12 categories that folks can focus on in their journey from actor to ally to accomplice. Easy to navigate and very useful. Read more here.
In its most recent report (October 2016), Green 2.0 researches executive search firms and their approach to supporting the green sector with hiring. The upshot is that search firms—upon whom big green organizations are increasingly relying to fill leadership positions—have neither valued nor integrated diversity into their hiring priorities. Though this study is on search firms, the full report and the checklist contain some useful recruiting and hiring tips for all organizations in the conservation and environmental sector. Read more here.
This Atlantic piece investigates environmental and social justice history in the United States to argue that environmental and social justice are inextricably intertwined and have always been. In this essay Jedediah Purdy claims that the heroes of environmentalism actually place human interests at the core of their movements. Read more here.
The concept of cluster hiring originates in academia, where increasingly, universities hire multiple scholars into one or more departments based on shared, interdisciplinary research interests. Cluster hiring since been interpreted to mean hiring multiple people from a specific identity (women, people of color) at a time. This has been shown to increase gender and ethnic diversity. This article discusses the benefits of cluster hiring in academia. Read more here.
john a. powell describes the relationship between racism and implicit bias. He describes that, “What’s critical in the conversation around policing and implicit bias, as well as all Americans and implicit bias, is to understand that while implicit bias is not the same as racism, the results of implicit bias can still produce deeply racialized outcomes. Even if the conscious mind rejects racism, the unconscious may still hold biases. And these biases are even stronger when we are under stress.” Read more here.
Toponymns, or the story behind naming peaks, rivers, and parks, is one way to understand the history of place. Julian Brave Noisecat discusses 6 landmarks whose names should be changed back to their indigenous name. Read here.
Brad Hall, an interpreter at Glacier National Park and member of the Blackfeet Tribe, discusses his complicated relationship to the park, as well as the ways that Blackfeet were and continue to be excluded from the park.
The Green Leadership Trust is a network of people of color and indigenous people who serve on environmental boards. We work to build the environmental movement’s power by diversifying its leadership through promotion of best practices and other resources and by driving the leadership pipeline. In December of 2014, the Green Leadership Trust launched the “Board-Led Best Practices on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity.” Find their resources here.
On this episode of NPR’s On Being podcast, Krista Tippett interviews Dr. Mazarin Banaji, who coined “implicit bias” and is the co-creator of the Implicit Association Test. For those interested in how Dr. Banaji came to develop this test and her views on implicit bias, this is a great podcast. Listen here.
This Washington Post article provides a useful and succinct description of the neuroscience behind implicit bias. Read more here.
Adele Thomas explores the complexities and nuances of what it means to engage in black liberation in the US, where settler colonialism persists, and how to imagine liberation in the context of multiple traumas. Read here.
This article urges us to embrace the paradox of gender by explaining why we need to continue to talk about masculinity and femininity even though gender is a social construct that we need to “blow up.” Read more here.
The folks over at Raising Race Conscious Children put together a list of 100 examples of how to engage children in conversation around racial justice (and some ideas around sex and gender). A great resource for parents as well as educators. Read more here.
john a. powell discusses the role of implicit bias in philanthropy and grant-making, and how implicit bias can negatively impact the equity efforts behind philanthropy. Read more here.
This article in Everyday Feminism is for anyone who holds one or more dominant identities who is interested exploring how to approach allyship. Read more here.
This article is for conservation and environmental organizations and agencies who use “conservation science” to support their initiatives. This article in Bioscience journal urges the Western scientific community to broaden what is viewed as “science” to cover Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). As explained in the article, TEK can add great value, particularly to environmental and conservation issues affecting all peoples. Read more here.
This article outlines Edward Abbey’s stance on immigration and how it is directly related to an exclusionary conservation ethic. The article reminds us to think critically about the legacy of conservation and environmentalism, the stories that get told, and in particular, the stories that remain untold. Read here.
Catherine Buni gives an overview of how environmental literature has historically been dominated by whiteness, and then advocates for a broader understanding of environmental literature by introducing the voices of several authors and thinkers of color from the past and present. Read here.
Chandra Smith, Marcelo Bonta, and Tony DeFalco compiled a comprehensive report on the conservation movement in respect to diversity and inclusion. They provide an overview of the challenges, suggest best practices, and provide case studies for successful efforts. Read here.
The people at the Icarus Project put together this mapping tool for anyone to map out how oppression impacts their health.
In the words of the authors, “Mad Maps are documents that we create for ourselves as reminders of our goals, what is important to us, our personal signs of struggle, and our strategies for self-determined well-being.”
After 18 months of research, La Tierra Madre reports out on some common themes in the Latino conservation community and provides insights on successful Latino engagement in conservation, either within Latino communities or between mainstream conservation efforts and Latino communities. Access here.
CivilSchools is another organization we are really excited about; they offer comprehensive bullying prevention curriculum through the lens of anti-oppression work. You can get a free toolkit from them here and purchase the rest of the curriculum, if you’re so inclined. Access here.
A look at how men have dominated the rating system in climbing and how the impacts women or more accurately, people who do not have a “typical” male body (if there even is such a thing). Read here.
Robin DiAngelo discusses the concept white fragility, which refers to, “a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves.” DiAngelo’s work is often cited when explaining white reactions to issues surrounding race.
A short cartoon strip that describes the relationship between black-white relations in the US and how oppression is normalized. View here.
In the wake of racial violence in 2015, activists call for white co-conspirators, not allies. Allyship implies a mutually beneficial benefit and support one another; however, one protestor argues that the black community is not obligated to support the white community. Instead, they urge both black and white communities to work towards a common goal: racial justice. Read here.
The National Association of Diversity Officers in High Education has created this useful guide that covers everything from the need for a Chief Diversity Officer position to the scope of that person’s responsibilities and areas of competency. Though geared toward institutions of higher education, this guide is useful for any organization seeking to hire a Chief Diversity Officer. Read more here.
We could try to describe this podcast, but their own description says it best: “New Republic editor Jamil Smith explores how race, gender, and all the ways we identify ourselves and one another intersect. He brings in journalists, activists, politicians, and everyday folks like you to fuel the conversation.”
Richard White explores the tension between people who identify as environmentalists and outdoor recreationists with those who work in the same places (namely, loggers and miners). In this exploration, he unveils contradictions that lie within the American environmental consciousness. Read here.
Ramachandra Guha provides important perspectives on the concept of the Wilderness and deep ecology through what he calls a Third World critique. He argues that American environmentalism contributes to environmental degradation and social injustices.
Test your own hidden bias with this free online test sponsored by Harvard University and taken by millions of people in the past 15 years. The Implicit Association Test is a time-tested method for testing hidden bias. Enter with an open mind. Access here.
This video documents the unconscious bias training run by Google Ventures for Google’s employees. Though the training is in the context of gender and race bias in the high tech sector, much of the research and findings are relevant to the environmental and outdoor education sector. Watch here.
Published in the wake of the Rachel Dolezal scandal, this piece discusses the difference between cultural appropriation, assimilation, and cultural exchange, and how cultural appropriation can harm nondominant groups. This article is useful for outdoor experiential education organizations that utilize icons, language, or traditions of specific cultures in their programming. It’s also useful for outdoor educators who like to teach using costumes and accents. Read more here.
In one of several though-provoking blog posts on National Public Radio’s Code Switch blog, Gene Demby lambasts those who seek specific rules surrounding what they can or cannot say. Bottom line: there are no rules around this stuff, just consequences. So do your research. Read more here.
By surveying the archetypal Hollywood teachers in both urban and suburban settings, this article debunks common myths regarding the characteristics of a “good teacher” and urges educators to do their research on what constitutes multicultural education. This article is useful for outdoor educators who want to broaden their perspectives on the paradigm of a good teacher.
In this article, Bob Bullard & Robert Garcia challenge environmental organizations to think bigger than just diversifying their own ranks, and to actually provide resources to the grassroots organizations who are bringing environmentalism to local communities of color. Some refer to Bullard’s work as “Green 3.0.” Read here.
This article discusses the growing wave of institutions of higher education who are providing students with the choice of self-identifying their own gender. Read more here.
Gloria Ladson-Billings is a notable academic in the field of multicultural education. In this article she describes what culturally relevant pedagogy looks like in a traditional classroom. These teachings are equally relevant to nontraditional classrooms, such as those in which outdoor experiential educators operate.
This activity is useful for building empathy within participants who do not often find themselves in situations where they are an outsider. By getting participants to reflect on situations in which they were an outsider, they can better relate to others who might feel this way because of exclusive cultures and behaviors within your organization.
This activity uses a reading to explore how dominant perceptions of wilderness can lead to exclusion. Though it is structured for facilitation during an outdoor experiential education trip, you can adapt it for use in any context in which your organization is grappling with wilderness and its various constructs.
This activity helps guide you in drawing the line between behavior and needs that your organization and its leaders should honor, and behavior and needs that participants will need to modify to adapt to your organizational culture. The take-home is that inclusion doesn’t mean welcoming everything. There will be pinch points when you will need to decide what to include and when to ask participants/staff to adapt.
This is a relatively safe approach to exploring privilege and power structures in a way that minimizes feelings of resentment and empowering participants to be allies. Use this as an alternative to the Privilege Walk if you want to lower risk. But realize that this activity is too safe in that it doesn’t require that participants talk about their lived experiences of privilege.
Participants will recognize the beliefs and stereotypes they were taught about their own and other racial and ethnic groups. They will also recognize that stereotypes are learned behaviors, something we are socialized to believe, and can therefore be unlearned by openly discussing and purposefully combating them. This activity helps to move participants from feelings of denial, shame or blame, to taking responsibility for unconscious behaviors.
This seminal work by feminist Peggy McIntosh continues to be the source for the “go to” activity on privilege-the “Privilege Walk.” Social justice facilitators typically ask participants to line up, then ask each of the questions in the series posed by McIntosh, with participants stepping forward if their answer to the question is yes and backward if their answer to the question is no. The activity can be high-risk, so don’t facilitate it unless you are with a group that has established mutual trust and rapport, and unless you can frame it up in a way that inspires learning and behavior change, and not shame and resentment. For more information about the activity along with a customized list of questions geared toward participants in the outdoor and environmental space, please search our list of activities.
This activity is an effective introduction to how hidden biases impact our perceptions of people who are different from us, how our knee-jerk reactions can lead us to making the wrong conclusions about people, and how often we stereotype people even when we don’t intend to.
This document is for outdoor, environmental, or experiential educators and conservation program staff. This every-evolving tips sheet provides strategies for fostering a more inclusive environment for any program participant.
We have compiled a list of some of the most current and salient ideas for ensuring your hiring practices are as equitable and inclusive as possible. This toolkit takes you through the entire hiring process, giving suggestions for each step. (Updated December 2016)
José Gonzalez outlines important concepts and histories regarding Chicanos’ involvement in the environmental justice movement. He discusses environmental issues that have disproportionately impacted the Latino community and how the Chicano community has responded. Read here.
Authors Brian Wattchow and Mike Brown provide an alternative vision for outdoor education by first calling into question the assumptions that are made in outdoor education and then calling for practices that highlight the intersection of place and culture. They have provided the entire book for free!
Jeff Rose and Karen Paisley outline how white privilege is embedded in experiential education (and specifically outdoor education) through assumptions about how students should experience experiential education and the environment. In academic terms, Rose and Paisely argue that experiential education is a privileged pedagogy.
Fair warning: this is actually not free, but a great resource if you have the capacity to buy it. Ariel Luckey, a performance artist, puts on a one person show that describes his very personal journey to understanding how colonialism shaped the West and impacted his life as a white man. He investigates both historical land politics and current land politics in his home, the Bay Area. You can purchase the DVD of the performance and the curriculum guide.
This film tells three stories about land disputes between indigenous communities and outdoor reactionists and/or mining companies. It highlights how different groups and cultures understand and experience land. The film is available for purchase or available to rent on Netflix. The film also comes with a lesson plan, available here.
Read the summary here.
A review of Mark David Spence’s, “Dispossessing the Wilderness,” which provides a history of how Yosemite, Glacier, and Yellowstone National Parks were predicated upon the forcible removal of indigenous people from their land through physical violence, broken treaties, and unequal partnerships. Spence’s work is recommended reading for anyone who wants to understand the American wilderness through an important lens.
Jay Smooth instructs on how to have a productive conversation with someone who just may have said something racist. While he focuses on race here, his tactics apply to addressing any difficult or sticky conversation, especially around identity, power, and oppression.
In a case study of outdoor adventure athletes, this dissertation finds that women athletes navigate fear, lack of confidence, and gender relations issues using social support, resiliency strategies, and focusing on their unwavering passion for the outdoors. If you don’t want to read the entire 200+ pages, focus on the takeaways. The author recommends outdoor programs focus on specific skill-building among women participants surrounding confidence, self-awareness, and fear/risk management, providing social networking opportunities for women with like-minded colleagues, providing more exposure to the outdoors beyond just technical skill building, and to consider single-gender environments (which can be more supportive for some women).
Yet another blog post analogizing white privilege to something more accessible in order to drive home the concept. Though we are not fans of glossing over White Privilege with superficial analogies and metaphors, we realize there is real value for some folks in reading articles that talk about this challenging concept in a way that resonates with them. For some, this could be the aha! piece.
A growing body of research shows that women are less “confident” than men: they are less likely to apply for jobs for which they are qualified, they are less likely to negotiate salaries, and they are less likely to seek promotions (among other things). The article concludes with some recommendations to close what the authors have coined “the confidence gap.”
Breeze discusses the racialization of the wilderness and its impact on perceptions of wilderness within black communities through the term and “racialized ecological identity.” The article also challenges the concept of colorblindness and ultimately, how to transform environmental education to be more culturally responsive to different ecological identities.
Read here. (July 17, 2009)
This issue of Pathways, the Ontario Journal of Outdoor Education, contains five articles that cover the range from cultural appropriation of indigenous artifacts by summer camps (i.e., the totem pole phenomenon), to designing adventure for the differently abled, to the myth of an untouched and pristine “wilderness.” Every article is short, interesting, and non-academic, and would be great field reads during a trip.
This 2014 report has been the impetus for the nationwide effort in the environmental sector to dedicate resources to diversity and inclusion. In this report, Dr. Dorceta Taylor studied 191 conservation and preservation organizations, 74 government environmental agencies, 28 environmental grant-making foundations, and 21 environmental professionals. The report concludes that there is a significant gender and ethnic gap in the ranks of environmental organizations, a gap that needs to be addressed if the movement is to remain relevant in a nation with rapidly shifting demographics.
This executive summary on the findings of Green 2.0, Dorceta Taylor’s initial report on the lack of diversity in the environmental movement and recommendations for making change, recommends that organizations focus on tracking and transparency, accountability, and allocating more resources. The report finds that foundations and the Obama administration are leading the way on diversity efforts, but that the nonprofit sector is lagging behind. Among the problems are unconscious bias, discrimination, and insular recruiting.
Crosley-Corcoran starts to untangle racial and class privilege; while they are related, Crosley-Corcoran states that one does not negate the other. This essay is a helpful read for folks who are grappling with the concept of White privilege, especially those who come from economic disadvantage who experience shame, anger, or guilt or resentment when faced with the concept.
Written by a white-identified professor of critical multicultural and social justice education, this essay describes the challenges to talking about racism with white people. DiAngelo describes the patterns that make it difficult for people to come to grips with being part of a system of oppression that has historically privileged them. Written honestly and from personal experience, this article validates white peoples’ discomfort and urges them to sit with the discomfort to learn.
In a study of 248 performance reviews from 28 companies from large technology corporations to small startups, a researcher found that only 58.9% of men’s reviews contained critical feedback, while an overwhelming 87.9% of the reviews received by women did. “Abrasive” alone was used 17 times to describe 13 different women, but the word never appeared in men’s reviews. This article is a useful way to interrupt our gender biases in evaluating our peers, supervisors, and employees.
This article discusses the results of Benjamin Schmidt’s online tool to expose gender bias in reviews of academics. Schmidt’s tool revealed that reviews of male professors are more likely to include the words positive words. Meanwhile, women are more likely to be described in negative terms. These and other disturbing patterns are relevant considerations in evaluating female staff in environmental and outdoor organizations, particularly female faculty.
This article describes a successful case study of conservation efforts in Gabon. To do right by the thousands of tribal people living inside the boundaries of Gabon’s planned national parks, the country collaborated with them and enlisted their direct participation in the stewardship and management of the new parks. They would then not be passive “stakeholders” relocated to the margins of the park (as has been the case in the U.S.) or specimens in a “living history museum” (as was the case in U.S.), but but equal players in the complex and challenging process of defending biological diversity.
These “best practices” were developed by the Consortium of Higher Education’s Trans* Policy Working Group, in consultation with various relevant national student affairs associations, to assist colleges and universities in providing services and support to trans* students. Though they are aimed at institutions of higher education, the records and housing policies are a particularly useful guideline for experiential education institutions.
William Cronon gives a brief overview of the idea of the wilderness and then discusses some of the inherent contradictions that lie within the concept. He notes that the concept of the wilderness is imbued with cultural values, which have resulted in the exclusion of indigenous peoples’ voices in environmentalism.
21 NovDramatizing the “death” of environmentalism doesn’t help urban people of color, or anyone else
A summary of research on the racialization of wilderness and how it impacts perceptions of nature among communities of color, and specifically the black community. Outdoor and environmental organizations seeking to be more “culturally relevant” often do not think that the very premises of their existence–wilderness and conservation–are words steeped in White privilege and a racialized history.
In 2014 MTV (yes, MTV) polled millennials on their understanding of racism, and the results were astounding. Compared with previous generations, they’re more tolerant and diverse and profess a deeper commitment to equality and fairness. At the same time, however, they’re committed to an ideal of colorblindness that leaves them uncomfortable with race, opposed to measures to reduce racial inequality, and a bit confused about what racism is.
This report outlines the basic principles of multicultural education, i.e., setting students up for success and achievement regardless of their identity and background.