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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This article defines decolonization and offers suggestions on how those in the design industry can engage in decolonization practices through their work. The author also provides a list of resources for further reading on the subject. For more read here.
This articles discusses the history of racism and exclusion in American National Parks, in particular at Shenandoah National Park, which had segregated facilities under Jim Crow Laws. The author provides examples of how the National Parks Service is beginning to reckon with this long history of exclusion in their efforts to make National Parks for inclusive. For more read here.
This article explores data on code-switching from the Pew Research Center, breaking it down by race and education level. For more read here.
This article shows how social science education often reinforces settler-colonial narratives and provides tools for how educators can work to “unsettle” this narrative in their teaching by challenging the way Indigenous history is taught and reckoning with their own personal connections to settler-colonialism. For more read here.
This resource from Equity Matters provides a framework for how to create a equitable community norms in a meeting space. They argue that standard “safe space” norms for meeting spaces end up maintaining existing norms making white participants too comfortable, rather than challenging them to create an equitable environment. For more read here.
This article explores how scientists are increasingly learning from Traditional Ecological Knowledge to understand how climate change is effecting the natural world. They provide examples of collaborations between scientists and indigenous communities and show how ecological research could benefit from using a more holistic lens. For more read here.
This article offers a strong critique of the “business case” for diversity and inclusion, where increased profit is the main motivator for diversity efforts. The author details how companies are lauded for cosmetic changes, such as more diverse marketing strategies, while they fail to focus on more substantive, long-term changes to company practices, leadership and culture. They also address how DEI work primarily focused on profit fails to address the needs of the marginalized communities they seek to profit from. For more read here.
This article details how the American Museum of Natural History modified a problematic diorama that depicted a fictional meeting between Dutch settlers and the Lenape people. The diorama contained a number of historical inaccuracies that perpetuated stereotypes about indigenous people and reinforced cultural hierarchies. Rather than cover or change the diorama, the museum chose to put up signs that addressed those inaccuracies. For more read here.
This article makes the case for why class diversity should be a point of emphasis within efforts to make workplaces more diverse. The authors provide examples of how people from working class backgrounds face barriers in entering white-collar workplaces due to referral-based hiring practices, prioritizing “culture fit” in hiring and different relationships to work and family. For more read here.
This article discusses the lack of diverse representation on the boards of nonprofits and how nonprofits do work “for” marginalized communities rather than “with” them. They suggest that those in leadership in nonprofits are not willing to genuinely engage in equity work because it would mean radically changing their structures. For more read here.
We often talk about gender being complex, but rarely discuss how biological sex is equally complex. In this short article and great infographic, you can learn about the complexities of how biological sex gets determined. Access the article and infographic here.
This article describes how implicit bias functions within the unconscious brain, while also providing an important critique of implicit bias training that does not address systemic inequity. They draw on examples in the American education system to show how implicit bias and structural racism are interconnected and, therefore, how both must be addressed in order to create effective change. For more read here.
27 AprTransforming a Movement: How foundations can support effective Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion capacity building efforts in environmental organizations
This report, compiled by the consulting group J.E.D.I. Heart, explores how funders and organizations can contribute to and more effectively engage in DEI efforts within the environmental movement. The report draws on research conducted with funders, DEI point people and staff of color at environmental organizations to analyze the limitations of ongoing DEI work and provide concrete suggestions for how to improve. Their findings suggest that environmental organizations view the act of beginning DEI efforts as a success in itself, rather than critically exploring the effectiveness of the work. For more read here.
This article discusses the difficulty that many people with larger body sizes face in finding outdoor apparel and gear in their size. The article discusses voices who are leading efforts to create and market more inclusive outdoor gear and provides a list of the most inclusive outdoor clothing brands. For more read here.
This is a comic that illustrates the differences between growing up in a higher-income family and a lower-income family. It depicts well how socio-economic background can shape life opportunities and exposes the flaws in arguments about pulling oneself up by their bootstraps. For more read here.
This article is directed at people who identify as men and explores the impact that toxic masculinity can have on their relationships with people who identify as women. The author discusses reasons for toxic male relational approaches with women and offers a number of practices that can help “relinquish the patriarchy”. For more read here.
This is a terrific list of resources put together as tools for people who identify as men to learn how to “relinquish the patriarchy”. The list includes podcasts, articles, organizations, retreats and curriculum oriented around supporting people who identify as men to unlearn the internalized patriarchy. This resource list stemmed out of an article written by Adrienne Maree Brown on the subject. For more read here.
This articles discusses how decolonization efforts in the West fall short by engaging in decolonization in philosophical terms instead of through economic means. In the authors word’s, “Symbolic decolonization is useful, but it is also useless without material decolonization”. The author explores the harm of “symbolic decolonization” and also provides examples of efforts that are both symbolic and material. For more read here.
This article shows how the differences between history textbooks produced for California and Texas present radically different narratives of American history. They present side by side examples from the textbooks to visually show the different history being taught in each state. They discuss the examples in thought provoking analysis that exposes how political ideology shapes historical narratives. For more read here.
This article explores the history of the concept of intersectionality and its rise to prominence over the last 30 years. The article includes an interview with the term’s founder, Kimberlé Crenshaw. The author describes resistance to the word by the American political right, who fear a creation of a new racial hierarchy, and explains how Crenshaw is seeking to dismantle racial hierarchies through acknowledging intersection identities. For more read here.
This documentary describes the history of the displacement and attempted erasure of the Ohlone people. It also describes an Elder’s effort to reestablish connection with Ohlone religious practices. For more watch here.
This article discusses how while diversity, equity and inclusion are becoming parts of the mission statements of companies across America, many companies are failing or unwilling to address deeper issues of racist culture. Through a series of examples, the author exposes how people of color are often hired by companies to “solve their racism problem”, but are prevented from doing substantive work. For more read here.
This article provides an introduction to a curriculum on public land in the United States created by The Wilderness Society and The Avarna Group. The curriculum teaches a holistic view of the history of public lands, which includes the displacement of Indigenous people and exclusionary conservation practices. For more read here.
This article from an advice column provides suggestions on how to be an ally when you are in a space where a microaggression occurs. The authors describes the cumulative impact of microaggressions for their own mental health and provides a framework to engage in “microresistance” to microaggressions. For more read here.
This article discusses how the development of parks in low-income neighborhoods can accelerate or begin the process of gentrification and contribute the displacement of low-income residents. The authors discuss the results of a study on “parks-related anti-displacement strategies” and provide examples of how those engaged in park development are trying to prevent displacement of vulnerable groups. For more read here.
This is a reading list put together by Verso Books. In their words, this is a list of “books that challenge the notion of empire and offer a history of anti-colonial, anti-racist struggle.” To explore these book suggestions, read more here.
This is a tool put together by Race Forward, a racial justice advocacy organization, for the field of Workplace Development. It offers a toolkit to assess organizational approaches to racial equity on a number of levels and resources for how to improve racial equity within the organization. For more read here
17 AprLand-grab universities: Expropriated Indigenous land is the foundation of the land-grant university system
This article provides an in-depth look at how the redistribution of stolen Indigenous land through the Morrill Act of 1862 was used by American universities to fund their endowments. The article includes an interactive database that shows all of the plots of land that each university benefitted from, their tribal affiliation, how much tribes were paid for the land, and how much universities received through the land’s sale. They also explore ideas for how universities can begin to make amends for profiting of of stolen land that move beyond land acknowledgments. For more read here.
This article discusses how traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) has been historically devalued in favor of Western science. It explores examples of partnerships between indigenous peoples across the world and Western scientists as case studies of how to braid TEK into ecological decisionmaking. For more read here.
08 AprSolutions Privilege: How privilege shapes the expectations of solutions, and why it’s bad for our work addressing systemic injustice
This article examines the phenomenon of “solutions privilege,” which Le defines as “the privilege of expecting easy and instant solutions that would align with one’s worldview and not challenge one’s privilege.” For more read here.
08 AprLet’s Get Real About Why Women of Color Are So Tired: Playing by the rules in capitalist America comes at the cost of our mental, physical, and emotional health
This honest article by a woman of color examines why women of color experience actual trauma and suffering working in majority-white nonprofits. Specifically, the article addresses the scarcity mentality and a culture of celebrity and competition that underpin the culture of most nonprofits, including in the environmental and conservation sector. For more read here.
08 AprWHITE MALE WORKERS RESPOND POORLY TO WOMEN AND RACIAL MINORITIES IN POWER AND TAKE IT OUT ON COLLEAGUES: REPORT
This article begins “How do white male executives handle it when a woman or person of color become CEOs of their company? Not well, a new study from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business suggests.” We like this article because though many conservation, outdoor, and environmental organizations may be succeeding in recruiting, hiring, and promoting women and BIPOC, these employees will still struggle without concerted efforts to address unconscious bias on the part of their peers. Read more here.
From a book review: “Julia Watson’s lush and meticulous new book, Lo—TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism, provides a blueprint for sustainable architecture in the 21st century. For designers of the built environment, it is a first-ever compendium of overlooked design technologies from indigenous groups around the world. For the intrepid traveler or curious citizen, it is an invitation to know millennia-old societies thriving in symbiosis with nature thanks to local ingenuity, creativity, spirituality, and resourcefulness. For the indigenous groups represented, it is a source of satisfaction from seeing contemporary design scholarship catch up with their time-tested practices.” Read the book review here.
Mapbox created this photo set to promote the visibility of queer and gender-nonconforming (GNC) people in technology, who are often under-represented as workers powering the creative, technical, and business leadership of groundbreaking tech companies and products. Click here to access the article and here to access the database.
The article takes up one of the arguments of de-colonial environmentalism: that the climate crisis is linked to the history of slavery and colonialism by the Western powers. It’s a great way to connect the dots between colonialism and white supremacy, no the one hand, and the history and current efforts of environmental and conservation groups, on the other hand. Read it here.
This article provides a great explanation of the toll imposed on black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) who bear the burden of engaging in the emotional labor of educating their white counterparts about racism and its impacts on them. It’s a great piece for BIPOC and white folks alike. Read it here.
Runner and advocate Faith E. Briggs used to run through the streets of Brooklyn every morning. Now, she’s running 150 miles through three U.S. National Monuments that lay in the thick of the controversy around public lands. Accompanied by running companions who represent diverse perspectives in what it means to be a public land owner, she assesses what is at stake if previously protected lands are reduced and if the public is largely unaware. THIS LAND is a story about land access told through a journey of inclusion and empowerment. Watch here.
This provocative piece is designed to challenge notions that allyship and accompliceship can be commodified as teachable topics by what the authors call the “ally industrial complex.” For more read here.
This is a brief guide for Resource Generation members and other folks with access to land to support in education and resource sharing around land reparations. This is a great guide for conservation organizations, agencies, and land trusts interested in learning about land repatriation. For more click here.
In this two-part essay, the author examines why racism and anti-racism efforts are different from colonialism and decolonial efforts through the lens of settler privilege. This piece helps build awareness for people of all races and ethnicities who are not indigenous around how they have benefited from settler colonialism and how they may unwittingly contribute to continued colonialism. Here are links to part 1 and part 2 of the essay.
08 AprRelearning The Star Stories Of Indigenous Peoples: How the lost constellations of indigenous North Americans can connect culture, science, and inspire the next generation of scientists.
This Science Friday article and radio show episode talks about about the historical role of science in indigenous communities and considering a broader definition of science. In the piece, journalist Christie Taylor interviews Wilfred Buck, Cree elder and storyteller who teaches about indigenous astronomy. For more read and listen here.
This post for educators lays out some fundamentals to decolonizing your syllabus. For more read here.
08 AprWhy don’t anti-Indian groups count as hate groups? The current understanding of ‘hate groups’ excludes those who undermine tribal rights and sovereignty.
This High Country news article discusses the impacts of colonialism and solo’d anti-racism efforts that have resulted in indigenous groups not being counted as protected classes under hate crimes laws. For more read here.
This radio piece on National Public Radio describes how the messaging surrounding the 2000 census triggered white fragility in people who grew to fear the impending “brown planet” that is to come in 2042. It’s an interesting piece on the Census, race categories, public messaging, and white fragility. For more click here.
Black illustrations is a series of FREE digital designs of black people for your next online project. Use our designs anywhere. From your websites, web applications to mobile apps, we’ve built these designs to be used anywhere and everywhere. Click here for more.
08 AprWhy am I always being researched? A guidebook for community organizations, researchers, and funders to help us get from insufficient understanding to more authentic truth
Chicago Beyond created this guidebook to help shift the power dynamic and the way community organizations, researchers, and funders uncover knowledge together. It is an equity-based approach to research that offers one way in which we can restore communities as authors and owners. It is based on the steps and missteps of Chicago Beyond’s own experience funding community organizations and research, and the courageous and patient efforts of our partners, the youth they serve, and others with whom we have learned. Visit the web page here.
This video an example of how art (here, music and dance) can be used for social movements
With respect to the art shown here, it’s an example of how traditional art forms like karnatic music and bharathanatyam, which traditionally are performed in unique venues with exclusive access, can be democratized.
It illustrates how words that are used in a derogatory way (Poramboke in this case) can be reclaimed by a community.
It’s an example of how change can happen from a grassroots level with messaging about how It’s all of our responsibility, versus large organizations coming down to “save” communities
It addresses how we tend to value certain types of landscapes over others
It directly illustrates how poor communities are at the front lines of environmental degradation.
From the creators: “Poromboke is an old Tamil word meaning shared-use community resources like water bodies, seashore and grazing lands that are not assessed for tax purposes. Today, it has become a bad word used to describe worthless people or places. Chennai Poromboke Paadal is part of a campaign to reclaim the word and restore its worth.”
Deepa Iyer demonstrates the ecosystem of social change, i.e. how we all show up in different yet essential ways to make positive social change and provides guiding questions for us as individuals and organizations to identify our role in this collective work. See her Medium post here.
Here is a PDF of an equity v. equality v. justice image series for you to use. Check out our blog for more information on why we created yet another image series.
This chart, created by Tobin Miller Shearer, provides a context for how to respond to questions often asked by white liberal communities regarding system-wide white supremacy: http://tobinmillershearer.blogspot.com/2017/11/charting-responses-to-white-supremacy.html
Vu Le, of Nonprofit AF, addresses the reality of anti-Blackness in non-Black communities of color and why dismantling it is necessary for true racial justice: https://nonprofitaf.com/2019/03/%EF%BB%BFpeople-of-color-we-need-to-address-our-own-anti-blackness-and-how-we-may-be-perpetuating-injustice/?fbclid=IwAR0UUawsE07SXcIBR3x8CdP9ebde111UE38grLxffYyuMaEKaaLJi1KqAMY
This blog series by Justice Funders examines problematic aspects of philanthropy and discusses practices to better serve movements we support: http://justicefunders.org/category/breaking-bad-philanthropic-habits/
Territorial acknowledgments have become fairly common in urban, progressive spaces in Canada. This article is about fully recognizing Indigenous homelands and is from the blog âpihtawikosisân.com – Law, language, life: A Plains Cree speaking Metis woman in Montreal.
From the Invisibilia podcast, on June 15, 2017: “Scientific research has shown that even well meaning people operate with implicit bias – stereotypes and attitudes we are not fully aware of that nonetheless shape our behavior towards people of color. We examine the Implicit Association Test, a widely available psychological test that popularized the notion of implicit bias. And we talk to people who are tackling the question, critical to so much of our behavior: what does it take to change these deeply embedded concepts? Can it even be done?”
This Hidden Brian podcast, from June 5, 2017, explores research on the impact of implicit bias and racism.
In this report, Jorge Madrid of the Center for American Progress refutes false claims about the detrimental role of immigrants on the environment.
This is a brief paper by independent scholar Cole Perry which examines how summer camp workers discuss racism and racial justice.
The paper can be viewed here: http://www.academia.edu/31306865/Race-Evasiveness_Among_Camp_Workers
This book documents the history of Japanese Americans’ relationship with the environment before, during, and after incarceration in the internment camps.
“Elise Lemire brings to life the former slaves of Walden Woods and the men and women who held them in bondage during the eighteenth century…Today Walden Woods is preserved as a place for visitors to commune with nature. Lemire, who grew up two miles from Walden Pond, reminds us that this was a black space before it was an internationally known green space. Black Walden preserves the legacy of the people who strove against all odds to overcome slavery and segregation.”
The book can be purchased here.
This article describes the Native occupation of Alcatraz in 1969, a place that was once a military base and now managed by the National Park System.
This article articulates why single identity spaces, specifically for people of color, are not only useful, but sorely needed.
In this podcast, Rachel Cargle and Robin DiAngelo discuss the impact of and social impetus behind white fragility.
From the website: “Created in partnership with Native allies and organizations, the Guide offers context about the practice of acknowledgment, gives step-by-step instructions for how to begin wherever you are, and provides tips for moving beyond acknowledgment into action.” Visit the US Department of Arts and Culture’s website to download the guide and take steps towards equitable reconciliation.
From the website: “Bias interrupters are tweaks to basic business systems (hiring, performance evaluations, assignments, promotions, and compensation) that interrupt implicit bias in the workplace, often without ever talking about bias. We offer menus of bias interrupters that organizations can implement into their business systems, as well as steps that individuals can take to help level the playing field in their workplace.” Check out the toolkits here.
An article in the journal, Conservation Letters, outlines the issues and possible solutions to diversifying the conservation movement.
This video collection by the Center for Humans and Nature captures moving and thoughtful reflections from the biennial Geography of Hope gathering in Point Reyes Station, California. Meeting themes range from “Ancestors and The Land: Our Past, Present and Future” to “Mapping a New Geography of Hope: Women and the Land.” This series is a collaboration with Black Mountain Circle, US Forest Service, and Point Reyes Books. Watch the videos here.
Wildness, an anthology of essays edited by Gavin Van Horn and John Hausdoerffer, explores the different relationships between people and the concept of “wildness.” We like this book because it has stories by people with marginalized identities about their community’s relationships with wildness. These types of stories often aren’t told in the dominant narrative. We also like this book because it distinguishes “wildness” from “wilderness,” which is a political construct. If you’re looking for stories of how people connect to land beyond hiking, biking, and climbing, this is the book for you. Buy the book here.
This book by Sue Fawn Chung explores the relationships between East Asians in the U.S. and their environment from the perspective of Chinese who lumbered and logged the West. Often dominant environmental history doesn’t address the presence or participation of people of color, and it is especially hard to find resources about East Asians. We’d recommend this books for conservation organizations interested in understanding the myriad ways in which Americans of different races connect with nature. Buy the book here.
“One hundred years ago, a crisis in urban masculinity created the lumberjack aesthetic. Now it’s making a comeback.” In this Atlantic essay, Willa Brown addresses class as it relates to the “lumbersexual” aesthetic that is prevalent in the outdoor industry. This is a great think piece that prompts questions such as: (1) was outdoor recreation always aimed at the middle and upper classes?; (2) does the industry’s “lumberjack” aesthetic constitute cultural appropriation of a particular class of people? Complicated, but a great read if you’re interested in how class has played into the aesthetics of outdoor recreation. Read the article here.
This toolkit, developed by Learning for Action, is useful for any environmental, outdoor, or place-based education organization seeking to evaluate its programs and build tools to measure impact. Though the toolkit doesn’t have a DEI lens, coupled with DEI practices such as our 3R framework for building culturally relevant, responsible, and responsive curriculum, this toolkit can really support showing positive impacts of DEI work in program/curriculum design.
This book, written and published by the Navajo people, provides history and context on the people and lands of the Diné Bikéyah. This is useful for any organization interested in more meaningfully engaging indigenous peoples of the 4 Corners (e.g., in connection with the Bears Ears National Monument).
This paper, coauthored by Avarna Group facilitator and founder of Latino Outdoors José Gonzålez, works to complicate the stereotypes organizations have in working with the Latinx community and provides useful guidelines for doing equitable community engagement work. This will be useful for any organization engaging in stakeholder and community engagement, generally, and in particular for organizations working to better engage the “Latinx” or “Hispanic” communities.
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 March 2018)
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.