The traditional environmental movement has a diversity problem.
That’s according to Van Jones, founder of Green for All and environmental and civil rights advocate. But Jones says it’s not just that the staffs of many large, mainstream environmental organizations have been historically mostly white -- it’s that most of the smaller environmental justice groups are getting a fraction of the funding that the big groups receive.
Jones says for the environmental movement as a whole to succeed, that needs to change. Environmental justice groups are the ones serving populations that are often most vulnerable to climate change and affected most by pollution -- Americans who are low-income, live in cities, and are often people of color.
“The mainstream donors and environmental organizations could be strengthened just by recognizing the other ‘environmentalisms’ that are already existing and flourishing outside their purview,” Jones said.