I need to get one thing out the way about “The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations” report launched yesterday. In my blog, I wrote that the report was compiled by a working group called Green 2.0. Actually, all of the research and writing of the 200-plus page report was done by Dorceta Taylor, professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. She is also the first African-American woman to earn a PhD from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Before the diversity report (which was commissioned by Green 2.0), Taylor authored dozens of articles and studies on how to solve the problem of homogeneity among environmental groups, and about environmental inequities across the board. Taylor’s new book, Toxic Communities: Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution and Residential Mobility, has barely been out two months and has already been called the “standard-bearer” for the field of environmental justice by Fordham Law Professor Sheila R. Foster.
While it took months for Taylor to pull together all of the data and conduct hundreds of interviews with environmental stakeholders to produce the “State of Diversity” report, it took just minutes for people to attack the report’s findings -- that green groups and government agencies can and need to do much better in hiring people of color. (To get a sense of the reaction, check out the comments on my first post about the report.)
I’ll have plenty to say on that over the next week or so, but the first word belongs to the researcher. I spoke with Taylor by phone to clear the air on a few misperceptions about not only her study, but also misinformation on the attitudes of people of color in general when it comes to the environment.