Photo: iStockphoto

When it comes to race, the actual color of the green movement is decidedly white. According to a survey conducted from 2004 to 2006, more than one-third of U.S. mainstream green groups and one-fifth of eco-related government agencies have no nonwhite staff members. Minorities tend to join up with grassroots environmental-justice groups, leaving mainstream groups open to the consistent criticism that they are elitist. And while environmentalism was undeniably elitist in its beginnings — in the early 1900s, the movement was led by whites trying to protect wild land and animals from the masses — at this point, surveys indicate that nonwhites care just as much about eco-issues as whites do, from climate change to deforestation to pesticide use to air pollution. Success in the ongoing effort to bring everyone together will get results, says activist Charles Jordan: “Once society sees this is really going to be color-coordinated, I think we’re going to perform miracles.”

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