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Race & Environmental Justice

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

We recognize that our mission towards outdoor equity is far from being realized when Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) are not concerned about merely accessing a public park or recreating in the outdoors, but rather if the environment is safe at all. When a member of the Black community cannot peacefully birdwatch in a public park, jog around their neighborhood, or feel comfortable in a national park we are reminded that we have a lot of work to do with partner agencies staffing parks to ensure the safety and humanity of BIPOC is protected when outdoors. We are reminded of the importance in partnering with the communities we serve in the fight for outdoor equity.

Reconocemos que nuestra misión hacia la justicia social para el aire libre está lejos de realizarse cuando las Personas Negras, Indígenas y Personas de Color no están preocupados por el simple acceso a un parque público o la recreación al aire libre sino más bien si el medio ambiente es seguro. Cuando un miembro de la comunidad negra no puede observar pacíficamente aves en un parque público, correr alrededor de su vecindario, o sentirse cómodo en un parque nacional, se nos recuerda que tenemos mucho trabajo que hacer en asociación con las comunidades a las que servimos para garantizar que su seguridad y la humanidad esté protegida cuando está al aire libre.

It is important to stay informed about how BIPOC communities are disproportionately impacted by environmental degradation and be able to connect the dots between race and the environment. It has become increasingly essential for outdoor and environmental organizations to understand the intersection of race and the environment and to highlight BIPOC issues and their representation outdoors. As a response to the long standing racial tensions in the United States, it is our responsibility to be more intentional; to celebrate, uplift, and amplify BIPOC experiences, history, knowledge, and presence in our natural environment. 

Es importante estar informado sobre cómo las comunidades Negra, Indígena y Personas de Color son desproporcionadamente impactadas por la degradación ambiental y ser capaces de conectar los puntos entre la raza y el medio ambiente. Se ha vuelto cada vez más esencial para las organizaciones al aire libre y ambientales entender la intersección de la raza y el medio ambiente y destacar los problemas las Personas Negras, Indígenas y Personas de Color y su representación al aire libre. Como respuesta a las tensiones raciales de larga data en los Estados Unidos, es nuestra responsabilidad ser más intencionales; celebrar, elevar y ampliar las experiencias, la historia, el conocimiento y la presencia comunidades Negra, Indígena y Personas de Color en nuestro ambiente natural.

““We should recognize that systemic racism exists on both the streets of our cities and inside our national parks. We have to see full representation at every level in the environmental sector, and we need power structures to shift so that black and brown people are shaping policies and our national conversations. We need predominantly white environmental organizations and academic institutions to be more concerned with how the climate crisis disproportionately impacts black and brown people and give more resources to these communities.”” -Carolyn Finney (Read further: The Perils of Being Black in Public: We are All Christian Cooper and George Floyd)

“Debemos reconocer que el racismo sistémico existe tanto en las calles de nuestras ciudades como dentro de nuestros parques nacionales. Tenemos que ver una representación completa en todos los niveles en el sector ambiental, y necesitamos que las estructuras de poder cambien para que las personas negras y morenos estén dando forma a las políticas y nuestras conversaciones nacionales.””

Leah Thomas (@greengirlleah), Diandra Esparza (@diandramarizet) and Sabs Katz (@sustainablesabs) have created a platform for Intersectional Environmentalism. This page highlights history and provides useful information and tools to understand how different communities have been impacted by environmental racism:

Leah Thomas (@greengirlleah), Diandra Esparza (@diandramarizet) and Sabs Katz (@sustainablesabs) han creado una plataforma para

Intersectional Environmentalism. Esta página destaca la historia y proporciona información para entender cómo diferentes comunidades se han visto afectadas por el racismo ambiental: 




“We can start by accepting that there is an insidious catalogue of systemic barriers that categorically excludes black people and most urban people of color and hinders access to outdoor recreation. This system/cycle creates an “inbred” outdoor pedigree - a family history, identity and network of friends and access points to the outdoors - that funnels white folks into outdoor recreation and ultimately into 85 percent of the environmental/ conservation jobs - coveted jobs that are desperately needed and virtually unknown in many urban communities of color. This cycle must be broken and not by the impotent and feckless approach of inviting “others'' to the table. The entire table needs to be demolished and rebuilt via a collaborative effort by those who have historically been absent and those who have traditionally sat at the table. What else can we do to break the cycle?” -Charles Thomas (Read further “Our Past is check out our Our Present and Our “Statements” Will Make it Our Future”)

For more information about organizations actively working to diversify the outdoors as well as more books to read, check out our Outdoor Equity blog below:

Para obtener más información sobre las organizaciones que trabajan activamente para diversificar el aire libre, así como más libros para leer, echa un vistazo a nuestro blog de inclusividad al aire libre abajo: 



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