The Environment Sector and Race

Michael Shamash - Disability Information Training Opportunities Tower Hamlets (DITO) Chris Church - Director CEA Julian Agyeman - Tufts University

Michael Shamash – DITO, Tower Hamlets | Chris Church – Director CEA |
Julian Agyeman – Tufts University

GUEST POST from Capacity Global

Could the environmental sector do a better job of engaging with ethnic and other minorities and helping them solve their problems? Yes it could, by a long way. According to a new report by Capacity Global – a London-based NGO dedicated to environmental justice – the sector could do a lot, lot better. Some have even suggested that it is institutionally racist. That is a controversial claim, but consider this: 21 years ago, the sector made a pledge to do more for ethnic communities, disabled people and other minorities. It has failed. That’s the headline finding of Capacity Global’s report and manifesto “Hard to Reach? Diversity and the Environment” (PDF 419 KB).

Some of the other highlights of the report are:

  1.  We need to abandon the myth that excluded groups just don’t care about the environment.
  2. Vulnerable communities tend to trust community leaders rather than authority figures, so environment groups need to involve community leaders
  3. Diversity is broader than race: it includes poverty and other excluded groups
  4. The environmental sector should more accurately reflect the society we live in.

 But there is hope, what emerged from the meeeting was:

  1. We need to engage more Black, Asian, minority and ethnic role models in the environment sector
  2. There was an over agreement that inter-cultual was a good approach
  3. Although alot of good work has been done, we need to scale up and get more support for diversity from NGO’s, funders and goverments
  4. There seems to be a desire to all work together and we will be exploring how to do this

Here at Capacity Global, we work with research partners to look at diversity issues in the environmental sector. We also specialise in helping organisations and institutions explore opportunities that will improve their ability to engage and provide employment opportunities for young people, low income and working class households, black, Asian, minority and ethnic communities.

If you would like to know more, come along to an event on 6th October. The event is called Hard to Reach? Engaging diverse and excluded communities in work on climate change and the environment.

Location: NCVO, 8 All Saints Street, London, London N1 9RL
Time: 9:30-17:00
More information and to book: http://hard2reach-rss.eventbrite.com

[Editor's note: The production of this diversity reported was supported by the Defra-funded Every Action Counts programme].

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