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Talking about the common good

Sierra Club: The Big Problem With Environmentalism Is ‘Unsustainable Whiteness’

Claims that environmentalism is racist and needs to embrace social justice by appointing “people of color” as leaders have become increasingly common in the modern green movement.

“Simply put, NGOs [non-government organization] and foundations in the green space are still overwhelmingly white at all levels, especially top leadership — and that’s limiting their effectiveness, especially in addressing issues that affect frontline communities,” Swaminathan wrote. “Still, nearly three-quarters of staffers are white. And the numbers indicate less inclusiveness as you move to higher rungs in those outfits: Only 15 percent of the leaders are people of color.”

“White privilege and racism within the broader environmental movement is existent and pervasive,” Aaron Mair, the Sierra Club’s first black president, told Grist. “The current is not maintainable — we’re becoming a brown nation. It’s not about a one-off. It’s about sustainability.”

“That’s where the internalized racism and oppression is, and if I can help shift that Mount Everest and change its direction,” Mair said. “It becomes harder for other environmental organizations to maintain their way.”
     — Andrew Follet

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