For Green Groups, Police-Shooting Protests Are a Path to Diversity

Jason Plautz, National Journal, December 15, 2014

Green groups know they have a diversity problem. Less than a fifth of the staff at the major environmental lobbies are minorities, a figure that critics and insiders admit can skew their priorities. With minority communities facing more-immediate and stronger impacts from pollution and climate change, insiders and critics say it’s more important than ever to shake up the voices within the movement.

“We’re doing work that we need to do to make the environmental movement more reflective of our country writ large, and that has many aspects,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “Part of it is making sure our leadership reflects the population, part of it is making sure our campaigns reflect demands, and part of it is speaking out on issues where there’s an overlap in the mission of our organizations and the interests of the community.”

The first steps are emerging in the form of simple solidarity. As hundreds of thousands march across the nation, hold die-ins, and speak out for social justice after the grand jury decisions in the deaths of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York, green groups are stepping outside their traditional bounds to weigh in.

The Sierra Club’s Facebook page–amid pictures of national parks and entreaties to stop the Keystone XL pipeline–featured a pair of statements, the latter a picture and note expressing “solidarity with the organizations who are protesting and demanding justice in the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and every other victim of injustice.” Friends of the Earth blacked out its Twitter profile picture and replaced its background with a picture featuring the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. Incoming Natural Resources Defense Council President Rhea Suh wrote in her first blog post for NRDC that the group could not abide “another injustice afflicting communities of color.”

It would seem that social justice and unrest is beyond the normal bounds for environmental groups, but Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica said he felt the group couldn’t stay silent any more. After the Ferguson decision, FOE U.S. Chairman Arlie Schardt said in a statement that it exposed “the same types of social, economic and racial injustices” that the group’s international arms deal with abroad.

“When we see what happened in Ferguson and with the Garner case . . . we see there’s something fundamentally wrong with our society,” Pica said. “We as an environmental organization feel the need that we should at least help call it out, to demonstrate solidarity and do some deeper thinking about how we do our campaigns and our advocacy.”

Officials from the environmental movement said the early statements are part of a bigger shift to engage more across society. In an essay posted on her group’s website, Strategic Partnership Coordinator Deirdre Smith wrote in August that climate groups needed to engage on racial justice to better understand how all communities are affected by climate change.

“Part of that work involves climate organizers acknowledging and understanding that our fight is not simply with the carbon in the sky, but with the powers on the ground,” she wrote. “We need to account for these things if we truly want to build the diverse movement leadership that we will need to win.”


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  • dd121

    That isn’t what the grand jury said.

  • james AZ

    Three stooges. One black , second Hispanic and third white……

  • On the other side of this coin, it’s finally dawning on the blacks who are protesting and organizing this street theater that the white or “white” leftists are trying to move in on their cause for their own self interest or selfishness.

  • connorhus

    Ahhh yes the White Enviro-freaks. Staunch allies of the Feminist and Multi-Cult everywhere. Now why does in environmental group even want to weigh in on this type of thing? Easy they have a mutual defense and money laundering pact agreement to uphold.

  • authorizedversion .

    Most folks with dark skin don’t give a damn about the wilderness.

    • See The Future

      I count my blessings each time I am out in nature that I do not see any blacks.

      • John Smith

        Getting to be one of the few places to avoid them, unless there’s a fishing lake nearby.

    • Kenner

      ‘Wilderness’ is wherever they are.

    • gah

      Blacks in particular are afraid of the outdoors, they’re afraid of snakes, lizards, turtles, squirrels, any creature found in the woods. They are also afraid of the dark. I learned all that when I was in the Army, they’re the biggest bunch of cowards I’ve ever seen.

      • authorizedversion .

        A friend of mine, who was an Army Ranger and had previous to his enlistment little to no personal experience around blacks, related similar observations to me.

  • Dwight

    The Sierra Club have alot of black donors and activists, do they? The national parks filled with black nature lovers?

    • Reynardine

      Jane Goodall and Diane Fossie really popularized those “save the ape and chimp” movements. We’re just reaping the benefits now!

    • Alec Ryan

      Hardly a black face to be seen. People go to national parks to get away from urban “culture”. The last thing I want to hear on the trails is blaring hip-hop, ghetto-style foul mouths; and I don’t want to see them, either.

  • Weisheit77

    So they are no longer concerned with the plight of the silverback and instead seek to preserve the pavement ape…

  • The environmental card against immigration isn’t played because it doesn’t serve any monied interest. Just the opposite: Big money in the environmentalist movement sees to it that this card is never played, to wit, David Gelbaum.

  • Mary

    In the leftists’ hierarchy of concerns, “social justice” and “diversity” trump everything else imaginable. Caring about nature and various environmental issues ranks far below these sacrosanct ideals.

    • John Smith

      Environmentalism is all politics, not an actual conviction, for most of those who claim the label.

  • See The Future

    Green groups are nothing but a cult for people that are “lost” and do not want to work for a living. The cult leaders live in the lap of luxury as usual.

  • See The Future

    There will never be peace so long as there are black savages in this country.

  • Tarczan

    This exposes the so-called “green” groups for what they are: Communist front groups. In the 1980’s the Communist party in West Germany disbanded, saying they were merging with the green party, and that the move gave them a better platform for success.

    Watermelons, green on the outside, red inside. They care not about the environment, only about the destruction of free enterprise.

    • John Smith

      The Greens were also big on legalizing pedophilia in Germany, which fits into the leftist ideology of destroying the moral foundations of society to rebuild them to their own warped ideals.

  • RacialRay

    Seriously, Sierra Club? You’re worried about promoting diversity in your membership? You really want BLACKS invading your precious, hallowed greenspaces?

    If they can’t eat it, f**k it, or steal it to resell it, blacks will just take a crap on it and move on. You’re wasting your time.

  • Many of these groups, like the Sierra Club, have been in the tank with the Multicultural Marxists for many years. Why? Follow the money. Hint: It ain’t the Mormons.

    • John Smith

      True that. I actually have some peripheral familiarity with a former president of that organization through family friends and he’s a member of the expected religious/ethnic group, born to wealth and privilege and a far-leftist SF resident who’s not above cashing in off environmentalism in the same way Jesse and Al cash in on “racism” from corporate America. I could say more, but I might put forth enough info to be pinned down to true identity.

      • Interesting. I remember when it came out that this organization was given, I guess it was, about 200 thousand, at least as a first donation/payment, if they explicitly promised to never connect the environment with mass immigration. I don’t think the deal was ever disputed and, of course for obvious reasons, the MSM remains uninterested.

  • WR_the_realist

    The Sierra Club has long since morphed into a generic left wing advocacy group, with little real concern for the environment.

  • Yves Vannes

    Never let a crisis go to waste!

  • John Smith

    I’m not sure what diversity has to do with the environment, but more people and more uneducated people from the third world and housing projects doesn’t equal increased respect for the environment.

  • Jesse_from_Sweden

    Garner died from a cardiac arrest.

    Him not being able to breathe was because he had asthma.
    He was a 350+ lbs man with a history of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and sleep apnea, on top of his asthma.

    The arrest no doubt triggered the heart attack, but his death was not because of choking or rough handling but because of his poor health.

  • Harvey42

    It should come as no surprise since David Gelbaum bought himself a controlling interest in the Sierra Club. It is not about just flora and fauna anymore.

  • curri

    The supervising Sgt. right at the scene was a black female. Yet she was given immunity to testify against her white subordinate before the grand jury! I guess it’s an old-fashioned white patriarchal concept that responsibility comes with command. I guess she was nominally in command but actually was standing around with her thumb up her a**.

    • Jesse_from_Sweden

      Which might actually have been the case.

      It’s quite possible that she was a Sgt. only because of affirmative action, and that her power was mostly symbolic while actual command on the ground was done by those with more competence.

  • gah

    The Sierra Club used to espouse zero population growth as a way of improving the environment. When they were going to vote on a statement in support of immigration control, George Soros engineered the take over of the Sierra Club by leftist “activists,” going so far as to pay their membership dues so as to vote down the resolution. Those “activists” are now in full control of the Sierra Club, so it is not surprising that they are now branching out into “social justice” as an issue.

  • gah

    The Sierra Club used to push Zero Population Growth. Back in the 1990’s they were going to vote on a resolution supporting reduced immigration, strong border control, etc., as a means of improving the environment. George Soros then paid the dues for thousands of “activists” to join to defeat the resolution. The Sierra Club, along with every other environmental group, human rights group, etc., are now firmly in the iron grip of the left, and that is why the Sierra Club is moving into the “social justice” arena.

  • Realist

    Sierra Club says Michael Brown and Eric Garner are “victims of injustice.”

    Yeah, liberals are stupid…..duh!

  • Olorin

    Good luck keeping up your donation base, Sierra Club, when you alienate all the white conservationists.

    Or maybe they’re going the MoveOn route and try to get two bucks from every lamebrain with a racial grievance on earth.

    I can just see it now. 300 Hispanics standing in an Urban Park in the middle of the barrio, looking at a painting of an owl, yelling, “Hands up, don’t hoot!”

  • What a gaggle of nonsense. Nothing these people say is rational, or coherent.

  • Paleoconn

    We all know how kind blacks and hispanics are to their environment.

  • De’Ontavious Jizzaiah Jones

    I don’t belong to Sierra Club for this reason. But I have noticed in reading Backpacker, Outside, and Appalachian Mt Club publications that outdoor groups do recognize that the decreasing number of whites poses a threat to preservation of national and state parks. They believe the solution is to get blacks and Hispanics interested in the outdoors and to go to these parks and join outdoor organizations. There are programs now that provide minorities expense paid trips to national parks and take them hiking and camping as well as similar programs for “urban youth” to introduce them to outdoors. This is folly because blacks will never become interested in hiking, tent camping, backpacking etc for reasons many have already stated in comments and its just too much work for them, plus black women’s hair and nails cannot do it. They like fishing because its getting something for free. Hispanics maybe in successive generations will be interested. Even if blacks became interested in outdoor activities, it would be a wash because their presence would ruin experience for everyone else as well as trash facilities. As others have said as well, I really enjoy kayaking, hiking, skiing, camping, biking and scuba diving because I almost never encounter blacks. I travelled cross country by motor home a few months ago from FL and bypassed Atlanta, St. Louis, Kansas City. We stayed at state and federal campgrounds as well as Walmart parking lots. The entire trip was even more pleasurable because we only sporadically saw a black. It was amazing how much more pleasant a trip to Walmart is when it is located in a 99.9% white area. The trip also convinced me I need to permanently relocate to such a 99% white area for my own peace and sanity. I am worried about skiing though because there is a national black ski umbrella organization with scattered black ski clubs all over US. Every year they hold a black ski summit for blacks to take over entire resort. This year it is at end of Feb at Snowmass, CO. They frequently do other ski trips over MLK weekend so beware. Here is a quote from website:

    “”The biggest trip of the year is also the NBS’ biggest fundraiser: The Summit. This trip attracts thousands to the mountain every year. There is nothing more impressive than seeing the mountain filled with Black skiers and snowboarders getting off the chair lifts, filling the apres bars, emptying the shops, and partying the nights away. Once you meet some of these adventure seekers, you learn that these are doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, engineers, dentists, and every other profession you can think of. The local residents and other visitors are often speechless, and often hilarious when they try to figure out the best way ask innocent questions.”
    I’ll bet the locals are speechless!

    • Alec Ryan

      Only a small minority of non-white Americans are into the outdoors. The vast majority look upon it as a hostile wilderness, perhaps populated with Dixie-whistling hillbillies. Suits me!