Monday, March 25, 2013

Why Do Only Progressives, and Not Polluters, Need to be Diverse?

Darryl Fears has a good piece in today's Washington Post taking a closer look at diversity in the environmental movement - or lack of it. Tough but fair. I work for an environmental organization and I agree green groups don't do nearly enough.

But what about polluters and their allies - how are they doing on diversity?
What about workers in polluting industries? It's just as bad:
  • Oil & gas extraction: 23% women, 9% Hispanic, 4% African American
  • Coal mining: 6% women, 3% Hispanic, 1% African American
No one writes articles about polluting industries being almost entirely white men because it's taken for granted that polluting industries are all run by rich old white guys. Even when they repeatedly get caught using stock photos to try to not look to the public like such rich old white guys - and Republicans, coal, and chemical polluters all have - it isn't covered in the mainstream media because again, everyone is just supposed to already know that polluters are rich old white guys who buy pictures of non-rich old white guys to make themselves look like they care about non-rich old white guys.

Again, I think conservationists need to do more to reach out to Hispanics and African-Americans. Excluding them isn't just wrong, it's bad business - polls show minorities are exceptionally strong supporters of climate action in particular and clean air & water in general.

But much like the media holds polluters and their allies to a much lower standard ethically, they're held to no standard on diversity.

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