Diversity and the Environment Webinar Series


Racial Diversity in the U.S. Climate Movement

  • Clara Fang, Citizens’ Climate Lobby
  • Tuesday, March 17th @ 12:00 PM EST

People of color are projected to become a majority of the U.S. population by 2043 but are grossly underrepresented in environmental organizations that work on climate change.  They are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change and also express stronger interest than Whites in making climate change a priority for government action. Engaging these groups on climate change would have a huge impact on policies that advance climate solutions. Why is the climate movement lacking in diversity? What can organizations do to improve equity and inclusion in the climate movement? This webinar presents current data on diversity in the climate movement and the results of a mixed-method study with self-identified climate activists to understand their engagement on climate change, perceived barriers, as well as recommended strategies from experts on how to diversify the climate movement. 


Combating Incivility, Harassment, and Sexual Assault in Environmental Fields and Fieldwork

  • Marisa A. Rinkus, Center for Interdisciplinarity, Michigan State University
  • Erika Marin-Spiotta, Professor of Geography, University of Wisconsin Madison and Lead PI for the ADVANCEGeo Partnership
  • April 21, 12pm EST

Increased attention on the pervasiveness of harassment and assault in the daily professional lives of women and men calls for open dialogue and institutional culture change, particularly around issues of gender-based discrimination and the role of power dynamics. Although the topic of harassment in the workplace is not new, what constitutes the 'workplace' for environmental professionals can present a unique set of challenges in terms of the spaces in which the work takes place and the various actors involved. Given that environmental work can occur in isolated settings and often hyper-masculine environments, it is surprising that the issue of harassment and sexual assault has not garnered more attention. However, harassment does not only occur in the field and can be experienced in various professional settings. The aim of this webinar is to acknowledge and better understand the presence of these issues in the fields of Environmental Studies and Sciences while discussing the role of professional societies and institutions of higher education in cultivating a safe working and learning environment. This webinar will be interactive and discuss resources available through the AdvanceGeo project.


Diversity in Higher Education: Creating Equity in Evaluation of Faculty 

  •  Valerie Banschbach, President-Elect, Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences
  • Associate Provost, Gustavus Adolphus College
  • Wednesday, May 6th @ 12:00 PM EST

Despite efforts to improve hiring practices to diversify the faculties of colleges and universities in the US, a lack of strong attention to retention practices may negate progress. At predominantly white institutions and in fields where faculty members are still mostly white and/or male, including Environmental Studies and Sciences, barriers to retention and promotion most strongly impact faculty whose identities do not match the ‘norm’ of a professor expected by students. Barriers include bias in teaching evaluations by students, the burden of hidden labor done to support diversity efforts on campus, and discrimination against research areas of high interest to faculty who are members of historically under-represented groups. In the webinar, she will present an overview of areas of bias in faculty evaluations that impact retention and promotion. She will summarize key findings drawn from the substantial peer-reviewed literature on biases in student evaluations of teaching.  During the webinar, she will discuss strategies to cope with and overcome barriers, with a goal of envisioning how to change structures in higher education to become more equitable.  


Race and the Environmental Movement: History and Legacies

  •  Sarika Tandon, Antioch University
  • Thursday, June 4rd @ 2:00 PM EST

This webinar explores some of the roots of the American conservation movement as they relate to white supremacy and patterns of discrimination and marginalization. The webinar begins by grounding in key concepts and frames for race equity, and then explores four windows into looking at race and the environment  to reflect on how the history of the movement is affecting issues of justice and equity in mainstream environmental work today. These include the history of the conservation movement vis a vis white supremacy and communities of color, race and environmental concern, differential impacts by racial group, and organizational demographics in environmental organizations.