The environmental movement is very white. These leaders want to change that.
People of color have long been excluded from environmental policy and conservation—creating blind spots that perpetuate inequality.
As a governmental affairs coordinator for the National Audubon Society, Tykee James says he’s used to interjecting race and equity issues in conversations about the environment and conservation.
“Being the only Black guy in the room, everyone’s like, ‘Let’s yield the floor, Tykee has a statement to say about race. Everybody calm down,’” the 26-year-old Philadelphia native says. “And then I have to become Martin Luther King, just because I want to say that we should care about Black people in our policies.”
But James welcomes that role. He is one of a growing group of young, diverse environmental leaders examining how racism and white supremacy have long excluded Black, brown, and Indigenous people in environmental policy, conservation, and public health