Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Yale 360 Could Not Find Black People Re Environment Issues

Brentin Mock, left, challenges traditional 'environment-think' in his piece, "Yale Can Find No People Of Color Who Can Talk About Environment."  Mock points out that a recent blog post from Yale 360 asked ten environmental experts what they think of President Obama’s record on the environment, but not one person of color is featured in this forum. We responded to him that it is the same now as it was 30 years ago.  Mock comments:

"But why no one from African-American, Hispanic or Native American communities to speak on this? These communities are some of the most vulnerable to lax environmental regulation and enforcement. Black families are more likely than white families to live close to polluting facilities, and not because they choose to."
Fortunately, Blacks have formed their own environmental organizations to address these issues.  It is partially why we formed AAEA in 1985.  Interestingly, we now have a green president, who is also balanced in his environmental approach and a black EPA administrator (Lisa Jackson).  Of course, we've had a black Department of Energy Secretary (Hazel O'Leary) and a black Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairwoman (Shirley Jackson) during the Clinton administration.  Jerome Ringo, was elected as chairman of the National Wildlife Federation a few years ago.  Yet, the mainstream environmental movement is neither interested in, or capable of, representing the views of the African American community.  That does not mean that some brave blacks should not work for these groups.  God bless the handfull working there now just as a handful did about 30 years ago.

According to Mock, Roger Cohn, editor of Yale 360, responded to his inquiry in an email:

“The issue you bring up is not one we're unaware of, and it's something that is a real issue in the environmental world. We did ask a person of color, Van Jones, to participate in this forum, but we never received a response from him.  In this forum, we were focused on national environmental policy leaders -- a field that is not very diverse; but having said that, we could have tried harder to make sure that we had at least one person of color represented here.”
Again, this quote could have come from 30 years ago.  It will probably be applicable 30 years from now. (theLoop21, 7/27/2011)

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