BIPOC Scholarship Campaign And What It Means For Our Future (Video)

In 2014 a study was conducted of 191 U.S. conservation and preservation organizations, 74 government environmental agencies, and 28 environmental grant-making foundations. This study found that the state of racial diversity within environmental organizations is alarming and "lags behind gender diversity" though most positions of power are still held by White men. While these organizations have allocated large amounts of funding to diversifying their organizations, most of these gains have gone to White women. Many organizations have, to some extent, managed to slightly increase the number of minorities working in these positions, but despite these efforts, minorities make up no more than 16% of board members or general staff.

Though many of these environmental organizations have made small gains towards racial diversity, this study found that none of the largest conservation and preservation organizations (defined as those with a budget over $1 million) has a president who is an ethnic minority. Even more surprising is the fact that the smaller conservation and preservation organizations are even less racially diverse than the larger ones. So even though 38% of the U.S. population is composed of ethnic minorities, research has shown that the underrepresentation of ethnic men and women within the environmental workforce is staggering.

Pic by Casey Girard

The Earth is in a constant state of decay with hundreds of species facing extinction every day. By racially diversifying environmental workspaces, these environmental organizations would be bringing new perspectives to conservation practices that could shift the dynamics within the environmental fields. The state of our planet depends on the diversification of ideas, research, and input, but this type of change requires accountability, acknowledgment, and a forceful push for continued inclusion and diversity amongst state and government environmental programs, organizations, and the allocations of grants/funding. Dr. Ayana Johnson once said, "our racial inequality crisis is intertwined with our climate crisis. If we don't work on both, we will succeed at neither." The Black Mammalogists Week BIPOC Scholarship "was created in 2020 to provide opportunities for current and aspiring Black mammalogists across the Black/African Diaspora to form conscious, fruitful connections, in addition to illuminating historical and present-day Black contributions to the field of mammalogy." It would allow for more immediate representation within the field of mammalogy while bringing awareness to a racial issue plaguing and stalling environmental and conservation efforts worldwide.

Watch The Campaign Video Below

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