Envisioning equity in the outdoors and environmental nonprofits

A photograph behind the video camera where Rosie Sanchez is being interviewed.
Rosie Sanchez is being interviewed for the Elevating Voices documentary, courtesy of Carlos Malache.
  • Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) individuals support environmental protection at a higher rate than white people
  • 36-42% of the U.S. population are BIPOC, but only 16% of environmental nonprofit staff are BIPOC, and only 12% of those individuals are in leadership positions.

Research has shown that people of color may be more concerned than their white counterparts about climate change and other environmental issues because they are often more exposed and vulnerable to environmental hazards, air pollution, water pollution, and extreme weather events.

So why, then, are so many environmental organizations still so homogenous?

One reason is that BIPOC employees are often shut out of opportunities because we may not be seen as “professional” (to a white standard), and our organizations may be conditioned not to upskill or support us. Our contributions and knowledge that are culturally derived may not be considered “scientific” or “unbiased” (until it’s found, decades or centuries later, to be so by peer-review studies). And then there’s just plain racism and the denial that we could be racist because we’re nonprofits — we do good works.

Here are some things you can do to envision and bring equity to the outdoors and nonprofits you navigate:


Here are some organizations, local and national, to follow and support that work towards equity, inclusion, and access in the outdoors:


For BIPOC Individuals:

For White Allies and Accomplices:

For Kids:


For All Adults:

For BIPOC Individuals:

For Individuals From Marginalized Genders:

For White Allies and Accomplices:

Listen and Watch:

For Adults:

For Kids:

Join us for the rest of the Colorado Endangered Species Week events!