Diversity and Inclusion in Environmental Education: Case Studies of Promising Organizational Change

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Gordon Geballe
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With increasing urgency, scholars and activists have called for environmental education to directly reflect and engage with the great diversity of people who are affected by environmental issues (i.e. everyone). This is in response to a growing recognition that the environmental movement as a whole suffers from a lack of cultural and socioeconomic diversity. Many environmental educators are now faced with the challenge of developing more diverse, inclusive, and equitable organizations. The essential question here is: How can these organizations effectively create welcoming and accessible spaces for all people to work, live, and learn? Through case studies of two community-based environmental education organizations, IslandWood (Bainbridge Island, WA) and Common Ground (New Haven, CT), this essay explores how educators are addressing challenges of implementing organization-wide diversity and inclusion initiatives. The lessons learned from IslandWood and Common Ground reaffirm a growing understanding that comprehensive, systemic changes are necessary to bring diversity and inclusion values into common practice.