July 21, 2009
Contact: Oliver Bernstein, Deputy Press Secretary for Diversity Programs, 512.477.2152
Sierra Club Applauds EPA Administrator Jackson for Encouraging the Environmental Movement to Diversify
Sierra Club Proud to Already be a Leader in Promoting Diversity, Supporting Communities
Washington, D.C. -- Sierra Club applauds Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson's call today for greater diversity in the environmental movement and takes pride in our leadership on these issues. Speaking to the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, Administrator Jackson said that environmentalism does not come in any one shape, size or look and that environmentalism is also about protecting people in the places where they live, work and raise families.
"We applaud Administrator Jackson's call for the environmental movement to better reflect the diversity of all Americans, and we are proud that Sierra Club has such successful diversity programs already established," said Sierra Club President Allison Chin. "Now, with the leadership of a diversity council and my election as our first Asian-American president, Sierra Club is committed to becoming an even more welcoming and inclusive organization."
Through programs that support and enlist people from all different backgrounds, the Sierra Club has been a leader in promoting diversity and supporting local residents of all backgrounds. Sierra Club shares Administrator Jackson's vision that the environmental movement must better reflect the overall population.
"The environmental movement should belong to anyone who wants clean air, clean water and a healthy planet for their families," said Leslie Fields, Director of the Sierra Club's Environmental Justice and Community Partnerships program. "All too often people face disproportionate risks of harm because of their demographic characteristics or economic condition, and we applaud Administrator Jackson for her sincere leadership in supporting more diversity in the environmental movement so all people can have a voice."
Sierra Club programs that might serve as models of diversity outreach include:
*The Environmental Justice & Community Partnerships program, which empowers low-income communities and people of color in Central Appalachia, Detroit, Flagstaff, New Orleans, El Paso, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Puerto Rico, Washington, DC. When invited in, homegrown Sierra Club community organizers work with community members to help them achieve their goals and improve quality of life.
*The Building Bridges to the Outdoors program, in which Sierra Club offers at-risk youth their first wilderness experiences. Urban high school students from Los Angeles who have never seen the stars before escape the smog of the city and get back to nature, where they can breathe clean air and learn about their environment.
*The youth-run Sierra Student Coalition trains, empowers and organizes young people to run effective campaigns that result in tangible environmental victories and that develop leaders for the environmental movement. With more than 250 groups nationwide, the Coalition develops environmental leaders through an award-winning grassroots training programs and works to make sure students have a voice in the environmental movement.
*The Sierra Club Inner City Outings program introduces approximately 12,000 young people each year to the wonders of nature through nearly 800 outings and service projects -- from kayaking in Florida, to backpacking in California, to tree-planting in Pennsylvania. Many participants credit the program with helping them to succeed in school and fulfill their dreams.
For more information about Sierra Club's diversity programs, go to: http://www.sierraclub.org/diversity