Breaking the Green Ceiling

December 9, 2015

Guest Blog by Chante Coleman, Field Director, Choose Clean Water Coalition

At this point, we are all too familiar with the Green 2.0 report titled “The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations: Mainstream NGOs, Foundations & Government Agencies.” This report told us that despite the racial diversity in the United States (about 1/3 people of color), the racial composition of environmental organizations and agencies has not broken the 12%-15% green ceiling. This green ceiling results in an overwhelmingly white green insiders club, particularly in leadership positions. The higher up the leadership ladder, the more white our organizations are.

So, what’s the big deal? The big deal is when we stop looking like the communities we serve, we lose all legitimacy when trying to speak on behalf of the public interest. How can we speak for communities who we do not include in our policy-making, leadership, and decision-making? Further, our movement relies on engaging the public, and if we fail to engage a significant portion, we face losing to the big companies with the big dollars.

Choose Clean Water wants to stay relevant and keep fighting the good fight. In December 2014, we adopted a policy priority to promote environmental justice in the watershed. Our 2016-2017 strategic plans includes environmental justice goals and diversity goals, further showing our commitment to these issues. However, how do we work on diversity? How do we make our workplace more inclusive? How do we ensure we are posting our job openings in places where people from diverse backgrounds will see them?

The Coalition needed to provide a resource to answer questions like this and support our members in increasing diversity in their organizations. To accomplish this, we created a Diversity Tool-Kit. This tool-kit gives step-by-step instructions from governance, hiring, and communications standpoints on how organizations can start increasing diversity. We provide ideas on how to craft your mission, vision and values around diversity. We provide samples of diversity and inclusion statements from top organizations addressing diversity. We include lists of places to post your job opening so that people from diverse backgrounds see it. We also give ideas on how to craft your communications to reach new audiences. You can find our tool-kit HERE. Start using it today!


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