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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Does Elitism Exist in the Environmental Movement?

I must say that although I've only been a part of the environmental movement for a few years, I like to think that most environmentalists are enlightened, tolerant people who have the ability to behave civilly even when they disagree. My optimism was shaken this past week when a colleague of mine, African American Environmentalist Association (AAEA) President Norris McDonald (above) and his son, who were invited guests, were told to leave the Southeast Convergence for Climate Action on the third day of the gathering in Asheville, NC because, as one of the organizers stated, "We do not share the same beliefs and goals." Read the full story at To the organizers of the Southeast Convergence for Climate Action, I say this:

I find it outrageous that Mr. McDonald, an African American, environmental activist for over twenty years (an extremely rare find, believe me), was treated in such a demeaning way for simply having a difference of opinion in what is supposed to be an enlightened discussion forum. It's bad enough that minorities have been, and still are, grossly ignored by the environmental movement in the community it is supposed to serve and in hiring practices, but to be shut out that manner is disgraceful. You and many others in your elitist circle need to take a good look at yourselves in a mirror, reevaluate what your priorities are and decide what and who you really stand for.