We need diverse viewpoints in science, public policy and the environmental movement not only because to do include these viewpoints is more egalitarian. Environmental issues often affect minorities disproportionately. The water crisis in Flint Michigan isn’t the first time this has happened to a community of color. It’s happened time and time again, locally in Alviso, San Jose, on Native American Reservations and on the East Coast from Chester Pennsylvania to the South Bronx. On an organizational level, Our City Forest targets areas in San Jose that have been disproportionately impacted by freeway construction and air pollution and low-income, tree-denuded neighborhoods. We recognize that we cannot do this alone.
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February is Black History Month in the US and Canada. (In the UK it is observed in October). With the spotlight on Black History, it’s especially imperative that we take the time to focus on African American biologists, ecologists, conservationists and environmentalists (although we environmentalists should be doing this all year).