Reading Group

This monthly reading group is an opportunity to learn about the ways diverse groups experience the natural world, engage in environmental efforts, or have been prevented from engaging in these activities through racism, cultural bias, and economic disadvantage, both historically and in the present moment.

Currently Reading: TBD

We currently meet monthly on the first Wednesday at 5:30pm via Zoom. Interested in joining our discussion? Contact Hilary at for more information.


Past Readings

Mar-Nov 2021


Planned for Sat., 12 Dec. 2020 — youth, technology, nature (postponed)

  • “Using Technology as an Entry Tool to Nature”
  • Deborah J. Chavez, “Youth Day in Los Angeles: Evaluating the Role of Technology in Children’s Nature Activities” Children, Youth and Environments (vol. 19, No. 1, 2009) pp. 102-124 (23 pages)


Sat., 21 Nov. 2020 — basic/background readings in race/diversity and engaging minority youth in nature


Sat., 24 Oct. 2020 — Latinx people and nature/environmentalism plus some basic anti-racist material


  • Peggy McIntosh, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” Peace and Freedom (July/August 1989) – 3 pp.
  • David Flores and José J. Sánchez, “The Changing Dynamic of Latinx Outdoor Recreation on National and State Public Lands.”  Journal and Park and Recreation Administration (2020) – 18 pp.
  • Nathan Taxel, “Words Matter.”  Legacy.  The Magazine of the National Association for Interpretation. September/October 2020, 7-9.
  • José González, “Park closures have unequal costs.” High Country News 16 April 2020. – 3 pp. (reprinted in Mother Jones) 


Other resources

These three sites come from a large site called Children and Nature Network – It has many short essays and lots of resources.


Sat., 19 Sept. 2020 


  • Christopher J. Schell, et al. “The ecological and evolutionary consequences of systemic racism in urban environments.” Science 13 Aug 2020, 1-19. (pdf attached). This article reviews studies of urban ecology, arguing that “urban ecology and evolution researchers must consider how systems of racial oppression affect the environmental factors driving biological change in cities.”  
  • The Green Report from July 2020: The Nature Gap: Confronting Racial and Economic Disparities in the Destruction and Protection of Nature in America. I really appreciated the way this study focuses on the occurrence and consequences of “nature deprivation.”
  • An op-ed piece from the LA Times – Matthew Fleischer, “Want to tear down insidious monuments to racism and segregation? Bulldoze L.A. freeways.”  24 June 2020.
  • Two excerpts from a memoir by J. Drew Lanham: The Home Place. Memories of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature. Lanham grew up in a middle-class black family in Edgefield County, South Carolina. His parents taught school but also farmed a 200-acre Forest Service inholding. Today he is a professor of Wildlife Ecology at Clemson University. In the attachment you will find two excerpts: “Me:  An Introduction” and “Birding While Black.” (13 pp.)


  • Stoop podcast, episode 19: Summer Series: Buffalo Soldiers (interview with a Black Yosemite National Park ranger who tells the stories of the Buffalo Soldiers to park guests) – 8 min.
  • A podcast originating in the UK, Black Nature Narratives, but featuring people from the US. This episode might be especially interesting to us on the theme of African Americans in nature: Episode 5, Eboni Preston, Director of Programmes for the Greening Youth Foundation, a national non-profit in the US. This Atlanta based organization has partnered with the National Park Service to increase opportunities for African American young people to enter environmental careers. (19 min.)


Sat., 22 Aug. 2020




  • Lightfoot and Parrish, “Why California Indians Matter” from California Indians and Their Environment:  An Introduction. U of California P, 2009.  (12 pp.)
  • Gilio-Whitacker, Dina. As Long as Grass Grows. The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock.  (Beacon P, 2910).  ch. 7, “Sacred Sites and Environmental Justice” (16 pp.)


Sat., 25 Jul. 2020

(1) Carolyn Merchant’s “Shades of Darkness: Race and Environmental History” (Environmental History 8.3, July 2003: 380-94) is a review of scholarship in the field as of 2003.
(2, 3) Dorceta E. Taylor, in Toxic Communities: Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution, and Residential Mobility (NYU Press, 2014), draws on case studies in zoning law, government regulation, and urban renewal to investigate environmental transgressions and racial discrimination. Here are two chapters from this book: 

  • Chapter 1, “Toxic Exposure:  Landmark Cases in the South and the Rise of Environmental Justice Activism,” and
  • Chapter 5, “Enforcing Environmental Protections:  The Legal, Regulatory, and Administrative Contexts.” 

(4) Brinda Sarathy, “An Intersectional Reappraisal of the Environmental-Justice Movement,” in The Nature of Hope. Grassroots Organizing, Environmental Justice, and Political Change (ed. Char Miller and Jeff Crane, UP of Colorado, 2018), argues for broadening EJ inquiries. She mentions a California case at the end of the article.