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: Aldo Leopold, Sand County Almanac (1949): June and July nature notes;  “Thinking Like a Mountain”;  “Conservation Esthetic”. Next meeting date: Wed, Aug 2nd

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

May 2023


Apr 2023


Mar 2023


Feb 2023


Dec 2022


Jun-Oct 2022


May 2022


Apr 2022


Mar 2022


Feb 2022

  • Drew Lanham, “A Convergent Imagining,”
    Lanham asks, What if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rachel Carson had met? Imagining an exchange in the year 1964, as the civil rights and environmental movements were forging parallel and increasingly urgent paths into American culture. A timely selection, given the January celebration of MLK.  If you want to deepen the experience, take a(nother) look at his “A Letter from a Birmingham Jail”? Either the letter itself or in video format.


Jan 2022


Dec 2021

  • Podcast: How to Save a Planet with Alex Blumberg: Your carbon footprint. Does your carbon footprint even matter? In this episode, we look at individual actions vs. systemic change.
  • M. R. O’Connor, “What It’s Like to Fight a Megafire,” New Yorker (NOV. 8, 2021). A journalist trains as a fire-fighter and interviews fire-fighters who have been involved in some of California’s recent megafires. The article exposes the mental health risks and economic exploitation of a group of adventure-seeking young men (and some women) who throw themselves into the profession without support from the industry.


Mar-Nov 2021


Feb 2021


Dec 2020 — youth, technology, nature

  • “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)


Nov 2020 — basic/background readings in race/diversity and engaging minority youth in nature


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.


Sept 2020 



  • 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. We listened to an episode 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.)


Aug 2020





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. We read 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.