People of colour are disproportionately affected by climate change and pollution, yet are severely under-represented in the organisations and foundations working to tackle these issues.
Green 2.0 is working to change that.
Since its inception in 2014 it has tracked racial and gender diversity within the environmental movement to address the issue head on. We recently spoke to Andrés Jimenez, the campaign’s executive director to talk about what drives him as well as the progress Green 2.0 is making to promote justice, equity, inclusion, and diversity in the environmental movement.
1. Tell us, in 20 words or fewer, about Green 2.0 – what’s your mission?
Green 2.0’s mission is to ensure that the environmental movement is committed to justice, equity, inclusion, and diversity, and recognizes the leadership of people of colour at every level of the movement.
2. What drives you?
Looking at my children makes me hopeful that their futures will be better through the work that we accomplish at Green 2.0. It drives me that their burdens will be lightened because they will have a diverse environmental movement and they will not have to worry about fighting for their voices to be heard or their identities to be represented in that movement.
3. What is your greatest achievement to date?
Creating the Fellowship program at Green 2.0 because it mentors and empowers future leaders and supports them in their early career development. The program also lets me know that the next generation is serious about environmental justice and that through their amazing leadership we will surpass so many of the goals we have for this movement.
4. What are the challenges you face?
Unfortunately, when confronting racial equity work there are often organizations who are reluctant to change. They feel comfortable and do not want to confront the inequities within their organizations. There are also some who feel they do not need to be transparent with their racial and ethnic demographic data of staff because they do not want to be exposed for their lack of diversity. The environmental movement also faces the challenge of foundations needing to invest in and support environmental work led by communities of color and we’re seeing some change there, but it hasn’t happened quickly enough.
5. What are you working on that’s getting you fired up and excited?
Green 2.0 just finished an amazing event called the 100 Days Town Hall with a bunch of incredible partners. This was an opportunity for community leaders from across the environmental justice movement to bring attention to the challenges they face and discuss them with Biden Administration officials. It was a powerful event that fostered collaboration between the Biden Administration and advocates, which is incredibly important given President Biden’s climate agenda.
6. Where do you want to take Green 2.0 next?
One big thing is I really want to expand the way we provide data to the environmental movement and that’s why we’re growing our Transparency Report Card from reporting on 40 organizations to 80. It’s no longer just going to just include the mainstream environmental organizations but provide a much fuller picture of all organizations—large, small and medium—which is more representative of our movement. For too long, the movement has ignored smaller organizations, especially those led by people of color, so we’re including these organizations in our next report.
7. What can we as individuals do to support?
Individuals can get involved with an organization, especially a community-based one, that is fighting for clean water, air, conservation, or so many other critical issues when it comes to the environment. Volunteering with an organization, especially a smaller one, provides so much important capacity that can propel change in communities.
8. Can you recommend a life-changing book for our readers?
Dreams from My Father by President Barack Obama changed my life for the better. Every person who wants to make any kind of positive change in the world should read it.
9. How is what you are doing inspiring change in others?
Our reason for being is to inspire action from environmental organizations and individuals to reflect upon the objective data our Transparency Report Card provides and make organizational changes as a result. When senior leaders and boards of environmental organizations understand the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and then back it up with the resources it deserves, it allows the whole organization to experience a shift in policies, procedures, and ultimately culture. These changes make organizations better by having equitable processes and transparency, which in turn increases the ability of all staff to flourish and contribute their talents to the organization.
10. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Many of my mentors have imparted this knowledge to me, but I’ve also learned it through seeing my team at Green 2.0 and so many others work together for change. The advice is one person can make a difference, but a collective group of people can change the world. We need to spend more time collaborating with one another to drive change, because the more voices who join together, the more we help our communities thrive.
11. What do you listen to when you’re cooking dinner?
These days I’m listening to Buena Vista Social Club and hoping that my daughters start to love them as much as I do.
12. Finally, who inspires you?
Mark Magaña who is the Founding President & CEO of GreenLatinos, which a national network of Latino environmental and conservation advocates. Green 2.0 is also lucky to have Mark on our board. Mark inspires people to take use their skills and passions to advocate for environmental policy change and he is a great friend and mentor to me.