Changing demographics

It can be fun to unpack an euphemism.

In the parks and conservation community, “diversity” often means black people. But diversity really means there is a variety of difference. And “changing demographics” is often another way of saying “we white people need to do something about this diversity thing.” But as much as Dr. Manuel Pastor and others study the trends and talk about the shifts in American demographics (see this), the truth is that there has been a “diversity” of people on these lands for 10,000+ years.

That’s why I said “yes!” out loud when I read this article about a panel discussion with Anusha Alikhan, Tonya Mosley and Leslie Miley at the Communications Network conference. I wish I was there in the audience to hear this live, because I bet it was so much more impactful. It was this sentence that I loved so much:

“Diversity is a fact, inclusion is a practice and equity is a goal.”

Let’s stop debating and questioning the fact that people from different backgrounds live here and have the rights that us white people have. This country is diverse. It’s what makes us great. And it’s what makes our parks, farms, trails, and open spaces great, too. There are so many ways of connecting to nature, and they’re all valid. Not just valid. They’re beautiful.

Want to see some examples? I rounded up some videos from Bay Area park agencies and conservation organizations, each telling a different story about people connecting to nature and to each other. There is so much happening here to welcome people of all kinds to their parks. It’s inspiring.


Diversity is a fact. How are we going to be inclusive and aim for equity? That’s what I want to work on.

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