Is There Only 1 Black Riverkeeper?

Mainstream environmental groups are failing to attract minority members. 

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Fred Tutman (Marvin Joseph/the Washington Post)

Fred Tutman, Maryland's Patuxent River protector, is one of 200 black riverkeepers in the world -- a stat that speaks volumes about diversity within mainstream environmentalist groups.

Minorities who belong to large environmental organizations said in interviews that they feel these groups have much in common with the GOP when it comes to diversity problems, despite disagreeing intensely with the party on environmental issues. According to the Washington Post:

Kim Coble, vice president of environmental protection and restoration for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said the organization strives for inclusion, even though the percentage of minorities on its full-time staff is only 4.5 percent in a region where they represent nearly half the population.

"The environmental movement has a bit of a reputation as being a wealthy white community, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation works hard to counteract that," Coble said.

The reputation is deserved, said Norris McDonald, president of the African American Environmentalist Association.

"This goes back a long way," McDonald said. "It's why I founded the [association] in 1985  ... White groups weren't hiring black professionals, and when they did, it was a hostile atmosphere. There were a handful of black professionals in the environmental groups then, and there are a handful now."

Read more at the Washington Post.

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