The inaugural New Horizons in Conservation conference held in Washington D.C. on April 18 -20 represented a milestone in conservation history. More than 200 students, faculty, SEAS alumni and leading conservation professionals—the majority of them people of color—gathered to "celebrate and assess" diversity, equity, and inclusion in the environmental sector.
The New Horizons conference is the brainchild of Dorceta Taylor, James E. Crowfoot Collegiate Professor, author, and Director of DEI at SEAS. As an early pioneer in the Environmental Justice movement, she has long been a powerful voice in the effort to increase diversity in the field of conservation.
"Despite the prevalence of complex global problems such as climate change," Taylor writes, "the conservation movements in the U.S. and other post-industrial countries lack robust pools of ethnic minorities in their workforces.
"The students and young professionals who attended this conference represent the future of conservation," Taylor continues, "They are multicultural, multi-faceted, and talented, and they are poised to take on leadership roles in this sector. Diversity benefits us all, and there is strength in it."
SEAS alumnus José González ’09, founder of Latino Outdoors and a workshop panelist, shared his experience at the New Horizons in Conservation conference.
"You can read about it, you can have one-on-one conversations on it, you can look at the studies, you can have the data and the research, but it really hits home when you are in a room where you can actually see this vision of the future," said González.
"There was a sense of hope," González added, "a sense of knowing that it’s going to be ok. If this is the present and future of the movement—even though it’s still going to be a lot of work—there’s a lot of hope that comes with that."