Environmental and earth sciences have among the largest racial shortfalls in degrees earned and in faculty positions in higher education. According to the U.S. Census, across 16 physical and life science classifications, the bottom five occupational groupings in terms of non-white minority representation include atmospheric and space sciences, environmental and geosciences, and conservation and forestry. Minorities make up only 11 percent of the total faculty in environmental sciences in U.S. higher education.
A new study by Adam R. Pearson, professor of psychology at Pomona College in Claremont, California, and Jonathan Schuldt, a professor of communication at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, offers suggestions on what can be done to increase racial diversity in the field of environmental studies.
The authors recommend:
• Enhancing funding and support for basic research on climate STEM diversity;
• Establishing the scientific study of climate diversity as a sub-specialization within the climate sciences;
• Expanding opportunities for disseminating diversity research at scientific conferences, as well as between academics and non-academics; and
• Using diversity research to guide climate advocacy and reform efforts.
“To effectively address the diversity crisis in climate science requires a more comprehensive and coordinated response between behavioral scientists and climate researchers,” according to the authors.
The article, “Facing the Diversity Crisis in Climate Science,” was published in the journal Nature Climate Change. It may be accessed here.