Addressing the Lack of Racial Diversity in Environmental Science

journalcoverEnvironmental 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.

Related Articles


  1. Lord knows how many positions I have been passed over for my last name for some blond girl with a couple more years of classes. Imagine fixing her broken instrumentation her poor data and providing dissection instructions and she gets the permanent position its a joke and its not funny

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Three African Americans Who Have Been Appointed to Diversity Posts in Higher Education

Terrence Mitchell was appointed executive director for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania. Faye Belgrave has been named vice president and chief diversity officer at Virginia Commonwealth University and Tammy Bennett is the inaugural vice president for inclusive excellence in philanthropy at the University of Cincinnati Foundation.

Federal Government Calls on States to End Funding Disparities at Black Land-Grant Universities

The federal government sent letters to 16 governors emphasizing the over $12 billion disparity in funding between land-grant Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and their non-HBCU land-grant peers in their states. Unequitable appropriated funding of the 1890 institutions in the states ranges from $172 million to $2.1 billion.

A Trio of Black Scholars in New Faculty Roles at Universities

The City College of New York has appointed Jervette R. Ward as director of the Black Studies Program. Scotti Branton is a new assistant professor of communication at the University of Arkansas, and professor Danille Taylor was appointed director of the Clark Atlanta University Art Museum.

Shaw University to Expand Its Presence to Research Triangle Park

The collaboration will secure Shaw University a dedicated office space within Frontier RTP innovation campus, located in the heart of the city's new vibrant downtown area. The space will include private offices and an administrative area dedicated to Shaw University, as well as classroom space.

Featured Jobs