Racism and Ecology

Recent events highlighting the continuing unequal treatment of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities have shone a spotlight on the systemic issue of racism that CIEEM believes has no place in our society.

We are aware that we are a professional body that is not racially diverse. Unsurprisingly perhaps, because we represent a profession that is not racially diverse. The lack of both racial and socio-economic diversity in ecology and environmental management has been debated for the past 30 years yet, as Hannah Williams’ article in the June issue of In Practice so eloquently illustrates, very little has changed.

But this could be a time of positive change if enough people care to make a difference. We believe that you, our members, do care and will be keen to join us in actions to make our own profession more inclusive, welcoming and representative of our society. Diversity, not only diversity of skin colour or  ethnicity, makes us stronger and better able to draw on the widest pool of talents and skills needed to tackle the environmental crises we face.

We know that we need to act now. The problem is, we do not yet know what we need to do that will make a difference. We need your help.

Over the next few weeks and months we will be providing a platform for discussion and debate amongst the membership, our governance and our staff, that must then lead to action. We had already begun exploring the Royal Academy of Engineering and Science Council’s Diversity and Inclusion Progression Framework for Professional Bodies and this will continue apace. We will be including a session on increasing diversity in the profession in our Time to Change conference on 1-2 December and are delighted that Judy Ling Wong, President of the Black Environment Network, has agreed to join us.

Perhaps the most important thing that we need to do right now is to listen. We want to hear the voices of all those within and without CIEEM who feel disadvantaged in their participation, who feel that our profession is not welcoming and inclusive, or who feel frustrated by their experiences of trying to forge a career in the face of hostility or inequality.

It is not our voices that matter right now, it is yours. Please do get in touch at enquiries@cieem.net.


Sally Hayns CEcol MCIEEM