By Sean Schmidt | Oct 30, 2014

Marcelo Bonta, Executive Director of Center for Diversity & the Environment, was one of several keynote speakers at the 2014 Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference in Portland, Oregon. Bonta spoke on his work around diversity, equity, and inclusion in the environmental movement to audiences around the U.S, as well as his personal story of how he became involved in sustainability as the son of socially-conscious parents who were active with the United Farm Workers in the early 1970s.

Bonta shared many statistics, including:

  • by 2019 children in US will be over 50% people of color
  • the US Currently 37% people of color, by 2043, we’ll be a nation that is over 50% people of color

And then asked, what are we doing to prepare for their success? He asked many of other questions of the audience:

  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion. What does it mean, how do we do it?
  • How do we create a space that allows people to bring their full selves to sustainability?
  • How do you break boundaries of difference? How do we recognize these differences as strengths?

And finally give his thoughts on what we all can do:

  • What can we do? Lead! We need more leaders in diversity, equity, and inclusion work.
  • What can we do? Learn! Continue to learn and grow as a lifelong learner.
  • What can we do? Love! Change only happens if you engage the heart and the head.

Bonta finished his keynote with with a statement and one final question: "The story of sustainability is still being written, by you. Will we build a movement for all with all?"

Sean Notes are blog posts by UWS Sustainability Assistant Director, Sean Schmidt that feature news, information, and resources that connect the dots in what Sean calls "full spectrum sustainability" (economic, social, and environmental aspects of sustainability).