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Approaching Climate Change through the Lens of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Aimee Murillo, Relevancy Team, IRAC, PWR, Region 8, 9, 10 & 12

Updated Foundations of Interpretation , Relevancy, Diversity, and Inclusion (RDI)

Climate change training and marginalized communities

That meeting could be an email, and this training could be virtual!

The pandemic has shown us ways to do more virtually and digitally using the technology that we have. Jasmine Reinhardt, a Supervisory Park Ranger at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, decided to use this time as an opportunity to create a training about a topic that impacts us all – climate change. Along in this endeavor included Elizabeth Villano from Muir Woods NM, Laura Castellini from Golden Gate NRA, and Larry Perez and Matt Holly from the NPS Climate Change Response Program.

Jasmine’s goal was to create an introductory interpretation training about climate change that was “holistic.” The training needed to be connected, relevant and address how climate change impacts marginalized communities- something she felt had been lacking in other climate change trainings. To help accomplish this goal, Elizabeth, Sonia, and Jasmine created a DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) solutions rubric.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Rubric

It was a four-part solutions rubric that broke down change in what an equitable solution to climate change could look like. Designing this with appropriate curriculum design and content was a challenge, but it proved a valuable tool during the training as participants worked on creating their own community level solutions.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI)Rubric is a colorful matrix containing the following characteristics to help determine whether a given solution is an equitable solution: 1) Does the solution generate multi-benefits (environmental, climate, economic, health, social justice) for the Community? 2) Are the voices of fence-line communities uplifted and included in the planning and implementation? 3) Does the solution actively work to address and remove barriers? 4) Does this solution include plans to address potential negative impacts (ex: job training programs for any power plant closures, etc.).
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Rubric used to elicit solutions and guide discussion from workshop participants in breakout groups.

From the start, they were committed to approaching the issue with humility. They researched local BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) organizations that are addressing climate change at the community level. Working with other leaders in the park and outside speakers was key in making sure the training was telling untold stories. They wanted participants to feel represented in creating climate change solutions that were equitable and accessible. They viewed their rubric as a first attempt to breaking down a complicated issue. The rubric is more of a living document than set in stone.

The main content of the training was centered on curriculum from the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI). NNOCCI is a training organization and support community of practice for climate scientists, informal educators, and allied climate communicators. Their approach relies on Strategic Framing Analysis, an evidence-based approach to communication.

Person proudly wearing superhero cape standing next to a cartoon earth.

Other partners included the NPS Climate Change Response Program who led day one of the training, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and OneUpAction, a youth-led organization that works to provide resources to youth advocates.

Jasmine wanted to start off the training centering DEI into the climate change conversation, so they invited guest speaker, Kevin Patel from OneUpAction, to present on day 1 of the training. Kevin presented his organization and their focus on “environmental intersectionalism,” which identifies ways in which injustices targeting marginalized communities and the earth are closely intertwined.

Creating Climate Change solutions on Teams

Over the course of three days, around 60 participants – interpreters, educators and frontline communicators – met virtually for the climate change workshop. The workshop met on Microsoft Teams, which provided opportunities to create break-out rooms which were valuable for small groups community building and sharing ideas. Training participant Chelsea Hernandez said,

I valued the audience-centered approach to the training, as it was great to hear multiple perspectives and personal testimony from interpreters, educators and scientists across the region. It will take all of us to continue to figure out the best ways to communicate such an important issue like climate change.

Meeting on Teams did create some difficulties for those outside of the NPS, such as issues with sharing documents and break out rooms. Besides having issues with using Teams, the participant size seemed a bit large. In the future if Jasmine does a similar training, she’ll cap it at around 35 participants.

There were many successes with the workshop, and participants left with positive views of the training. Many had “aha” moments and there were many highlights from incorporating a DEI lens into the framework of the training. Through intentional curriculum design embedding a DEI lens and with the solutions rubric, attendees were shown the intersection between social justice and environmental justice. The training helped connect the dots for attendees to understand that climate change impacts everyone,  and how they can be a part of the solution in their communities.

If you have a successful virtual program you would like to have featured in this series of articles, please contact aimee_murillo@nps.gov.

If you would like more information about the workshop, email jasmine_reinhardt@nps.gov.

Resources:

Relevancy Team Best Practices in 21st Century Interpretation and Competencies – NPS: Common Learning Portal

National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation – NNOCCI | Climate Interpreter 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | U.S. Department of Commerce (noaa.gov) 

Home | OneUpAction 

NPS Climate Change Response Program

Foundations of Interpretation – NPS: Common Learning Portal 

Questions:

In your area of the NPS, how does or will climate change affect marginalized communities?

What are some ways you can share these stories about climate change with marginalized communities?

How would you  take a more holistic approach to climate change interpretation?

What aspects of climate change interpretation is missing at your site?

Which of the  21st century competencies (Site Research and Relevance, Building Audience and Community, Self Awareness and Bias, Designing Visitor Experiences) did Jasmine’s training team exhibit in their climate change/DEI training program?

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