Parker McMullen Bushman is the Vice President of Community Engagement, Education, and Inclusion at Butterfly Pavilion in Denver, Colorado, where she educates the public on invertebrates and their cultural and environmental importance.
As a woman of color in working in the environmental sector, Bushman noticed that she was often the only one of her kind in the room and that other white American peers would look to her to lead the charge in diversity. Eventually she was able to find her voice and her place to make a difference, through educating organizations on the importance of inclusivity, and the cultivation of genuine diversity in the environmental movement.
EcoInclusion provides resources for environmental organizations to diversify their staff and incorporate people of color and their perspectives into the decision making process through inclusion workshops, staff training, and more. Through EcoInclusion, Bushman encourages companies to go beyond the talking phase of diversity implementation and empowers them to make the necessary changes to create real change.
EarthKween is another inclusivity project with Bushman’s involvement. Kween stands for: Keep Widening the Environmental Engagement Narrative, and pushes for more representation in environmental imagery. By addressing the unconscious bias produced by white-dominant depictions of environmentalists, space opens for other members of society to join in the conversation.
Bushman answers this question by presenting some well supported statistics on the changing demographics:
By the year 2023, the generation of people 18 and younger, is predicted to be 50%
people of color.
By the year 2050, the United States will be over 50% people of color.
For environmental organizations to stay relevant in the upcoming decades, they must have wider reach and incorporate the voices of the people who will make up the majority of the country in the foreseeable future. With people of color establishing their own grassroots organizations, more inclusive spaces are being cultivated, are impacting more and more communities.
We discuss so much with Parker, from why changing the default “nude” setting on things such as make up and band aids away from white tones is important, to the Aztecs and their connections to invertebrates, to how heritage increases an individuals’ perception of something, and so much more. Tune in for an incredibly interesting conversation this week on Breaking Green Ceilings!
Parker McMullen Bushman is the VP of Programs and Interpretation for Butterfly Pavilion. Parker’s background in the education, outdoor recreation and interpretive fields spans over 22 years. Parker’s interest in diversity, equity and inclusion issues developed from her personal experience. Parker has a passion for equity and inclusion in conservation and the outdoors. Her interest in justice, accessibility, and equity issues developed from her personal experiences facing the unequal representation of people of color in nonprofit and environmental organizations. She has a Master of Natural Resources from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, with a focus in Environmental Education and Interpretation.