Flock Together aims to tackle the historic exclusion of people of colour from spaces of nature.
For many Black people and other ethnic minority groups, nature spaces can still feel incredibly hostile. Going to the park alone, traveling in small groups, or bird-watching can cause people to stare at you questioningly, call the police or just outright make you feel ‘out of place’. As a nature-loving person of colour, it can feel as though there is a different set of rules you need to abide by. We see this hostility and discriminatory exclusion happen again and again in spaces of nature and communities dedicated to the natural world. For example, the cropping of Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate out of a group photo with Greta Thunberg and three other white female activists. Or, when Christian Cooper, a Black science writer and long-term bird-watcher (he had been President of the Harvard Orthological Club in the 1980s) had the police called on him by Amy Cooper, a white woman.
Though the charges against Amy Cooper have since been dropped, the incident led to the creation of #blackbirdersweek, an initiative to showcase Black birders around the world, and to promote diversity within the sector. The long-term benefits humans get from being outside are well documented, but the reality is that people from ethnic minority groups may miss out on the joys of nature because of discrimination, racism and exclusion [ . . . ]