Green Groups for Whites Only: Minority enviro accused Bill McKibben, Greenpeace, Sierra Club of racism

A native American environmental activist accused mainstream enviro groups (, Greenpeace, Sierra Club) of exclusionary racism.

In an interview with Africa Report last December (that everyone seems to have missed), Tom Goldtooth, head of the Indigenous Environmental Network recently had this to say about head and anti-Keystone XL pipeline crusader Bill McKibben and fellow white enviros:

[Africa Report:] Youth from all over the world have flown in – yet many lack understanding of the political economy of pollution, both problem and solution. Why is this?

[Goldtooth:] “Look at the role of the WWF-type organisations. These are educators. Al Gore – pushing for the carbon market, he is an educator on the environment and climate. They are slumming it out in Durban, it is fashionable for a young white kid from the US or UK to be concerned about a global poverty issue, not the reality in their own backyards, but somewhere where they can be special, become heroes. We challenged the big organisations with environmental racism – the top ten movements, including Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, to bring our voices to the board, to the way in these campaigns are shaped. They resisted us. Even when they do appoint a person of colour, it is usually from within the mentality of surburbia, so that they are never questioned or taken out of the comfort zone where ‘white is right.’ And these organisations and their narratives are so popular – you have young kids coming, getting their hands dirty. They leave, feeling vindicated, slumming around – as if they have done their share. But this is our life, and that parachuting in and out of communities, the ruckus society, is destructive and presents the distorted reality. We have challenged, and become very unpopular, for raising the issue of classism which is source of the problem and requires an economic analysis if the environmental and climate narrative is to be truthful…. Look at – we had to challenge them to bring us to stand with them on the pipeline issue. Bill McKibben, the ivory tower white academic, didn’t even want to take the time to bring people of colour to the organising. We managed a negotiation that allowed for both groups to unite.


  1. Now if we can just find someone to do a study to prove that environmental organizations aren’t meeting all their PC quotas for multiculturals / LGBTs / Islamics / age diversity / unionism / womyn, maybe the progressives will solve the problem by tearing each other apart while we sit back.

  2. So we need someone to bring the exact same argument to the table but with a different skin color. Does that help anything?

  3. Anyone who had poverty as their REALITY would not advocate increasing poverty to fight a problem which is 100 years off if even real.

    Anyone who had hunger as their REALITY would not advocate turning food into fuel for SUVs.

    etc etc.

    The only problem with the accuser in the above is they advocate the nonsense as well !

  4. Mark | March 21, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Reply
    “So we need someone to bring the exact same argument to the table but with a different skin color. Does that help anything?”

    Nonoy Oplas from the Philipines has been complaining for quite a while about Greenpeace’s meddling there against new power plants. Greenpeace seems to be strong there. Possible case of a German/Western dominated group trying to suppress development in a developing country.
    His blog:

  5. What about Kumi Naidoo? He’s Greenpeace’s executive director, he started as an anti-apartheid, which got him expelled from high school and arrested several times


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