The environmental group the Sierra Club, which has been around since 1892, has hired the first ever African-American president.
Environmentalist Aaron Mair, the first African-American president of the national board of directors of the Sierra Club, says he will use his appointment to boost diversity in the group’s membership, which currently stands at about two million.
“Nature is the great equalizer. Nature knows no difference between black and white. The biggest challenge the environmental movement faces today is transcending class, gender and the racial divide so we can come together on climate, both domestically and internationally,” said Mair. “I want the Sierra Club to reflect the deep diversity that America has become. We want people of all colors.”
Climate change causes will also be among his top priorities. “Conservation isn’t about climate deniers, it’s about the people bringing about change. The climate movement isn’t about politicians; it’s about the grass roots. That’s why I’m so pleased to blaze this new trail for the Sierra Club,” said Mair, 54.
Mair was first elected to the 15-member Sierra Club board in 2011. Last month the board elected him as president, reports the Times Union.
“This is a historic moment for the Sierra Club,” said Michael Brune, club executive director. “Aaron Mair and the rest of the newly elected officers will lead the Sierra Club in the direction our organization and the climate movement need to go. With their leadership, we’re making progress toward becoming an organization that empowers everyone affected by climate disruption, including those on the front lines of environmental injustice.”