Hiking While Black
Costumes on parade in England, the Japanese word for sun in the forest, and discussing diversity in outdoor recreation with advocate Chelsea Murphy.
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The citizens of Buckinghamshire, England are getting a little costume history as they take their daily walks. Izabela Pitcher and her husband Lucas are doing weekly "costumed constitutionals" wearing historically accurate outfits from her shop, Prior Attire.
You can guess which era their costumes are from at @izabellapriorattire.
Who would you dress up as on a costumed walk?
Alicia spoke to Chelsea Murphy, who documents her life as an African American woman who loves the outdoors, sustainable living and raising kids who are comfortable in nature at @she_colorsnature on Instagram. In this episode, Chelsea shares practical ways to diversify our sources and social circles, how to make outdoor spaces more welcoming and diverse, how to ease into explore nature and how to navigate the mostly white outdoor spaces as a woman of color.
And make no mistake, outdoor spaces still are overwhelmingly white. Studies from the US Forest Service, National Park Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service all indicate that people of color are severely underrepresented as visitors public lands, with only 1-1.2% of visitors identifying themselves as African-American and 3.8-6.7% Hispanic. (In our interview I quoted the figures listed in this 2019 Resources Mag article, but the studies used data from earlier Census reports.) And don't even get us started on the fact that many of these places contain indigenous places of worship. (Learn more about that in this episode.)
Chelsea discusses some of the reasons for this inequality in our episode. For more info, look to her and to other people of color. Do exactly as Chelsea suggests and diversify your social media feed, your podcast library, your spiritual advisors, your reading list, your contacts and circle of friends. Start with @outdoorafro and @girltrek, which she mentioned in our broadcast. Chelsea also recommends @browngirl_outdoorworld, @faithevebee, @bleavitt8, @jitterbug_art, @kenapeay, and @teresabaker11.
If you're new to the outdoors, Chelsea listed several resources that can help you. Get expert advice from REI, find trails near you with AllTrails, and make sure you're familiar with the Leave No Trace Principles to make sure you're being a good steward of the land.
What about you?
How are you diversifying the voices you listen to? Who are you reading or following?
How are you getting out into nature during social distancing?
What experiences made you interested in the outdoors?
What barriers to outdoor recreation have you observed or experienced?
The way the sunlight looks as it’s filtered through the leaves of the trees
Where have you experienced komorebi?
What's your favorite forest?