Dorceta E. Taylor is an environmental sociologist known for her work on both environmental justice and racism in the environmental movement. She is the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Michigan’s School of Environment and Sustainability (SEAS), where she also serves as the James E. Crowfoot Collegiate Professor of Environmental Justice. Taylor's research has ranged over environmental history, environmental justice, environmental policy, leisure and recreation, gender and development, urban affairs, race relations, collective action and social movements, green jobs, diversity in the environmental field, food insecurity, and urban agriculture.
Dorceta E. Taylor
|Occupation||Environmental sociologist and historian|
|Alma mater||Yale University|
|Institutions||University of Michigan|
|Main interests||environmental justice and environmental racism|
|Notable works||People and the Environment in American Cities, 1600s-1900s, Toxic Communities|
|Notable ideas||environmental privilege|
A distinguished  scholar of environmental justice, Taylor's work in the field has garnered numerous awards. Her pioneering  2009 book, The Environment and the People in American Cities: 1600s-1900s, was the first comprehensive history of environmental injustice in America. Her popular 2014 book Toxic Communities has been hailed as a "standard-bearer" for environmental justice scholarship. Her most recent book, The Rise of the American Conservation Movement is a groundbreaking "sweeping social history" that challenges the dominant narrative of environmental history and inspires readers to "reconsider nearly everything" they think they know about the field.
Early life and educationEdit
Taylor was born and raised in rural Jamaica. She earned a bachelor's of arts in Geography and Biology (with honors) from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago in 1983. She obtained a master's of forest science from Yale University in 1985. She followed with a master's of art and a master's of philosophy in 1987. She received dual doctoral degrees from Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (F&ES) and the Department of Sociology in 1991. She was the first African American woman to earn a doctoral degree from F&ES.
Taylor received a National Science Foundation Minority Post-doctoral Fellowship in 1991 to study ethnic minority environmental activism in Britain. She affiliated with the University College of London's Department of Geography while she conducted her research. In 1992 she obtained a Ford Foundation/Rockefeller Foundation Poverty and the Underclass Post-doctoral Fellowship at the University of Michigan. The appointment was jointly held between the Ford School of Public Policy and the School of Social Work.
In 2010, she won the Allan Schnaiberg Outstanding Publication Award for the book, Environment and the People in American Cities, 1600s-1900s: Disorder, Inequality, and Social Change (Duke University Press, 2009). Taylor was the chair of the Environment and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association from 2012-2013.
In 2012 Taylor became the principal investigator of a five-year United States Department of Agriculture grant to study racial and class disparities in food access in the state of Michigan.
In 2014, she was celebrated by the city of San Francisco as one of 29 black environmentalists who have made “real and lasting change”.
In 2015, Taylor became the James E. Crowfoot Collegiate Professor of Environmental Justice and the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Michigan's School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS).
In 2018, she was celebrated by a wide range of the world's most prominent environmental organizations. She was awarded the Women in Conservation Rachel Carson Award from the National Audubon Society, the Freudenburg Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Environmental Science and Studies, the National Science Foundation's Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics & Engineering, Mentoring (PAESMEM), the University of Michigan Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award, and the President's Award from the Detroit Audubon Society.
Work on diversity in environmental organizationsEdit
Taylor's work on racial exclusion in the environmental movement began in 1989, with her article "Blacks and the Environment: Toward an Explanation of the Concern and Action Gap between Blacks and Whites", and she authored numerous articles on the subject in the early 1990s. In 2014, Taylor authored a groundbreaking report on diversity in environmental organizations. The report's findings, that environmental organizations were failing to represent the diverse American population in their leadership, aroused a firestorm of controversy. The report was commissioned by the Green 2.0 diversity initiative, which continues to track diversity data for the 40 largest environmental organization. To expand on this work, in 2018, Taylor published an updated report that examined the status of diversity in over 2,000 American environmental nonprofits and the extent to which they report their demographic characteristics and diversity activities on the GuideStar reporting system.
With funding from the Joyce Foundation, Taylor founded the Multicultural Environmental Leadership Development Initiative in 2003. In 2005 she organized a national conference and in 2007 an international one for the purpose of assessing the status of diversity in the environmental field and to plan for enhancing diversity in the future. Several papers presented at the 2007 conference were published in the book, Environment and Social Justice: An International Perspective.
Taylor also conducted four studies of diversity, funded by the Joyce Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the National Science Foundation, and published in BioScience, Journal of Environmental Education, Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, and Environmental Practice.
Environmental Fellows ProgramEdit
In 2015, Taylor launched the Environmental Fellows Program in partnership with the Environmental Grantmakers Association. The Environmental Fellows Program (EFP) is a national program that seeks to diversify the environmental and conservation philanthropic field through 12-week paid summer internships for graduate students at partner foundations and nonprofit organizations. Funders of the program include C.S. Mott, Island Foundation, New York Community Trust, Pisces Foundation, and more. The program aims to reduce barriers to entry for mid-level and senior-level jobs in environmental organizations and foundations for professionals from underrepresented backgrounds by connecting them to mentors and giving them experience in the field.
Doris Duke Conservation Scholars ProgramEdit
Also in 2015, Taylor began the University of Michigan branch of the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program (DDCSP), funded by the Doris Duke Foundation. This program is a 2-summer internship aimed at diversifying the conservation sector by giving opportunities to students from underrepresented backgrounds in the field and those committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Through this experience, approximately 20 undergraduates gain experience each summer through one summer of lab research at the University of Michigan and an additional summer of an internship with environmental groups.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion ConferencesEdit
In 2018, the inaugural New Horizons in Conservation Conference - spearheaded by Taylor and her team - took place in Washington, DC. More than 200 students, faculty, Environmental Program and Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program alumni, and leading conservation professionals—the majority of them people of color—gathered to "celebrate and assess" diversity, equity, and inclusion in the environmental sector, marking a milestone in conservation history. "The students and young professionals who attended this conference represent the future of conservation," Taylor said of the conference, "They are multicultural, multi-faceted, and talented, and they are poised to take on leadership roles in this sector. Diversity benefits us all, and there is strength in it." Programming included an extensive speaker series, community building, and career and academic development for program alumni. The second annual New Horizons in Conservation Conference is planned to take place in Chicago, Illinois in April 2019.
Work on environmental justiceEdit
Taylor's award-winning book, The Environment and the People in American Cities (Duke University Press, 2009), focused on the environmental challenges American cities faced in the 17th through 20th centuries. She documented the race, class, and gender dynamics that arose as urban dwellers tried to deal with environmental problems. The book also demonstrated that from the outset environmental inequalities arose in American cities and were perpetuated in deliberate and unintentional ways. An "ambitious" and 'impressive" work covering 500 years of history, The Environment and the People in American Cities is the first of three books, while the second of the series, The Rise of the American Conservation Movement (Duke University Press), was released in 2016. In it, she examines the emergence and rise of the American conservation movement from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, demonstrating how race, class, and gender influenced every aspect of the movement from the establishment of parks to outdoor recreation and forest conservation; and the movement's links to nineteenth century ideologies. "Far-ranging," "nuanced," and "comprehensive," one scholar suggested that The Rise of the American Conservation Movement documents the movement in ways that will inspire readers to reconsider what they have been previously taught about environmental history.
Taylor's second book and third piece of her series, Toxic Communities: Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution, and Residential Mobility (New York University Press, 2014) chronicles the contamination of minority and low income communities in the U.S. It examines seven different theories that have been used to explain why racial minorities and the poor are often found living adjacent to toxic facilities or undesirable land uses, and particularly challenges the assumption that minority communities have the requisite mobility to move away from such facilities. Grounded in practical examples, the book documents how the history of racially discriminatory housing policies has effectively forced minorities into proximity with polluting industries. The book incorporates insights from sociology and the study of urban development that had previously been ignored in environmental justice scholarship. One scholar suggested that, in view of Taylor's comprehensive treatment of the early history of the American environmental justice movement, her book should be "the last" to review that history in such detail, as future writers could simply refer parenthetically to her work.
Work on food insecurityEdit
In a project running from 2012 to 2018, Taylor is collaborating with researchers from Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, University of Michigan-Flint, Lake Superior State University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison to work on a project that examines food insecurity in Michigan. A comprehensive website for the initiative, known as Food Access in Michigan or FAIM, launched in August 2018. The study examines the relationship between demographic characteristics and the distribution of food outlets in 18 small and medium-sized cities in the state. It also examines effective nutrition and behavioral interventions, and mechanisms for enhancing access to food and participation in local food initiatives. These issues are being studied in Sault Ste. Marie, Brimley/ Bay Mills, and St. Ignace - towns in the Upper Peninsula; Holland, Muskegon, Benton Harbor, and Grand Rapids in the west; Flint, Saginaw, Lansing, and Kalamazoo in the central part; and Ypsilanti, Taylor, Southfield, Warren, Pontiac, Inkster, and Dearborn in the southeast. These cities have large populations of one or more of the following racial and ethnic groups: Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians, and Arabs.
Awards and recognitionEdit
- National Science Foundation Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics & Engineering Mentoring, 2018
- Freudenburg Lifetime Achievement Award, Association of Environmental Science and Studies, 2018 
- Women in Conservation Rachel Carson Award, the National Audubon Society, 2018 
- President's Award from the Detroit Audubon Society 
- University of Michigan Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award, 2018
- Burton V. Barnes Award for Academic Excellence, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter, 2017 
- Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies Outstanding Alumni Award, 2015 
- Fred Buttel Distinguished Contribution Award, American Sociological Association, 2015 
- Black Environmentalists During Black History Month, San Francisco, 2014
- Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award, University of Michigan, 2012
- Allan Schnaiberg Outstanding Publication Award for book, Environment and the People in American Cities, 1600s-1900s: Disorder, Inequality, and Social Change, The Environment and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association, 2010
- Telluride Honors Program Summer Teaching Fellow. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2010
- Edward P. Bass Distinguished Visiting Environmental Scholars Program fellowship, Yale University, 2005
- Biography included in the Directory of American Scholars, 11th ed., Gale Group, MI: Farmington Hills, 2001
- Recognition of Leadership in the Yale Forest Forum and the Seventh Forest Congress, Forest Congress Board,1996
- Profiled in the National Research Council's Excellence Through Diversity: Profiles of Forty-Two Ford Foundation Fellows, Washington, D.C., 1996
- Recognition for Outstanding Environmental Achievement, Northeastern Illinois University,1993
- Recognition for Distinguished Service to the University and to Higher Education, Northeastern Illinois University, 1993
- Taylor, D.E. (2016). The Rise of the American Conservation Movement: Power, Privilege, and Environmental Protection. Duke University Press.
- Taylor, D.E. (2014). Toxic Communities: Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution, and Residential Mobility. New York University Press.
- Taylor, D.E. (2009). The Environment and the People in American Cities: 1600s-1900s. Disorder, Inequality and Social Change. Durham Duke University.
- Taylor, D.E. (2018). "Racial and Ethnic Differences in Connectedness to Nature and Landscape Preferences Among College Students." Environmental Justice. 11(3): 118-136. https://doi.org/10.1089/env.2017.0040
- Taylor, D.E. (2018). "Black Farmers in the U.S. and Michigan: Longevity, Empowerment, and Food Sovereignty." Journal ofAfrican American Studies. 22(2). doi:10.1007/s12111-018-9394-8.
- Burdine, J and Taylor, D.E. (2018). "Neighborhood Characteristics and Urban Gardens in the Toledo Metropolitan Area: Staffing and Voluntarism, Food Production, Infrastructure, and Sustainability Practices." Local environment. 22(2): 198-219. doi:10.1080/13549839.2017/1397614.
- Taylor, D.E. (2017). "Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Students' Readiness, Identity, Perceptions of Institutional Diversity, and Desire to Join the Environmental Workforce". Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. 8(2): 152-168. doi:10.1007/s13412-017-0447-4.
- Taylor, D.E. (2015). "Gender and Racial Diversity in Conservation Organizations: Uneven Accomplishments and Cause for Concern." Environmental Justice. 8(5): 165-180. https://doi.org/10.1089/env.2015.0018
- Taylor DE (2011). "The Evolution of Environmental Justice Activism, Research, and Scholarship". Environmental Practice. 13 (4): 280–301. doi:10.1017/s1466046611000329.
- Taylor D.E. (2011). "Racial and Gender Differences in Job Mobility and Wages of Employees in Environmental Organizations". Environmental Practice. 13 (4): 370–385. doi:10.1017/s146604661100038x.
- Taylor D.E. (2011). "Green Jobs and the Potential to Diversify the Environmental Workforce". Utah Environmental Law Review. 30 (2): 47–77.
- Taylor D.E. (2010). "Introduction". Research in Social Problems and Public Policy. 18: 3–28.
- Taylor D.E. (2010). "Equity, Influence and Access: Central Park's Role in Historical and Contemporary Urban Park Financing". Research in Social Problems and Public Policy. 18: 29–74.
- Gin J., Taylor D.E. (2010). "Movements, Neighborhood Change and the Media: Newspaper Coverage of Anti-gentrification Activities in the San Francisco Bay Area. 1995-2005". Research in Social Problems and Public Policy. 18: 75–114.
- Chitewere T., Taylor D.E. (2010). "Sustainable Living and Community Building in EcoVillage at Ithaca: The Challenges of Incorporating Social Justice Concerns into the Practices of an Ecological Cohousing Community". Research in Social Problems and Public Policy. 18: 141–176.
- Freeman S., Taylor D.E. (2010). "Heritage Tourism: A Mechanism to Facilitate the Preservation of Black Family Farms". Research in Social Problems and Public Policy. 18: 261–285.
- Lashley S., Taylor D.E. (2010). "Why Can't They Work Together? A Framework for Understanding Conflict and Collaboration in Two Environmental Disputes in Southeast Michigan". Research in Social Problems and Public Policy. 18: 409–449.
- Taylor, D.E. (2008). Diversity and the Environment: Myth-Making and the Status of Minorities in the Field. Research in Social Problems and Public Policy 15, pp. 89–148.
- Taylor D.E. (2007). "Employment Preferences and Salary Expectations of Students in Science and Engineering". BioScience. 57 (2): 175–185. doi:10.1641/b570212.
- Taylor D.E. (2007). "Diversity and Equity in Environmental Organizations: The Salience of These Factors to Students". Journal of Environmental Education. 39 (1): 19–43. doi:10.3200/joee.39.1.19-44.
- Taylor, D.E. (2002). Race, Class, Gender and Environmentalism. U.S.D.A., Forest Service, PNW-GTR 534, Washington: Seattle.
- Taylor D.E. (2000). "Meeting the Challenge of Wild Land Recreation Management: Demographic Shifts and Social Inequality". Journal of Leisure Research. 32 (1): 171–179. doi:10.1080/00222216.2000.11949910.
- Taylor, D.E.., ed (2000). Advances in Environmental Justice: Research, Theory and Methodology, American Behavioral Scientist 43.
- Taylor D.E. (2000). "The Rise of the Environmental Justice Paradigm: Injustice Framing and the Social Construction of Environmental Discourses". American Behavioral Scientist. 43 (4): 508–580. doi:10.1177/0002764200043004003.
- Taylor D.E. (2000). "Introduction". American Behavioral Scientist. 43 (4): 504–507. doi:10.1177/00027640021955423.
- Taylor D.E. (2000). "Advances in Environmental Justice: Research, Theory and Methodology". American Behavioral Scientist. 43 (4): 508–580. doi:10.1177/0002764200043004003.
- Taylor D.E. (1999). "Central Park as a Model for Social Control: Urban Parks, Social Class and Leisure Behavior in Nineteenth-Century America". Journal of Leisure Research. 31 (4): 420–477. doi:10.1080/00222216.1999.11949875.
- Taylor D.E. (1998). "The Urban Environment: The Intersection of White Middle Class and White Working Class Environmentalism (1820-1950s)". Advances in Human Ecology. 7: 207–292.
- Taylor D.E. (1997). "American Environmentalism: The Role of Race, Class and Gender. 1820-1995". Race, Gender and Class. 5 (1): 16–62.
- Taylor, D.E. and Winter, P. (1995). Environmental Values, Ethics, and Depreciative Behavior in Wildland Settings. U.S.D.A. Pacific Southwest Research Station. General Technical Report PSW-156.
- Taylor D.E. (1993). "Minority Environmental Activism in Britain: From Brixton to the Lake District". Qualitative Sociology. 16 (3): 263–295. doi:10.1007/bf00990102.
- Taylor D.E. (1989). "Blacks and the Environment: Towards an Explanation of the Concern and Action Gaps between Blacks and Whites". Environment and Behavior. 21 (2): 175–205. doi:10.1177/0013916589212003.
- Taylor D.E. (1988). "Environmental Education in Jamaica: The Implementation Gap between Policymakers, Teachers, and Students". The Journal of Environmental Education. 20 (1): 22–28. doi:10.1080/00958964.1988.9942777.
- Lisa Sun-Hee Park, David N. Pellow (2013). The Slums of Aspen: Immigrants Vs. the Environment in America’s Eden. p. 25. ISBN 1479834769.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
- "Dorceta E. Taylor". University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
- Lindsey Dillon (2015-05-19). "Book review: Toxic Communities: Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution, and Residential Mobility". Urban Studies. 52 (9): 1745–1746. doi:10.1177/0042098015580756.
- Brentin Mock (2014-07-29). "Think people of color don't care about the environment? Think again". Grist.
- "The Rise of the American Conservation Movement". Duke University Press. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
- Timothy Brown (2017-10-05). "A Voice for Equity and Justice In the Environmental Movement".
- Dorceta E. Taylor (September 1993). "Minority environmental activism in Britain: From Brixton to the Lake District". Qualitative Sociology. 16 (3): 295.
- "Awards Recipients History". American Sociological Association. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
- "Examining Disparities in Food Access of Underserved Populations in Michigan". Current Research Information System. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
- "Celebrating Black Environmentalists During Black History Month". City of San Francisco. 2014-02-10. Archived from the original on 2014-08-03.
- "Dr. Dorceta Taylor awarded the 2018 Rachel Carson Award by National Audubon | University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability". seas.umich.edu. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
- "Freudenburg - AESSOnline.org". AESSOnline.org. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
- "You're invited to the 2018 Conservation Awards Ceremony and Reception! | Detroit Audubon". www.detroitaudubon.org. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
- Taylor, D. E. (1989). "Blacks and the Environment: Toward an Explanation of the Concern and Action Gap between Blacks and Whites". Environment and Behavior. 21 (2): 175–205. doi:10.1177/0013916589212003.
- Brentin Mock (2014-07-31). "Are There Two Different Versions of Environmentalism, One "White," One "Black"?". Mother Jones.
- Marianne LeVine (2014-07-28). "Minorities aren't well represented in environmental groups, study says". Los Angeles Times.
- Taylor, Dorceta (2018-01-25). Diversity in Environmental Organizations Reporting and Transparency.
- "Multicultural Environmental Leadership Development Initiative". Retrieved 2017-11-20.
- Dorceta E. Taylor (2010). Environment and Social Justice: An International Perspective. p. 19. ISBN 0857241834.
- "Dorceta E. Taylor". Michigan Experts. University of Michigan. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
- "Welcome". Environmental Fellows Program. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
- "New Fellowships Take on Lack of Diversity in Environmentalism and Philanthropy". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
- "Planting the Seeds of Inclusion in Environmental Philanthropy (SSIR)". Retrieved 2018-08-31.
- "Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program | Strengthening the Conservation Field | Doris Duke Charitable Foundation". www.ddcf.org. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
- "Program Overview". DDCSP UM. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
- "2018 New Horizons in Conservation: Addressing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Challenges Conference | University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability". seas.umich.edu. Retrieved 2018-09-04.
- Kimberly K. Smith (2011-03-29). "Dorceta E. Taylor, The environment and the people in American cities, 1600s–1900s: disorder, inequality, and social change". Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. 1 (1): 95–97. doi:10.1007/s13412-011-0005-4.
- Stewart Barr (December 2011). "The Environment and the People in American Cities, 1600s-1900s: Disorder, Inequality and Social Change by Dorceta E. Taylor". Urban Studies. 48 (16): 3631–3633. doi:10.1177/004209801142379. JSTOR 43082063.
- Nathaniel Umukoro (2015-03-17). "Toxic communities: environmental racism, industrial pollution, and residential mobility". Ethnic & Racial Studies. 38 (13): 2479–2480. doi:10.1080/01419870.2015.1015936.
- Rubin Patterson (2016-10-27). "Dorceta Taylor: Toxic Communities, Environmental Racism, Industrial Pollution, and Residential Mobility". Human Ecology. 44 (6): 783–784. doi:10.1007/s10745-016-9853-6.
- Kevin Merill; Jim Erickson (July 2013). "U-Mich Researchers to Study Food Insecurity Across Michigan". Retrieved 2017-11-20.
- "Sierra Club - Michigan Chapter News Releases". sierraclubmichigannews.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
- "Alumni Return 'Home' for F&ES Reunion Weekend 2015". environment.yale.edu. Retrieved 2018-08-31.