The recovery of whale populations is key to mitigating climate change.
Climate change disproportionately impacts communities of color.
The whale world is disproportionately white.
None of this has been lost on many of us in the whale world. I have had numerous conversations with colleagues over the years contemplating the lack of diversity in our field, perplexed as to why whale research and conservation does not attract a more diverse group of candidates. Is it the low pay typically offered by non-profits? Is it the unpaid internships that are most often the doorway to jobs in the field? Is it the cost of living and housing in the beach communities or metro areas where many of the research or conservation organizations are located? Or is it that we have unwittingly held a private party for years and expected uninvited communities of color to find us?
All of the above but especially the latter. We have prided ourselves on our doors being open to all, but have never sent out an invitation or offered support to get there. I am sorry.
Sorry, however, is not enough. We need to make changes and I don’t pretend to know what they will all be, and how they will all work. I can only promise you that WDC is committed to learning, changing, inviting, recruiting, and retaining, a more diverse workforce, internship, and supporter base. Whales are important to our planet- to our own survival- not just to some subset of the human race, but all of it.