Outdoor Retailer Industry Lunch: Historic Investments In Climate Change, New Opportunities For Environmental Justice

January 28, 2022

With continued discussion of the Build Back Better plan in Congress, policymakers are responding to the outdoor industry’s call to make historic investments to combat climate change, which is a major existential threat to the outdoors, our communities, and the outdoor recreation economy. These proposed funds are committed to build resilience, promote natural climate solutions, support a Civilian Climate Corps, and accelerate the transition to renewable energy. It is imperative that the passage and eventual implementation of Build Back Better also addresses two other related threats to our industry: the disproportionate impact climate change has on minority and marginalized communities and the need to ensure that the outdoors are open, safe and accessible to all Americans. Join us for an informative discussion with key stakeholders, industry leaders, and representatives from Washington, D.C., on how combating climate change, prioritizing climate action, and ensuring more diversity, equity, and inclusion in the outdoors are intertwined and how you and your business can play a key role in the future of an equitable and healthy outdoors.

Moderator: Rebecca Gillis, State & Local Government Affairs Manager, Outdoor Industry Association 


Congresswoman Nanette Barragán, U.S. Representative for California’s 44th congressional district

Clarence Edwards, Legislative Director, Sustainable Energy and Environment, Friends Committee on National Legislation  

Angelo Villagomez, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress 

Taishya Adams, National Policy and Education Director, Outdoor Afro


Takeaways from the session include:

  • There is intersectionality between investments in climate sustainability and the potential follow-on impacts on environmental justice and outdoor accessibility across the nation. These topics are intertwined with broader conversations about equity in the outdoors, and amongst outdoor industry stakeholders.
  • Other current policy options and efforts in the Biden Administration to further invest in pivotal environmental justice issues include the bipartisan infrastructure law and the Justice40 initiative. The proposed Civilian Climate Corps has a potential role to play in not only on-the-ground conservation and climate mitigation work, but also localized efforts to build out more accessible green space for individuals in nature-starved areas – paving the way for increased equity in the outdoors.
  • Storytelling across diverse communities is an important mechanism for increasing effective advocacy for climate investments.
  • While sometimes daunting, it is critical to talk about climate impacts, environmental justice, and outdoor accessibility to audiences who may have been intimidated or felt unmotivated about climate action and equity.