Melanin Base Camp, Diversify Outdoors, Climate Champ–Danielle Williams

by | Jul 22, 2022 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Melanin Base Camp, plus Diversify Outdoors, all thanks to climate champion, Danielle Williams!




Harvard grad and parachuting enthusiast Danielle Williams founded Melanin Base Camp in February 2016. According to its website, it’s “your home base for diversity in outdoor adventure sports.” Its purpose is to inspire BIPOCs with weekly content from Black, Latinx, Asian, Indigenous and Queer People of Color who love the outdoors. Join the movement and help us #diversifyoutdoors

The goal is to increase representation: that means being able to scroll through the site and finding someone who looks like you accomplishing goals—big and small—that perhaps you never considered to be an option. MBC wants folks to feel at home outdoors because it knows the power an image has to inspire others, to inspire communities, to shape a sense of self. 

MBC includes a Resource page, where you can find guides, survival tips, best practices and strategies on topics ranging from a Broke Girls Guide to Getting Gear, Four Tips for Confronting Internalized Racism in the Outdoors, to Seven Reasons Why Your Outdoor Friends are not Good Allies. 

Also there’s a kickass film short following Canadian Afro-Indian, Sabrina Chapman as she attempts to join the ranks of elite climbers, scaling her first 5.14a – mountain route. And by “climbing” I don’t mean a difficult hike or trek along a narrow path up a mountain. I mean technical free-climbing. And a class 5 means the “trail” becomes so steep that you need ropes and gear to safely ascend it. 5.14 and up is reserved for elite athletes with years of experience and dedicated training. 

Why does MBC matter to us? Not to sound like a broken record, but really to hammer the point home, the more of us that are more comfortable in the great outdoors, the more likely it is more of us will invest in fighting to save ourselves from the worst effects of climate change.

DEEPER DIVE: MBC, Titan Project


DIVERSIFY OUTDOORS was founded in January 2018 by Harvard grad and former Army Engineer, Danielle Williams. It’s a coalition of outdoor digital media influencers with the shared goal of diversifying access to the outdoors, increasing marginalized communities’ participation in outdoor recreation and increasing representation through story-telling. 

Its coalition members range from individuals who work full-time on organizing and advocating for diversity and equity in the outdoors, as well as individuals who do so while balancing full-time careers in separate fields.  But the one thing they all have in common: they’re leaders in social media advocacy of promoting diversity and equity in the outdoors.

They include groups like Jenny Bruso’s Unlikely Hikers, Hey Flash Foxy, Brown Girls Climb, OUT There Adventures, Brown People Camping, Natives Outdoors, Brothers of Climbing, and The Black Outdoors. Diversify Outdoors works to get its coalition members featured in nationally distributed magazines, newspapers, podcasts, radio shows, documentaries, and digital media. Members also work with retailers and brands as ambassadors and consultants, as well as hold leadership positions in environmental, conservation and outdoors recreation organizations.

According to its website, the #diversifyoutdoors hashtag—has been used over 83K times on Instagram. Why does Diversify Outdoors matter to us? First of all, it’s every human’s right to feel comfortable outside in Nature. The more comfortable the more of us feel outdoors in Nature, the more likely we will invest in saving it, and by default, the climate. Diversify helps relieve the stigma BIPOC outdoors types regularly face when doing outdoor activities, while also dispelling the rumor that outdoorsy BIPOCs are a small tribe.

The site is also a repository for outdoor diversity and inclusion organizations.

DEEPER DIVE: Diversify Outdoors, Twitter, FB, LinkedIn



Danielle Williams is the Founder of and the Senior Editor of blogging platform Melanin Base Camp. Williams likes to say her love of adventure sports began in 2006 when the Army threw her out of her first plane.

Danielle graduated from Harvard in 2008 and spent the next 10 years in the U.S. Army. In 2016, she returned from a deployment and became curious about other people of color who were active in adventure sports. She knew what her community looked like: at the time she was managing Team Blackstar Skydivers which has over 270 skydivers in six countries. However, she wanted to know what it was like for outdoor people of color outsideof the skydiving community.

So she started spending a lot of time on social media searching for people who looked like me—Black, Brown, Asian, Indigenous, queer, straight, cis, trans, visibly Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, plus-sized, straight sized and all kinds of abilities—the goal was to connect with other People of Color who love spending time outdoors. Turns out finding other outdoor people of color was really difficult. She couldn’t find us on the big brand name feeds or even on the outdoor non-profit pages. She was searching for a community of POC adventure athletes that didn’t actually exist yet. 

So Williams founded Melanin Base Camp in February 2016 and Diversify Outdoors in January 2018 in order to increase ethnic minority and LGBTQ+ participation in the outdoors. There was only one problem with that. 

DEEPER DIVE: Diversify Outdoors, Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, MBC, Titan Project