The Post's story on the scarcity of minorities in the environmental movement {Nov. 23} directed attention to an important subject. Minorities are more exposed than other citizens to the hazards posed, for example, by air pollution and toxic waste dumps, so there is an obvious need to involve more minorities in the movement. And like any community, ours benefits from diversifying its work force, especially as we carry the environmental message to people of color around the world.

In fact, many environmental groups are trying hard to solve this problem. The Wilderness Society, for instance, has hired minority interns, set up booths at career fairs hosted by several of the historically black colleges and universities, invited minority luncheon speakers and started meeting with minorities in a variety of other settings, as well. We are working closely with Cuban Americans in Miami in setting up a January conference on the Everglades. Results will not come overnight, so our efforts must be made over the long term.

In recent years we have increased to 15 percent the number of minorities on our staff, and we are determined to keep that percentage rising. In particular, we are eager to hire minorities to work as economists, ecologists, accountants and in other professional positions here.

GEORGE T. FRAMPTON JR. President, The Wilderness Society Washington

Bravo for the young black director of an environmental organization who wants the modest pay, hard work and job satisfaction that come with making the world a better place.

And bravo for The Post for printing the unfounded charges that environmentalists are elitist, because it gives me a foot in the door for a recruitment pitch. Yes, we care about wilderness, but not because we love birds and bunnies more than people. Bird population loss is a sign, like canaries in the mines, that means people are the next to go -- unless we act to correct the problems. As one of the first environmentalists, Chief Sealth, said, "Man is just a strand in the web of life. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself." But most of our projects are not focused on birds. Rather they are focused on the direct impact on humans posed by toxic air pollutants and other hazards that hurt poor communities more than affluent ones.

So while it is true that the Sierra Club is mostly white, professional and affluent, we are eager to involve more enthusiastic, practical idealists of all colors, ages and abilities in our efforts.

CHARLIE GARLOW Membership Chair, Rock Creek Group Sierra Club Takoma Park