Myron Floyd is an environmental sociologist at North Carolina State University. Before taking part in a Zócalo/Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County panel discussion titled “Is Nature Only for White People?” at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, he spoke in the green room about spy novels, coffee drinks, and his first trip to Yosemite.
What’s one of your most memorable experiences in nature?
I think it was 2015 or ’16 when I made my first trip to Yosemite National Park and was just awestruck. I’ve read about it, I’ve taught on it, being in the field that I’m in, but it was my first trip there. And it was just awesome and in some ways overwhelming just to experience that and be there.
What are you reading for pleasure?
I have one book I brought with me and one on my nightstand, The Kremlin’s Candidate, by Jason Matthews. It’s the trilogy of the Red Sparrow, and I read the first one and just kept reading. In my bag is a book that I just bought called White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, so I plan to read that on the way home, on the flight. So that’s pleasure but it’s also professional, given the work that I do.
Do you play a musical instrument?
I wish I could play guitar and piano. I used to sing a little bit, but that was a long time ago, just on Sundays at church.
If you could time-travel, where would you go?
Well, I have to go to the future, to see how we resolve things that we haven’t done right, or found a way to work through in the present time—see how it all turns out. Realistically, I would not want to go to the past. I think we see that.
What do you do to relax?
I walk. I try to run, occasionally. I used to run religiously; I’m slowing down with that. I read. I don’t have as much leisure time as I’d like. I know I need to slow down and enjoy it when I can. But I love spending time with my wife of about 29 years. It’ll be 30 years in March. But I also like sightseeing. I’m not an active hiker or backpacker, that kind of thing, but I do love the outdoors. I do love sightseeing and try to get to as many different places as I can.
What’s your next career?
Barista! I want to make coffee drinks! [Laughs] I can’t imagine doing anything else than what I’m doing. It suits me, has suited me for 25 years.
How’d you get started in academia?
This started in graduate school, in my Master’s program. My advisor at the time basically told me I could do it. I’d never thought about doing it and he basically put it into my head that I could do a Ph.D. And he made a few calls to have a few people look at me, and that’s how I got into it. It suits me. It gives you freedom to create, freedom to explore, but at the same time there is a responsibility to use that and to create opportunities for students and your colleagues.