WildEarth Guardians JEDI Vision Statement
Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
WildEarth Guardians works to protect the American West’s landscapes, wildlife, wild rivers, and climate so that future generations of people, plants, and animals can thrive in and be nourished by the natural world. We fight for the rights of nature. We work toward greater respect and support of wildlife, wild places, wild rivers and healthy communities so that the natural and human environment may thrive.
We have always centered our work on defending the rights of nature by protecting the vulnerable and voiceless and confronting the powerful people and unjust systems that stand in the way. We know that the right to a clean and healthy environment, particularly for Indigenous peoples and communities of color within western landscapes, have also been historically and systemically assaulted by powerful people and unjust systems.
This statement affirms our values in connecting our work with social and environmental justice, and outlines our commitments to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
As advocates for justice, we must reflect upon and address the ways in which unequal distribution and consolidation of power and privilege have had–and continue to have–unjust impacts on the interconnected web of people and nature. People and nature have not only a right to exist, but to thrive, and any inequities that impact one impact the whole ecosystem.
We believe that diversity, whether of ecosystems, cultures, or peoples, is a strength. We affirm the right to a clean, safe, and healthy environment. We affirm the right to live free from the threat of ecosystem collapse. We recognize this right is not equally realized among all.
We also recognize that to better support people and nature, we need to build a stronger and more powerful movement. This requires reaching a broader audience and making a more sustaining investment in communities.
Finally, we realize none of this can be achieved if our staff do not thrive. A diverse and thriving staff will help innovate during times of crisis to help solve pressing threats to wildlife and ecosystems.
We take risks, lead the left flank, and are unabashed and audacious in furthering our mission. We acknowledge our work can have adverse impacts in furthering inequities of historic and current colonized systems of concentrated power. We have been called racists, colonialists, and imperialists. We recognize we have benefitted from the unequal distributions and consolidation of power, specifically, the impacts of settler colonialism. We must leverage our position and opportunity to rectify the systemic inequities of historic and current colonized systems of concentrated power. We are still learning.
Many of the judicial and political processes we engage have historically and systemically harmed communities, oftentimes as much as, if not greater than, they have harmed the natural world. For generations, western communities have been assaulted by – among other things – settler colonialism, systemic violence, a massively disproportionate share of toxic pollution, and an unfair political system more responsive to the voices of corporations and executives than to the voices of Indigenous peoples and communities of color.
As advocates, we believe we are well positioned to remedy the impacts of unjust systems, starting with the impacts of settler colonialism on Indigenous peoples in western landscapes. These impacts include dispossession of land, forced assimilation, and stripping of indigenous connections to land, water, and wildlife. One approach may be to advocate for repatriation of land, another may be reconciliation, or reparations in the form of monetary compensation. Or, we may advocate for policies that uphold treaty rights and recognize Indigenous sovereignty.
We have the responsibility and opportunity to address the disproportionate impacts felt by frontline communities—including Black and Brown communities and poor communities—as a result of environmental racism and climate change through legal action and advocacy. No community should bear disproportionate risks of environmental harm due to demographic characteristics or economic conditions.
However, to best leverage our expertise, we must listen, learn, and take action based on what impacted tribes and communities want our role to be, and appropriately and equitably address any tensions that might arise from prioritizing their needs in our work.
- We commit to building a workplace culture of transparency, power sharing, accountability, trust, and collaboration, where we lean into discomfort, change, and tough conversations to ensure everyone feels valued and that they belong at Guardians.
- We commit to continuing to learn about and address the impacts of settler colonialism on Indigenous peoples. We will work to center the perspectives, voices, and needs of Indigenous communities in our litigation and policy advocacy.
- We commit to working in closer partnership with frontline communities (including Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and poor communities) who are disproportionately harmed by existing systems of power, including consumptive, exploitative and extractive economies, to build power for environmental, social, and economic justice. We will strive to become a better ally and accomplice in realigning traditional conservation and environmentalism with the pillars of environmental justice and uplifting the voices of others.
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