The Endangered Species Coalition believes that in order to truly protect our natural environment and biodiversity, the environmental movement must work in meaningful collaboration with all members of our society. All the world’s people are impacted by the loss of biodiversity and, therefore, must be included and have a say in how we respond, especially the front line communities most vulnerable to environmental collapse. We know that our movement and our organization is stronger when we are unified and inclusive in our mission. Inclusivity means we will enhance our ability to attract people with cultural and historical differences to our board and staff. Incorporating diverse perspectives will enable ESC to face challenges in a more global, creative way. By working with diverse individuals, communities, and groups, ESC is open to new opportunities to continuously reassess historical and contemporary injustices. We remain conscious of areas where acknowledgement, growth, and change are necessary and attainable.
The Endangered Species Coalition acknowledges that in order to effectively conserve the diversity of life within our nation, we must build a movement that represents and reflects all people within the United States. In order to do this, we must first acknowledge the wrongs of the past, and the inequitable impact of these wrongs on the present.
We acknowledge the discriminatory practices perpetrated by society as a whole. In that spirit we acknowledge the systemic exclusivity of the environmental movement, and recognize that the impacts of environmental degradation disproportionately affect women, youth and people of color. We acknowledge the theft of millions of acres of sacred indigenous lands and the lands of people of color, including theft in the name of conservation. Finally, we acknowledge the ongoing impacts of historic racism and colonial culture that reside in our own organization.
ESC’S ROLE and COMMITMENT
ESC As An Institution
The Endangered Species Coalition’s mission is to stop the human-caused extinction of our nation’s at-risk species, to protect and restore their habitats, and to guide these fragile populations along the road to recovery. The Endangered Species Coalition uses grassroots mobilization, education, and targeted campaigns to enable every American to participate in actions that impact the democratic political process. We raise up individuals and partners as spokespeople. As part of our internal work, we will endeavor to encourage diversity within our internal practices, the voices we feature and amplify, and the partners whom we engage with.
We believe that it is our responsibility to demonstrate and communicate a) that every person has the right to the beauty of nature, and to natural systems that are functional and intact – and b) that impacts to the most vulnerable plants and animals are linked to impacts on the most vulnerable communities. When biodiversity suffers, vulnerable communities are hurt “first and worst.” Furthermore, the forces—namely an underlying culture of dominance—that diminishes thriving, healthy communities are the same as the forces that diminish thriving, healthy biodiversity. We face some of the same opponents—industries and organizations that prioritize values that are harmful to nature and to vulnerable communities. In order to fulfill our duty to be a part of the conversation and to address systemic problems, we will be a voice that speaks to and spreads awareness about the link between environmental concerns and social justice issues.
ESC As A Coalition
After we ensure that our organization internally has an ongoing commitment to implement DEI principles ourselves, we may serve as a model. As a coalition, we have a unique opportunity to grow our community to be reflective of the diversity of our country. We are also in a position to disseminate, support, and encourage the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work of other nonprofit organizations. To support our coalition’s implementation of DEI principles, we will actively broaden diverse representation of organizations within the coalition and provide our platform to groups who model diversity and cross-sectionality.
ESC & the Broader Community
In our work, ESC builds relationships and partners with many entities, including frontline communities. We seek opportunities for building “a big tent” and finding the nexus for magnifying our joint impact. For instance, we bring stakeholders such as tribal members, youth, businesses and conservation groups together to address overlapping problems. In order to build bridges between ESC and the broader community, we will listen to and support communities who may not have been included or accounted for within the environmental movement.