Racism and racial inequality must be rooted out of the environment and animal welfare movement wherever it is found. We recognise that our sector has not dealt with all forms of systemic racism. In fact, we are at risk of falling far behind. Recent movements such as #BlackLivesMatter, #BlackinNature, #CharitySoWhite, #BlackBirdersWeek and #BlackintheIvory have had a galvanising effect around the world, including within the environment sector.
We have a responsibility to be more proactive in our work against racism. Many of our organisations have programmes to champion Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, but we must do more. We have to listen and act upon what we learn, demonstrate solidarity with the anti-racism movement, and create accessible opportunities to enter, progress and lead in the sector.
We know as an environment and animal welfare movement we are not nearly representative of society. We must proactively diversify our sector, especially in leadership positions. We know that our culture and ways of working can still exclude many people and cultures and we must learn to overcome that. We know that our campaigns and conservation work does not always face up to the links with systemic and historical racism and we must reconsider the way we develop our strategies and work with others.
We also know that the impacts of pollution and other environmental problems often fall most heavily on minority ethnic communities, who are less likely to live in a healthy environment because of racial inequalities. We must continue to reinforce and add to our actions to ensure equitable access to a healthy environment.
While we are all at different stages of our journey we all commit to working much harder to remedy these shortcomings, not simply in response to the anti-racism movement, but because climate and environmental injustice are intrinsically linked to social justice. We must step up and change if we are to have the strength to fight for nature’s needs and people’s needs in every quarter. We owe it to society, we owe it to our supporters and stakeholders, and we owe it to our natural world.
This statement is supported by the following organisations:
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