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The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, and the ongoing violence and oppression endured by communities of color have caused terrible hurt and triggered ever louder, rightful demands for change. Racism, prejudice, and mistreatment of people of color have no place in a peaceful society and yet are still woven into our institutions.
Environmental conservation and racism are intersecting issues. The colonizing attitudes and behaviors that have damaged the earth are mirrored in our society’s racism, and the toll of environmental damage is most heavily exacted on marginalized peoples. The effort to save our natural world and the fight to address climate change must join in support of Black Lives Matter to sow love and reconciliation.
Our field of natural resource conservation is dominated by white faces and perspectives. We must educate ourselves on these topics, work towards increasing diversity, and demand changes from our own organizations and those with which we interact. Environmental conservation requires environmental justice.
We have work to do. IAE has joined forces with other environmental nonprofits and agencies to promote equity, diversity and inclusion in our organizations individually and collectively.
At IAE, we seek systemic changes in ourselves, our organization, and our community. We are learning to interrupt racist behavior, restructure power, and end privilege.
Many of us want immediate change and greater accountability from ourselves, our leaders, our society, and those who are sworn to protect us. We’re marching, listening and speaking out. And we want to hear from you about how we can be better allies. We know we will make mistakes, but we will not remain silent.
I wish you all the best in this difficult and transformative time. I’m confident that we stand together in support of positive change.
Tom Kaye, Executive Director