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:
In this section:
“Greenpeace values the role that Link plays in convening for wildlife groups in the UK. Without it there would be no common umbrella for the groups engaged to work on issues of common interest” Doug Parr, Chief Scientist and Policy Director, Greenpeace UK
“The National Trust sees Wildlife and Countryside Link as a valued partner in making the case for the importance of the natural environment to politicians and policy makers” Dame Helen Ghosh DCB, former Director General, National Trust
“Wildlife and Countryside Link is a highly effective coalition bringing together a wide range of voices to speak on behalf of the natural environment. In this complex and politically driven world we need our individual voices to find as many ways as possible of coming together to achieve a united powerful and influential champion for the environment” Martin Spray OBE, Chief Executive, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
“The RSPCA appreciates the work of Link as it enables us to work in a broad coalition with many other groups we would not normally liaise with, to give clear hard hitting arguments to government and other policy makers with the backing of millions of supporters” David Bowles, Head of Public Affairs, RSPCA
“The ability of the Wildlife Gardening Forum to engage with the wider body of environmental organisations in the UK - both large and small - is greatly enhanced by membership of Link. Being members enables us to work with these organisations to provide its support to Link campaigns and the responses that Link co-ordinates to national and international consultations” Dr Andrew Salisbury, Chair, Wildlife Gardening Forum
“We are a small/medium sized organisation with a very wide ranging remit. We simply don’t have the resources to keep abreast of all the policy areas that impact on our work and make a meaningful response to each one. Link keep us informed of current policy debates and when and how to influence them. We gain enormously by being able to feed our views in where it most matters to us and review the considered responses proposed by Link so that we can add our support appropriately” Jill Nelson, Chief Executive, Peoples Trust for Endangered Species
“ClientEarth often partners with Link’s members and these partnerships ensure each organisation works together for the best possible environmental outcome. For example, campaigns and research by other Link members can be strengthened through our legal and scientific arguments” Catherine Weller, Wildlife Conservation Project Leader, Client Earth