Ecological Restoration Requires Racial Justice
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
SER stands united with those demonstrating peacefully to speak out against racism and injustice wherever they occur. Too often and in too many places across the world, environmental injustice and racial injustice go hand in hand, from the murders of indigenous environmental leaders working to protect the Amazon, to the poisoned water of Flint, Michigan in the US. Black ecologists, biologists, and restorationists in the US often put themselves in jeopardy just doing their jobs, especially field work, let alone the racism they face in every other aspect of their daily lives. Here in the US we know that the conservation movement is not as diverse as it should and could be. SER is committed to continuing to engage all people and all sectors in restoration, including creating and providing resources to encourage active, empowered, and rewarding participation in restoration (and related careers) to underserved, underrepresented, and disenfranchised communities throughout the world.
When environmental injustice prevails, both conservation and restoration falter. When conservation and restoration falter, everyone suffers. Restoration cannot be implemented without inclusion – and that means including everyone. It is the very first principle in the SER International Principles and Standards for the Practice of Ecological Restoration.
For ecological restoration to succeed, everyone, everywhere should be safe and welcome in the natural world. For the US experiment to succeed, black people should be safe and welcome in their jobs, in our communities, while walking or jogging on the street, while bird or wildlife watching, while engaging in nature-based careers, and while just being. All minorities across the globe should feel that same safety, but unfortunately that is not the case today. For these reasons, SER is proud to stand in solidarity with peaceful demonstrators for an equitable, inclusive, just, and ecologically healthy global society.
||Chair, Board of Directors