Inauguration Day: it’s about affirmation and recommitment
Presidential inaugurations are celebrated with parades, performances and all-night parties. But an inauguration’s real purpose—and the only element mandated by the U.S. Constitution—is for the new president to stand before all and take a public oath to “faithfully execute the Office of President […and…] preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” The Conservation Lands Foundation staff want to mark this Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017, by affirming our committment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, as well as our guiding principles and vision that will steer our work over the next four years.
We have wide-ranging and likely unimaginable opportunities ahead. As the only nonprofit in the country solely dedicated to protecting the National Conservation Lands, our mission is to protect, restore and expand the National Conservation Lands through education, advocacy and partnerships. In pursuit of this mission, we are united in this vision and guiding principles:
The Conservation Lands Foundation believes in a just, equitable and sustainable future for our lands, waters, wildlife and for all people. America’s public lands belong to all of us and must benefit all of us as they reveal our history, tell our stories, celebrate the diversity of our country and honor the myriad of ways we find connection and meaning in these unique places. We stand with frontline communities seeking fundamental human rights of freedom, justice and equal protection under the law. In the pursuit of our mission and daily work, we are dedicated to building an inclusive future for all communities.
As Board and Staff of the Conservation Lands Foundation, we:
- believe in the power of citizen-organizing for social change;
- commit to empowering broad and diverse local voices to advance grassroots advocacy for our public lands and frontline communities;
- expect to receive and extend honesty, integrity, trust and mutual respect for each other and will develop partner relationships based on these values.
Our work will be done when the National Conservation Lands represent the diversity of our nation and include the most ecologically, culturally and historically significant lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management; and it will be done when lands included in the National Conservation Lands are inclusive of all people, provide equitable access and are guaranteed protections of their ecological and cultural resources. We have made tremendous progress, and today, we recommit to upholding the conservation gains we’ve worked so hard to achieve to ensure the National Conservation Lands are not undermined. Together with our grassroots partners across the country, we will ensure that:
- The National Conservation Lands are upheld as a permanent system of protected lands.
- Attempts to weaken the Antiquities Act are defeated.
- Attempts to weaken or degrade the management and conservation standards of the National Conservation Lands are defeated.
- A diverse, organized and influential constituency is working cohesively to protect current and future National Conservation Lands.
This last priority, about developing a “diverse, organized and influential constituency,” will make achieving all the others possible. It’s about people, and creating opportunities for all people to actively protect natural beauty, clean air, watersheds, and wildlife and help tell and preserve stories about human history and culture. The Conservation Lands Foundation has and will continue to do this with broad partnerships and a Friends Grassroots Network made up of 65 impressive and tireless local non-profits advocating for “their” unique place.
In his farewell address, President Obama urged all of us to “Show up. Dive in. Stay at it.” On this inauguration day, and on all the days that lie ahead, there is just one response: “We’re in.”
More related stories from our blog:
- A Proud Day for Conservation, and for America: Obama Designates Five National Monuments
- Obama Protects Bears Ears and Gold Butte National Monument
- We Support Elevating Native American Voices, Including Those at Standing Rock
- Guest Blog: Making Sure the Next 100 Years of Conservation is Reflective of All Americans
- Happy Birthday to One of America’s Most Important Laws: The Antiquities Act
- Ideas That Endure…and Keep us Going
(Photos: President Herbert Hoover’s inauguration, Library of Congress collection; petroglyphs at Gold Butte National Monument, Nevada; Fisherman hoist their catch, Nevada circa 1920, courtesy of UNLV historical photo collection)