Inspiration… and our intention to see it grow
A year ago, we wrote about the civil rights movement and how the extraordinary leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. also inspired people who came after him—by about a decade—to pursue environmental justice, protect the natural world, and pass laws such the Clean Water Act, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Wilderness Act and others. These were historic laws designed to ensure every American the right to clean water, air and “untrammeled” places.
One of the great aspects of celebrating and honoring Dr. King has to do with that broad concept of inspiration. Inspired by this great American, people choose the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday to do community projects or spend a day in service to others. Entire corporations, colleges, and civic organizations marked the holiday by giving people in these communities an opportunity to serve the greater good—and be inspired by the impact they have working together.
In 2015 the staff and board of the Conservation Lands Foundation were inspired to launch what we consider one of our most important initiatives: a Diversity Initiative, with an over-arching vision for the conservation community to reflect the diversity of our nation. We believe there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations in our country and community, and we need to actively identify and eliminate barriers to ensure their full participation in the work we do.
We also believe diversity is essential in achieving our mission to protect, restore and expand the National Conservation Lands through partnerships. Diversity inspires and yields more creative, collaborative, synergistic and effective outcomes. And it’s necessary for CLF in order to continue as a leading organization of the conservation movement—necessary if we are to find and sustain the inspiration it takes to achieve great conservation for our country’s public lands and people.
In broad terms, diversity is any dimension that can be used to differentiate groups and people from one another. It means respect for and appreciation for these differences in such a way to foster productive dialogue among various viewpoints. Dimensions of diversity include but are not limited to differences in age, color, disability, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, physical and mental ability, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, veteran status, and other characteristics that make people unique.
But it’s more than this. We all bring with us diverse perspectives, work experiences, lifestyles and cultures. Embracing these differences drives innovation and allows our organization to thrive. We are also seeking inclusion, which is a state of being valued, respected and supported. It’s about creating a working environment where each person is able achieve his or her full potential.
As we approach this representative diversity (a pursuit that is never “done”), we envision the conservation community becoming more comprehensive, effective—and inspired—in its work, to the benefit of all.
Read more about our initiative here, or feel free to email Lindsey@conservationlands.org with your inquiries.
“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.