CTNC strives to seed equity and inclusion throughout the conservation community
We’re born on the land. Eat food grown in it. Drink water that flows over it. Build our communities within its hills, valleys, plains and rivers. There’s not a single aspect of our lives that’s not touched by land.
While land connects us all, it has also been used historically to separate us. Entire communities of people – especially people of color – have been intentionally displaced and excluded. That shared history of inequity means that collectively our conservation work does not benefit all people as we intend it to.
If CTNC is to be successful building resilient, just communities, we must emphasize how racial equity can be seeded throughout our work.
From Diversity to Equity
For over a decade, we have focused on increasing the racial diversity within the conservation sector of North Carolina through the Diversity In Conservation Internship Program. The program was founded to create a pathway for rising leaders of color to find careers in conservation. Our work has not only connected many young people of color with a professional conservation network, it has also helped organizations understand their own role in promoting race equity in their culture and practice.
“It’s really important for us to build these connections for youth of color in conservation because there isn’t a network like there is for other populations in conservation.”Dawn Chávez, Asheville GreenWorks
We all benefit from greater inclusion.
While CTNC is proud of the strides made over the past decade, our collective history and the current state of conservation indicate that there’s still so much to be done. Our work must not only create pathways to employment for rising leaders of color, but also change our culture and practices. We must honor the stories of black, indigenous and other people of color who have felt the loss of access to productive land for living, farming and for preserving their heritage.
CTNC understands that the historical legacy of conservation must be acknowledged in order to build more resilient, equitable communities for the future.
The stakes are high.
A conservation movement powered by people must include all people, not just those who have traditionally been seated at the head of the table. That’s why CTNC is committed to promoting equity through our work. Our vision is for all communities, regardless of race or economic status, to have a seat at the table.
Conserving land can be one facet of a larger effort to protect the stories, natural, and cultural heritage of historically marginalized communities across the state.