Changing the culture and practice of conservation

We cannot create a sustainable future without first understanding our roots. Land physically connects and grounds every one of us. It carries the stories of our personal and cultural histories.

Our country has a long history of institutional racism: the systems and structures that, through intention or not, benefit white people at the expense of people of color. While land physically connects and grounds every one of us, it has also been used to marginalize entire communities of people, impacting health outcomes, length and quality of life, and economic stability. As a conservation sector, we have inherited and benefitted from a history defined by racial and economic privilege and power that intentionally displaced and excluded people of color.

Conservation’s legacy of inequitable practices means that collectively our sector’s work does not benefit all people as we intend it to.

Our History

We recognize that we have inherited and benefitted from this shared history. While CTNC cannot rectify the past and present reality of systems that are racially biased and unfair, we do commit ourselves to helping change the future.

Having put diversity, inclusion and equity at the center of our conversations for almost 20 years, we bring a unique and specific conservation lens to racial equity. We understand the racialized history of conservation. We also understand the challenges and opportunities our sector faces in advancing equity because we have lived them too.

Our Process

CTNC understands equity as both an outcome and a process. How we work together is as important as the work we do.

Recognizing that conservation shares in this legacy of inequitable practices, CTNC envisions a new approach to conservation that accounts for differences in opportunities, barriers and needs. We seek to ensure all people share in the benefits of healthy lands, regardless of race. We must examine our own power and privilege and work to change how all are impacted by our efforts. We must work to make land and the benefits of conservation accessible and productive for all people.

A Proposed Solution

CTNC seeks to be an organization of and for all people. To that end, we will actively evolve ourselves and the nature of our work to effectively serve alongside those who have traditionally been left at the margins of decisions that affect their lives and health.

Together we will protect land in ways that advance equity, improve public access and enrich all of our lives. Further, as a part of the conservation movement, we will help promote and build this shared future with others.

Are you ready to join us?

Learn with us how to seed equity and inclusion throughout conservation.