This CBEP Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Environmental Justice Statement, adopted by the CBEP Management Committee on September 14, 2022, reflects our current thinking and approach. It may be adapted and revised in the future as our learning and programming evolves.
Clean water, clean air, and access to natural spaces are necessities for human health and well-being. Historic and ongoing water pollution, habitat degradation, and climate change disproportionately affect people of color and other marginalized groups. Casco Bay Estuary Partnership (CBEP) recognizes and acknowledges that those systemic inequities have an enduring negative economic and social impact on communities of color and other marginalized groups, including but not limited to the Wabanaki peoples of Maine, low-income communities, people with disabilities and the LGBTQIA+ community within and outside the Casco Bay watershed.
As an organization CBEP will strive to inform, empower, and connect individuals, partners, and communities to conserve and protect the ecological integrity of the Casco Bay watershed while also addressing the environmental justice needs of people of color and other marginalized groups in the watershed. Our hope and vision contemplate a future with clean water, healthy ecosystems, and thriving communities. CBEP must become its own catalyst for a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and welcoming organization for people of color and other marginalized groups and interact with these new partners on the same basis of equality and respect we extend to our current partners.
CBEP is committed to identifying and addressing systemic inequities within our own organization and its work-related practices. We will allocate human and financial resources to develop an active dialogue with these new partners and to encourage the adoption of mutually beneficial solutions both to address nagging water pollution challenges and the degradation of the watershed’s habitats, and also to build community resilience to mitigate the consequences of climate change.
Over the next two years CBEP will:
- Integrate DEIJ statement and related goals/objectives into the upcoming 2023 Casco Bay Plan update, a strategic planning document.
- Commission an audit to analyze CBEP’s current governance structure, its programs, and decision-making processes to better understand the DEIJ deficiencies within the existing organization, develop specific recommendations for changing our programs, practices and processes; and submit them to our Management Conference.
- With Environmental Protection Agency and University of Southern Maine guidance, align CBEP hiring, contracting, grantmaking and recruitment processes to establish an inclusive workplace culture committed to environmental justice.
- Evaluate community engagement strategies with underserved, under-represented, and under-resourced communities, and identify and introduce viable solutions to increase their opportunities for meaningful engagement on matters of importance to them.
- Actively encourage and invite communities of color and other marginalized groups to lend their voices and narratives to our planning efforts, work groups, and programs.
Environmental justice (EJ) is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
Diverse/Diversity – The demographic mix of a specific collection of people, taking into account elements of human difference. (e.g., racial, and ethnic groups, income, spectrum of built environment settings (rural to urban), faith communities, LGBTQ+ populations, people with disabilities, gender, relationship to the natural environment)
Equity – Improving equity is to promote justice, impartiality and fairness within the procedures, processes, and distribution of resources by institutions or systems. Tackling equity issues requires recognition of the underlying or root causes of disparities within our society.
Inclusion – Refers to the degree to which diverse individuals are enabled to participate fully in the decisionmaking processes within an organization or group. While a truly “inclusive” group is necessarily diverse, a “diverse” group may or may not be “inclusive.”
Underserved – Populations who receive inadequate or inequitable services, who experience quality-of-life disparities, and who by design have little power or influence over outside decisions that impact their daily quality-of-life.
Marginalized communities have been referred to by a variety of terms over the years, including but not limited to: disadvantaged, at-risk, underserved, under-engaged, underrepresented, overburdened, overlooked, and untapped.*
LBTQIA+: Lesbian, Bisexual, Queer, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, “Plus” (all of the gender identities and sexual orientations that letters and words cannot yet fully describe)
Source: The Center
*Each term has grown out of a different context and tries to get at a slightly different aspect of the experiences of these communities. However, depending on context some terms (regardless of intent) could be viewed as pejorative by the community. Therefore, context is important when determining what term(s) to use and ideally the community itself can best identify what term to use that best describes their experiences. For this reason, it is important to view definitions as part of a “Living Glossary” that is updated both as the field of DEIJ evolves and in response to local context.
Source for all above except when noted otherwise: Chesapeake Bay Trust