Relationships that recognize we can hold our differences together and still act collectively are central to Environmental Initiative’s mission, vision, and values. Environmental Initiative creates an essential facilitated space for partners to engage with each other and act for clean air, water, and land use for all. Science and lived experience act together toward social equity and environmental health in this unique relationship space.
The value Environmental Initiative places on interdependence really resonates with me. It is important to recognize how critical it is to invest time and resources into each other to elevate our shared outcome. My lived experience is dependent on your environmental health. We live in a connected ecosystem. The more we trust, engage, and authentically connect with each other, the stronger our community and environmental outcomes.
Learning events, such as the Insights & Impact forums are a very approachable path to begin your Environmental Initiative journey. The forums focus on different perspectives of specific environmental topics. The challenge is to sit in a space and hold multiple truths. In the end, there is an opportunity to see common threads as well as better and deeper understanding of each other’s environmental experience.
My most direct experience with equity is personally being left to the side of critical conversations, where my voice and experience were not valued. Or, in the alternative, being asked to join an existing platform for engagement that didn’t take account of my lived experience, limiting my ability to participate. I worked to bring this experience into Environmental Initiative’s strategic planning process. I experienced being sidelined. In developing the strategic plan, it was critical for me to also hold who and what I had not fully heard, and what system was I supporting when I failed to elevate impacted voices. In working on Environmental Initiative‘s strategic plan one of my areas of focus was how the plan holds the organizational commitment to fully embody broader networks, especially with our partners who are most impacted by environmental decisions and outcomes. The plan recognizes that to have effective, meaningful environmental solutions our practices and partnerships must provide all voices with equal power at decision-making tables.