The faculty, students, researchers, and staff of the UC Davis Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior stand in solidarity with the Black community. We condemn white supremacy, police brutality, and the politics of racism, fear, and hate. Black Lives Matter. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery are the most recent illustrations of the systemic racism and injustice that permeate every aspect of our society--including academia. We support the principles of community and diversity that have been articulated by the University of California, UC Davis Chancellor Gary May, and many of our fellow scientists such as UC Davis John Muir Institute of the Environment, the Center for Watershed Sciences, the UC Davis Ecology Graduate Group Diversity Committee, and many others.
As environmental policy and governance researchers, we recognize that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color suffer injustices and harms that extend well beyond police brutality. Conservation and ecological research should be about sustaining life. Public policy and administration research should expose and address the institutional and policy failures that perpetuate inequality and injustices. At the same time, environmental policy and governance researchers must acknowledge our own racist and unjust behaviors, including the displacement of indigenous peoples, foundational concepts linked to racist ideologies, and lack of diversity in both environmental research and environmental activities. Environmental sustainability and resilience cannot be achieved without addressing social injustices and prioritizing equity.
We must do better. Any transformation to equitable resilience requires action from individuals and organizations. It requires civic engagement in democratic processes such as voting, advocacy, and protest. And it requires each and every one of us to commit to building a world in which every individual can live freely and safely.
We commit to the following collective actions in our research group to begin addressing racism and injustice in our own personal behaviors, workplace and sphere of expertise:
- Building stronger partnerships with and highlighting the work of underrepresented scholars and groups in our research, teaching, and engagement;
- Providing racial justice trainings for our research group;
- Developing a statement of principles articulating the nexus between our research and issues of power, justice, and equity;
- Developing a student/postdoc recruitment plan centering on diversity and equitable access;
- Building a list of readings focused on equity and justice in science and environmental governance, beginning by devoting lab meetings in Summer/Fall 2020 to discuss the following writings that we have collectively prioritized. Commentaries and links to these and additional readings and resources will be posted on our website going forward.
- Finney, C. 2014. Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors. UNC Press Books.
- Acharya, A., Blackwell, M., & Sen, M. (2016). The political legacy of American slavery. The Journal of Politics, 78(3), 621-641.
- Merchant, Carolyn. "Shades of darkness: Race and environmental history." Environmental History 8.3 (2003): 380-394.
- Pulido, Laura. "Geographies of race and ethnicity 1: White supremacy vs white privilege in environmental racism research." Progress in Human Geography 39.6 (2015): 809-817.
- Ranganathan, M., & Balazs, C. (2015). Water marginalization at the urban fringe: environmental justice and urban political ecology across the North–South divide. Urban Geography, 36(3), 403-423.