(Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access) Commitment
The celebration of birds is the celebration of diversity!
We at Tucson Audubon recognize and celebrate the enrichment that birds bring to our lives, both individually and as a community. We also recognize that because of the current climate crisis, both birds and humans face real and imminent threats caused by biodiversity and habitat loss, air and water pollution, and dwindling natural resources. We know that it is only through uniting as a community that we can meet the conservation challenges of today and create a sustainable future for all species. However, we also acknowledge the historical shortcomings of the greater conservation community, as well as our own organization, to work with, serve, and bird with diverse human communities. Birding and conservation are privileges that are not afforded or accessible to all, but from which many of us have benefitted. The celebration of birds is the celebration of diversity, and we need to do better at being a true reflection of the wonderful, rich, vibrant, and diverse communities across Southeastern Arizona and beyond.
We recognize that everyone has their own unique identity and lived experience, and that by honoring and valuing our differences, we can build a stronger organization and conservation movement. In pursuit of this ideal, we are committed to the values of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access, within our staff, members, volunteers, and the birding community at large. By building understanding about how these interdependent values interact with our organization’s culture and systems and by infusing these values into all aspects of our work, we believe we can make real progress towards a world in which all people are part of Tucson Audubon’s mission to “inspire people to enjoy and protect birds through recreation, education, conservation, and restoration of the environment upon which we all depend.”
We also recognize that simply understanding and valuing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access is not enough. We strive to engage in active and intentional processes that dismantle the systems that have, historically and currently, acted as barriers to the realization of these values. We know that this process is long and there is no “end.” Instead, we pledge to continue the journey to ensure that we are the best possible reflection of our communities.
Inclusion is an active process by which we, as an organization, seek the involvement of people who are not yet part of our community by addressing barriers that stand in the way of participation and partnership. We can do this, in part, by listening to and seeking guidance from our partners who are leaders in diverse communities. We are committed to continuing to strengthen our existing partnerships as well as to building new partnerships and programs to help welcome new communities into our fold. We are also committed to doing the internal work of learning how our organization can be a “safe space” for diverse communities. We know that inclusion sometimes also means meeting others where they are.
Just as biodiversity leads to healthy and resilient ecosystems, Diversity within an organization leads to a well-rounded, knowledgeable, and adaptable team that is well-equipped to respond to the needs and wants of the communities it reflects and serves. Furthermore, diversity in the larger community — such as the birding community or the wildlife conservation community in general — enhances and strengthens it. We are committed to recognizing and dismantling the systems that prevent the diversity of our region from being represented in our leadership and constituency and to building more inclusive, equitable, and accessible systems that will uphold a more diverse organization.
Equity is a process that addresses historic and systemic unfairness and injustice. While the goal of equity is equality, we know that not everyone has equal access to resources and power, and that by applying equitable values and practices, we can work towards a world where everyone has what they need to thrive and grow.
Equity, in the greater context, includes the need for Access. In the context of birding, this includes access to equipment and information as well as access to safe and welcoming environments in which to bird, and to resources such as green spaces, water, and shade that are critical for life in the desert. However, we know that access is not equally shared and the degree to which access is available often falls along socio-economic and racial lines. We believe that access to a healthy environment is a right, but we know that climate change threats affect different communities to differing degrees, and that marginalized and underprivileged communities are the most severely affected. We are committed to identifying the needs of our communities and to addressing the barriers that stand in the way of access to the environmental resources and protections we provide.
Mobility accessible birding sites in and around Tucson.