Friends of Casco Bay’s mission is to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay. We take a holistic view of this work. The health of the Bay and the health of the communities that live here are intimately connected and interdependent upon each other.
The greatest threats to the health of Casco Bay are climate change and pollution, which are caused by human activity. We recognize that vulnerable and marginalized populations are disproportionately experiencing the brunt of pollution and the effects of climate change. These environmental injustices are linked to inequities and uneven power structures in our society, including structural, systemic, and institutional racism. Those affected include, but are not limited to, indigenous communities, people of color, people living in poverty, women, children, the LGBTQI community, and the elderly.
Friends of Casco Bay’s efforts to address the causes and consequences of climate change and pollution in the Bay must consider these inequities and factor them into how we act to improve and protect the health of Casco Bay and its watershed. Therefore, we endeavor to achieve environmental justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion as strategic imperatives.* We are committed to these principles and are working to implement them through the following actions:
1. Advocating for laws, policies, and practices that recognize environmental justice and inclusion, including working toward fair access to resources and to clean waters. We oppose efforts that deny these rights. We stand in solidarity with those who are leading the call for environmental justice and accountability.
2. Identifying and implementing actions with the goal of diversifying our board, staff, contractors, volunteers, collaborators, members, and supporters. Just as biodiversity is a sign of a healthy ecosystem, a diverse community with a shared passion for a healthy Bay is a sign of a healthy organization.
3. Assessing our approach to our communications, member activities, and community outreach with regard to environmental justice. We are working to become more inclusive.
4. Building relationships with new partners and communities as we work to improve and protect the health of Casco Bay. We will strive to engage, listen to, learn from, and work with underserved and underrepresented people in the Casco Bay watershed. What we learn may inform how and where we work to improve and protect water quality in the Casco Bay watershed.
5. Reviewing our current governance structure, decision-making processes, and organizational policies and changing them in ways that will support our efforts toward environmental justice.
6. Continuing to train and learn as we work to act in ways that support environmental justice.
We will evaluate these efforts periodically and keep the watershed community updated. While we acknowledge that these actions will take time and effort to develop, implement, and achieve, we understand they are necessary to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay.
*In April 2023, the Board of Directors of Friends of Casco Bay recognized the following definitions:
Environmental justice is an equitable, safe, healthy, productive, and sustainable environment for those underserved populations who have disproportionately experienced the historic brunt of air and water pollution and the ensuing negative consequences of climate change.
Diversity is a broad demographic mix (including race, age, gender, sexual orientation, income, ethnicity, cultural background, and geography), within a group or organization, which reflects the makeup of the communities it serves.
Equity is fair access to resources and opportunities that will help ensure environmental justice for underserved and underrepresented populations.
Inclusion is the active, intentional, and continuous effort and process of creating opportunities for underserved and underrepresented populations to be heard and participate in the decision-making that affects their environmental well-being.