We Stand Together Against Racism

View of a redwood forest canopy from the forest floor

Black Lives Matter. We at Save the Redwoods League are deeply disturbed by historical and recent racial violence against Black Americans. We understand that there is a very real connection between the history of racism and exclusion in the conservation movement and the racism and injustice that persists in people’s everyday lives today. From Christian Cooper to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others, these are not political issues. These are human rights issues.

When Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color are at risk of scrutiny, dehumanization, and violence just by being outside, it means that we have not achieved the part of our mission to connect all people with the restorative power of the redwood forest. As members of a larger conservation movement, we at the League commit to being better allies to Black and other marginalized communities by not only standing in solidarity at this moment, but also by elevating their perspectives, needs, and interests in our work.

We have started to partner directly with community-based organizations to create inclusive, safe redwood experiences for all, and we humbly acknowledge that we have a ways to go. Together, we hope to help build a future in which everyone can live and recreate in peace and without fear.

Learn more about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives at the League.

About the author

Since 1918, Save the Redwoods League has protected and restored redwood forests and connected people with their peace and beauty so these wonders of the natural world flourish.

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5 Responses to “We Stand Together Against Racism”

  1. Donald Faul

    I am curious how exactly the conservation movement has excluded Black Americans.

    • Save the Redwoods League

      Hi Donald, thanks for your question. While a lot of studies have highlighted the lack of diversity in the environmental/conservation community, none has had a larger impact than the Green 2.0 report. This was a wake-up call for our community, and a number of groups have made significant progress since it came out. Others lag behind.

    • Emily

      Madison Grant was a co-founder of Safe the Redwoods League. He was a notable eugenicist and conservationist who espoused scientific racism as ideals of the conservationist movement in the late 1800-early 1900s. Grant believed that natural resources needed to be conserved for the Nordic Race, to the exclusion of other races. He wrote the 1916 book “Passing of the Great Race” which describes his theory of Nordic purity and methods to exterminate undesirable traits and races. As the secretary of the zoological society in 1906 he lobbied to place a Congolese man from the Mbuti people on display next to apes at the Bronx Zoo. These perspectives must be ridiculed and denounced. Save the Redwoods League and the conservation movement today do not represent those values by any means, but we must understand the racism and white supremacy that birthed the conservation movement in order to move forward in making the outdoors a place for all.

      • Save the Redwoods League

        Thank you, Emily! We agree, it is very important to understand the historical context of the conservation movement in order to help heal communities that have long been marginalized, and to build a more inclusive and equitable movement that belongs to ALL people going forward.

      • Jen Rice

        I just heard about this letter and came here to see if anyone had brought up this as an opportunity for SRL (and RNSP) to put these words into action by replacing this powerfully hateful bit of history with something that acknowledges what the Yurok culture lost and contributes to this region.


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