POST is proud to have protected more than 80,000 acres of open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay over the last 40+ years. As an accredited land trust and a nonprofit supported by donors, we have worked hard to preserve open space for natural resource and wildlife habitat protection, recreation, and to safeguard clean water and air for the benefit of all in our region.
However, land conservation and social inequity are connected — with exclusion, forced removal and extraction intertwined with the history of the American landscape. Our regional legacy includes the displacement of Indigenous peoples as well as the implementation of social and legal structures that deepened racial inequality and the exploitation of natural resources for human benefit. It is a story of race, power and conflict that is alive today that we must strive to understand and change.
We recognize that we have been a part of this history and accept that our successes in land conservation have unintentionally contributed to social inequalities in our working area. We must make more room for cross-cultural ways of connecting with nature and for defining how our work benefits all of our communities, especially those that have been historically marginalized. While we are starting to acknowledge how history can better inform what we do going forward, it is imperative now that we shape a more inclusive future for our work.
To do this, we are making the following commitments:
Reflect and Evolve. We are taking steps to better understand how power, privilege and unconscious bias surface in our work, and we are defining how we must change going forward. With the guidance of experts, we are developing a multi-year plan that will help us to better include the voices of Black, Indigenous and people of color in determining how we work, where we work and who we work with.
Diversify. POST believes that diversity of all types creates strength and resilience in our interconnected natural and human communities in a way that benefits all. We are committed to diversifying our staff, board, volunteer and donor communities so that they more closely represent the people of the Peninsula and South Bay region and to foster an environment of belonging where all feel respected and valued.
Listen, Learn and Act. When we consider conservation projects and initiatives, we will do our best to acknowledge and take the steps necessary to understand how they may exclude people or groups. We will work hard to understand and integrate the needs of all communities with our decisions. When we take more time to engage with and listen to all of the communities impacted by our work, we can better ensure that the resulting conservation benefits and access are more equitable.
Share. As we grow and learn, we will share our understanding, relationships, resources and skills with the communities and partners we work with — especially those who manage our lands for the long-term — so that we, and the landscapes we love, can become more resilient together.
Much like a conservation project, it may be harder and take longer to fulfill this pledge than we’d like. We will make mistakes, and we have a long road ahead of us. But we have always been proud of our willingness to grow, change and adapt. With this in mind, we as an organization are dedicated to applying our talents to these commitments in order to create a future where all people and nature can connect and thrive.
For more about our commitment and approach toward transformational change by prioritizing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts, click here (PDF).