A month ago, our office shared this message of solidarity on our social media channels. We included resources for learning and action, but did not yet include our own proposal for actions going forward. Our office has spent the past month listening, reflecting and having active discussions with students, staff, faculty and alumni.
We in the Office of Sustainability, as a primarily white staff in a predominately white field, recognize the inherent privilege assigned to us by a broken system. While we cannot truly know the pain that the Black community has and is experiencing, know that we stand in solidarity with the Black community and affirm that Black Lives Matter. Recent tragic events, in a long history of injustice, have pushed us to assess what we need to do going forward to be a better organization, and one that is actively anti-racist.
Our office works at the intersection of the environment and social justice, advocating for regenerative systems and practices on behalf of the planet and its people. We recognize that Sustainability is not separate from racial justice. The two are, in fact, intertwined as many BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities are affected by Environmental Racism. As environmental and social wellness stewards, we must work harder to advance equity and justice for marginalized communities in the sustainability movement and our global society. We must practice Intersectional Environmentalism, by advocating not only for our planet, but also for the people who inhabit it. There can be no racial justice without Environmental Justice. [see definitions]
We know that actions speak louder than words and that our actions must contribute to addressing systemic causes of inequality, inequity and racism. We recognize the need to address these interconnected issues and hope you will join us in furthering a sustainable, just, equitable, diverse and inclusive culture at Princeton University.
Princeton University Office of Sustainability’s Anti-Racism Initiatives: DRAFT Environmental Justice Framework
Our framework, once developed, will include both short term and long term action items for implementation beginning Fall 2020, and will be posted on our website. This living document will identify the actionable steps that our office plans to take and will be annually updated as part of our broader sustainability progress reporting.
It is critical that all voices are represented and all members of the campus community feel welcomed, valued, and empowered to share their unique perspective. We welcome feedback from the Princeton campus community on these proposed initial action items.
This is going to take time, but we are committed to reveal and address the systemic and historical injustices that exist on our campus, in the higher-ed sustainability community and environmental movement as a whole, to promote real healing and structural change.