Sierra Club BC is working to transform our organizational culture to better recognize Indigenous law and governance and centre environmental justice.
Our goal is to uplift grassroots-led change in response to the climate emergency and ecosystem collapse. To do this, we must engage with and learn from diverse communities and knowledge systems, including communities most impacted. The biggest injustice of climate change is that the hardest hit are the least responsible for contributing to the problem. Wherever possible and when invited, we will work with Indigenous peoples, young people, rural communities and marginalized communities. In particular, we are committed to learning from the governance systems of the Indigenous Nations on whose territories we live and work.
As part of this process, we’ve been honoured to work in collaboration with kQwa’st’not~Charlene George as a cultural voice, guiding the work to transform internally. We have also been working with Respectful Indigenous Community Engagement Facilitators Kati-Raven George-Jim and Lizzie Thorne to help shift our ways of thinking and apply an Indigenous lens to our work.
Additionally, Sierra Club BC has been thrilled to welcome Climate Justice Campaigner Anjali Appadurai and Climate Justice Organizer Florence Baker, both based in the Lower Mainland. With a background in journalism and communications, Florence is focusing her climate justice organizing on building relationships with unions and faith traditions. Anjali works to support our role in the climate justice movement by bringing a strong justice lens to climate change messaging. Anjali represented Sierra Club BC at COP25 in Madrid in December, reporting on the global climate talks while centring the stories of those on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Watch her videos here.
This work to engage new audiences is about relational organizing that starts from a place of listening. Rather than talking “at” people and claiming to have the answers, we will first seek to better understand peoples’ experiences of environmental issues, and then explore opportunities for collaboration and storytelling that gives voice to real peoples’ lives and concerns.
This commitment to transformation also involves ongoing internal work. It includes emphasizing diversity, equity and inclusion within our team, paying a living wage, seeking to incorporate diverse perspectives, appropriately compensating those who share them with us, and investing in learning opportunities for staff, Board and supporters.
We are excited to be on this journey of transformation and we invite you to join us on it.
Photos by kQwa’st’not~Charlene George