How OEC Uses Our Equity Lens to Inform Our Work

Oregon Environmental Council started our intentional diversity, equity, and inclusion work in 2012. We started this journey by listening and acknowledging that the environmental movement has caused harm and not been as inclusive as it needs to be. In saying this, we want to acknowledge the diverse voices in the movement and not erase their accomplishments. There have always been incredible BIPOC leaders doing environmental and environmental justice work, and we are grateful for and indebted to their accomplishments. Part of our collective work is to change the narrative by not just focusing on white leaders, whether current or historic. 

In order to move forward, we fully acknowledge that some environmental efforts have worsened oppression, while others have fallen short of creating benefits for Black, Indigenous and People of Color, such as the green divide on access to clean technology. Black and brown neighborhoods have high levels of air pollution, greater exposure to brownfields, and other contamination. This literally shortens lifespans and limits economic opportunity. Environmental benefits are not equally shared, whether it’s to access to green space, cleaner air, or limiting exposure to toxics in homes and workplaces. And climate damages will hit BIPOC and low-income communities first and worst.

At OEC, we know we have work to do. We are committed to applying an equity lens to both our internal and external work. We are doing trainings and hosting conversations to re-educate ourselves on national and local history, understand how our brains embed bias, unpacking the many systems and cultural institutions that maintain inequities, and refining our role in combating racism.  We want to build on work that previously embedded equity into our initiatives—like our Toxic Free Kids Act (passed in 2015) that phases out toxic chemicals in all products, not just those sold to higher-income families. 

We are also becoming a more diverse organization and striving to become a truly multicultural place. Diversity leads to better ideas and more complete, longer-lasting solutions.  

We’re launching a series to share our work, hold ourselves accountable, and bring you, our valued members, along. This is a journey we can and must take together.

We’ll continue to be the organization that has mattered to Oregon—taking on environmental challenges like climate, water, transportation, and environmental health—and doing it in a way that is collaborative, thoughtful, and evidence-based. We’ll be a reliable source of information and education on emerging trends. We’ll continue partnering across the state, including rural areas. We remain committed to public policy because systemic change is absolutely critical to protecting people and places we love, but we’ll also be doing more capacity building with partners, so that more voices are included in critical environmental decision-making.   

We will explore what we’re doing internally (such as hiring practices and fostering the next generation of environmental leaders); how we’re striving to create inclusive, collaborative partnerships; and the questions we ask ourselves when researching and developing new priorities and what inclusive policy looks like. We’ll also be “sharing the mic” and featuring more BIPOC stories and voices. 

Thank you for joining us on this critically important and meaningful work. 

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Featured Climate Protection OCAP News OCAP-Page Transportation Solutions Policy Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Living Green Toxics-Free Environments People Toxic Free Priorities Eco-Healthy Homes OEC Membership OEC News/Updates/Events Media/PR/Statements
Sort by
Windmills over green terrain

OEC & Partners Advocate to Strengthen the Climate Protection Program

July 16, 2021 Governor Kate Brown Office of the Governor 900 Court Street NE, Suite 254 Salem, OR 97301-4047 Director Richard Whitman Department of Environmental Quality 700 NE Multnomah St. Suite 600 Portland, OR 97232 Cc: Chair
August 3, 2021, 7:55 pm
noraaoeconline-org

9

OEC and partners call on ODOT to consider climate and equity

July 14, 2021 Oregon Transportation Commission 355 Capitol Street, NE MS 11 Salem, Oregon 97301   Dear Chair Van Brocklin and members of the Oregon Transportation Commission: Our organizations write this letter as communities around the state are reporting dozens of deaths in the wake of a record-breaking heatwave while preparing for another summer and fall of destructive wildfires. Climate change is already bringing enormous human suffering to
July 15, 2021, 3:57 pm
saraw

9

Say no to fast fashion, say yes to sustainable shopping

Sustainable Fashion and OEC’s Newest Impact Partner

As Oregon emerges from 16 months of shut downs and people begin to return to stores and restaurants with a sense of safety, we at OEC want to bring some more good news for the Summer. We are thrilled to have been chosen as the Impact Partner for the next 6 months with a local Portland, OR boutique called Foundation: Fashion and Philanthropy.
July 8, 2021, 1:05 pm
jamie-pang

9

Board Member Profile: OEC Board Chair Phil Wu

In 2020, after three previous years of service on the board, OEC welcomed Phil Wu as its newest Board Chair. As a retired Kaiser
June 9, 2021, 3:48 pm
teke

9

OEC Partners With Hacienda CDC to Expand Access To Eco-Healthy Home Kit

The average American spends 90% of their time indoors, and this has
December 18, 2020, 6:10 pm
jamie-pang

9

Transportation takes center lane at OEC’s 2020 business forum

    Oregon Environmental Council has always believed that the business sector plays an important role in building a healthier and more sustainable transportation system. This connection will be highlighted this month during OEC’s our Forum for Business and the Environment speaker series. For 24 years, our forum events have focused on cutting edge issues and opportunities important to business, environmental and government leaders. OEC is proud to provide this o
January 3, 2020, 4:12 pm
saraw

9


No Replies to "How OEC Uses Our Equity Lens to Inform Our Work"