We believe that when the heart is engaged, the mind and body will follow. That is why, since our founding in 1939, Nature Canada has been connecting Canadians to nature, trying to instil in them a nature ethic – a respect for nature, an appreciation for its wonders, and the will to act in nature’s defense.
In fulfilling our mission, Nature Canada operates under these guiding principles:
- Humans are an integral part of nature. We are dependent on and kindred to its diverse forms. By protecting nature, we protect and enrich ourselves.
- Protection of nature requires a strong commitment to environmentally responsible living, in every person’s daily activities.
- Our strategies for protecting nature are based on sound science, ecological knowledge, and a passion for nature.
- We are committed to regular networking, effective communications, and coordinated action on issues of national significance with naturalists and others who care about nature.
Nature Canada Statement on Equity and Anti-Racism
Nature Canada is committed to anti-racism and the promotion of racial justice and equity for Indigenous, Black and racialized peoples. Achieving racial justice and equality rights is an ethical imperative and critical for the well-being of nature.
We envision a world where the dignity and equality of Black, Indigenous, and other people of colour (BIPOC) are recognized, valued, and actively supported as part of a wider transformation across our shared planet in which the interdependence and rights of all species are understood and upheld, allowing people and nature to flourish for generations to come.
Nature Canada’s vision and commitment to anti-racism and equality is integrally connected to our commitment to advance reconciliation and the rights outlined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
We recognize that colonial policies have deprived Indigenous peoples of the exercise of their rights on traditional territories, undermining Indigenous knowledge systems that have safeguarded nature for millennia. Displacement and discrimination against Indigenous and racialized peoples have also been hallmarks of conservation and land use planning across Canada, exposing BIPOC communities disproportionately to environmental pollution, climate change, and violence and denying them equitable access to healthy ecosystems and conserved green space. Systemic racism has therefore caused deep inequalities and injustices while accelerating species loss, climate change and other environmental harms. Despite these burdens, Indigenous peoples and BIPOC leaders are at the forefront of activism to safeguard communities, lands, watersheds and wildlife. For these reasons and more, we affirm that anti-racism work is work for nature and for justice.
We recognize that an organizational commitment to anti-racism is not a state to be achieved, but a commitment to an ongoing practice that contributes to the progressive realization of equitable outcomes for Indigenous, Black and other racialized peoples. Our commitment to a practice of anti-racism as part of our work to defend and restore nature requires:
- A transformation not only across policies and programs, but also in organizational governance and work culture.
- An intersectional approach, which considers how power is exercised across issues of gender, age, class, ability, culture, as well as race.
- A commitment to amplify and hold up BIPOC voices and speak out against racial injustice.
- A continual practice of learning and unlearning, informed by the experiences and perspectives of Indigenous, Black, and racialized peoples as well as other equity-seeking groups.
Nature Canada is committed to continuous action in support of these goals, and has been working actively since 2019 to advance policies, program priorities, advocacy, and staff training in this area. We are conscious we are at early stages of this work, and will inevitably make mistakes along the way. We are committed to reflect and report on progress, results, and learnings on this journey to supporters, partners and the wider conservation community. We hope to contribute to growing, and learning from, a more equitable and inclusive movement.
Let us build a more just and sustainable future as we seek to grow understanding and support for the rights and relationships held between peoples and nature. There is much to do.
Reconciliation Principles For Our Work With Indigenous Peoples
To achieve our mission to defend and advocate for nature, Nature Canada partners with governments, organizations, business and individuals that support our vision. To this end, Nature Canada works to advance the reconciliation agenda and the rights of Indigenous Peoples within the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Nature Canada recognizes that the policies of Canadian governments have deprived Indigenous Peoples of their rights to exercise control over their traditional territories, and we recognize that nature conservation efforts have at times contributed to this overarching injustice. We are engaging in an internal reconciliation process, as well as an external process to ensure that as we undertake our programs we avoid exacerbating previous injustices.
We believe that our work can simultaneously advance Nature Canada’s goals and support the efforts of Indigenous Peoples to re-exert their rights over their traditional territory. On occasions, where Nature Canada takes different views on policy issues from Indigenous leaders, those views will be communicated with utmost respect and protocol.
Nature Canada’s work is guided by the following principles within the context of our overarching mandate to defend and advocate for nature. Throughout the process of reconciliation, Nature Canada endeavours to grow awareness and bridge understanding of the relationships and rights held between peoples and nature.