Opening Statement

White supremacy culture and racism remain a serious problem in this country and within the environmental movement. NEDC acknowledges its role in perpetuating an approach to environmental advocacy that is too exclusive and reflective of the dominant culture. NEDC strives to remedy this problem by prioritizing environmental justice. Environmental justice is racial and social justice.  

NEDC believes that it must transform itself to play a proactive role in making the field more inclusive, diverse, and reflective of the communities we serve. NEDC has a particular responsibility to do so given its work with the next generation of environmental advocates and leaders. For these reasons, NEDC commits to being anti-racist, intersectional, and equitable in our internal and external work. 

Values and Guiding Principles
Inclusive and Supportive

We aim to support our existing members and partners while welcoming new ones by listening, being intentionally inclusive, and evolving our practices to accommodate different lived experiences. We want to attract and retain a diverse staff, volunteer base and membership, and create an environment where people feel welcome and supported. 

We seek to build authentic partnerships and collaborate with partners on projects where NEDC’s skills and knowledge will add value.  

Opportunities and Empowerment 

We recognize that significant disparities remain regarding who is granted opportunities, both in the field of environmental advocacy and more broadly throughout the country. We intentionally provide opportunities to address these disparities and other wrongs resulting from the exclusion of historically marginalized and disadvantaged communities. 

We empower the next generation of lawyers and advocates with the skills and experience to advocate for the environment. We aspire to center the voices of the communities most impacted by environmental degradation, climate change, and other injustices that NEDC works to prevent. 

Persistent and Resourceful

We take on projects that otherwise might fall through the cracks. We commit to these projects and our mission with persistence and tenacity, and we accomplish a lot despite working with a small staff and limited resourcesWhen tackling a complex problem, we emphasize a solutions-oriented strategy that targets progress and innovation rather than just saying no. 

Independent and Interconnected

Our independent thinking, grounded in science and the law, informs our decision-making process and ensures we remain true to our mission, beliefs, and perspectives without being unduly influenced by forces driven by other motives. This independence helps us stay principled in our collaborative work with other organizations.

We also recognize that NEDC is part of a larger movement. In an interconnected system, we thrive when our people, partners, and places are also thriving. 

Fun and Joy

We take our work and impact seriously, much more than ourselves. We strive to inject fun and quirkiness into everything we do. 

It is also important to celebrate our progress and the substantive efforts of our staff, volunteers, and members. We find joy in each other and our work and aim to lift each other up whenever possible.