Advancing racial equity has been a priority for EarthGen (formerly Washington Green Schools) since its founding, and in 2017 the organization developed a Racial Equity Policy that was adopted by the Board of Directors. This policy formalizes EarthGen’s vision of becoming an Anti-Racist organization and defines strategies to move it along that path. We invite our community to hold us accountable to our commitments.
EarthGen recognizes that Washington’s communities of color are disproportionately impacted by environmental issues, including declining air and water quality, limited access to natural areas, and food insecurity. At the same time, Washington’s public schools have large racial and ethnic disparities in achievement. These “achievement/opportunity gaps” are not due to any inherent deficiencies of the students or their families, but instead emerge as the result of inequitable access to quality instruction, inadequate funding, and insufficient extended learning opportunities. EarthGen understands the complexity of historic and present-day societal factors at the root of these disparities and believes that the organization has a moral imperative to provide leadership to overcome them.
Numerous research studies demonstrate the positive impact of environmental education on all students; it increases the relevancy of learning and strengthens student skills in areas such as STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) as well in 21st-century skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, and leadership. As an environmental education organization that strives to become an Anti-Racist organization, EarthGen recognizes its role in eliminating opportunity gaps for students and reducing environmental inequities in communities.
Our Path Forward
EarthGen recognizes that to become an Anti-Racist organization, it must continuously interrogate its belief systems and improve its cultural proficiency. EarthGen must authentically collaborate with its school and school district partners as well as other stakeholders to provide leadership and assure that our partners realize the dual vision of environmental and educational equity. EarthGen will strive to increase access to its services for schools with diverse student populations while pursuing its goal of serving all Washington schools. In addition, EarthGen will integrate environmental justice and community-driven issues into its programs.