Our Rivers Are For Everyone: IRU’s Partnership with Inclusive Idaho, Boise Bicycle Project

Published 11/23/2020  |  Idaho Rivers United

Our Rivers Are For Everyone: IRU’s Partnership with Inclusive Idaho, Boise Bicycle Project

Structural racism impacts every aspect of the environmental movement, from who is allowed to access outdoor spaces, who is hardest hit by climate change, and who are allowed to be an environmentalist and make a living in that field.

Many issues came to the forefront of the environmental conservation world this year. However, one issue shone through the typical conservation issues we address. The lack of diversity, access, equity, and inclusion in conservation and outdoor recreation, especially in Idaho, was a bright reminder we weren’t doing enough. We are passionately taking on addressing Inclusion in the Outdoors in our communities and around our state.

We are dedicated to changing the dial and to promote diversity and inclusion in the environmental movement. Inequities abound throughout the outdoor and conservation community, ranging from issues of access to outdoor spaces, underrepresentation, and inclusion, and to environmental justice and racism. These issues have a tremendous impact, and determine who will bear the greatest impacts of climate change, poor water policies, to vocational opportunities in the conservation field.

We do not see Idaho Rivers United as an organization disconnected from systemic racism, but rather as one that can articulate how that has impacted our advocacy and conservation efforts and blocked many BIPOC communities from engaging in the work that we do. Data from several federal agencies shows there is a major inequality in the ethnicity of visitors utilizing our public lands and national parks.1

IRU is committed to incorporating justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, as core tenants of our advocacy. This includes a partnership with Inclusive Idaho and Boise Bicycle Project to learn, create, promote, and advocate for outdoor programming for underrepresented groups.  Idaho Rivers United is working to begin new projects and programming that will open river activities to people of all backgrounds, especially youth, to participate in outdoor activities and conservation on Idaho’s rivers.

With the help of Inclusive Idaho, Idaho Rivers United will work to increase diverse participation in river and water activities. We are working to build partnerships to support these programs, collaborate to recruit participants and families, mobilize leaders to share and educate, and let participants share their stories and evaluations.

Ibram Kendi surmised it best when he wrote, “the only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it and then dismantle it.”  IRU is passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion, and our ensuring work is more representative — because our rivers are for everyone.

  1. https://www.resourcesmag.org/common-resources/diversity-in-the-great-outdoors-is-everyone-welcome-in-americas-parks-and-public-lands/

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