Commitment to Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Incorporating Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) as a framework for how the California Natural Resources Agency fulfills its mission is an initiative that must be woven throughout everything we do.

As an Agency, we are constantly working to make our work more inclusive and give voice to those traditionally unheard by public systems. From ensuring proper naming conventions of our State Parks and transportation system features to administering funding streams to projects dedicated to protecting our cultural and natural resources, we are persistently working towards better addressing issues of discrimination and oppression in the resources space.

This work starts by looking inward and ensuring our own workplace is welcoming for all and reflective of California’s diverse residents. Further, it extends to our state, national, and international reputation, as an aspiring employer of choice. Additionally, we must intentionally focus on our outreach and communication to vulnerable communities and marginalized voices to give power and voice to those who need it most. We know we can improve in this area. This work is continuous, and there is no metric by which we will define an end to these efforts.

If you have suggestions or comments of how we can improve our JEDI work, please contact us at outreach@resources.ca.gov.

The year 2020 was highly divisive and difficult. Moreover, the year exposed further inequities in our collective society that everyone must play a role in addressing. The California Natural Resources Agency understands we have a role to play in creating a more just and equitable society. Far too long, those uninvited from tables where decisions are made have suffered from the many health risks environmental degradation poses, such as air pollution exposure, proximity to hazardous waste sites, ingestion of water contaminants, and so much more. As an Agency, we are committed to constantly asking the question, “Who is not at the table right now?” during our decision-making process.

Secretary Crowfoot said it best in his blog post: Moving Forward Toward Justice and Equity. We must listen to diverse voices where they are at and understand what California residents need. We must commit to dedicating time, personnel, and funding to transform programs and policies within our agency to prioritize equity and inclusion. Finally, we must act using a clear, comprehensive agenda to combat inequities and implicit bias.

Much of the foundational work in this initiative will be supported by a new Assistant Secretary for Equity and Environmental Justice; however, at the California Natural Resources Agency, everyone is responsible for upholding the values of our JEDI initiative.

At the California Natural Resources Agency, we recognize that Tribal communities have stewarded California’s natural resources since before the State’s inception. The generational knowledge our Tribal partners hold is vital in planning for the future stewardship of California’s vast resources. We also recognize, however, that we have much work to do in building cooperative relationships with the indigenous people of the land.

As Secretary Crowfoot has said, engaging Tribal governments is essential in California. Adopting true co-management strategies will enable California residents to experience the vast biodiversity held in our states for generations to come. Watch these critical conversations unfold with the Secretary and some of our Tribal partners in a segment of our Secretary Speaker Series, titled: “Building Trust Between State and Tribal Governments.”

As a part of our ongoing efforts to foster a more collaborative approach towards managing our natural resources with our tribal partners, the California Natural Resource Agency is hiring an Assistant Secretary for Tribal Affairs. The position will further support and expand the Agency’s effort to institutionalize Tribal Consultation practices into its program planning, development, and implementation decisions. We look forward to sharing this appointment with our community.

Visit the Office of the Tribal Advisor for additional tribal resources.

In serving the people of California, it is important to expand access to the work taking place across the agency as well as communicate it effectively. This means listening to and learning from Californians across the state to understand how to effectively build inclusive policies and processes with our Agency.  It also means building connections to various communities and stakeholders to inform our work toward promoting a welcoming and safe space. External engagement gives us an opportunity to appreciate cultural perspectives and diversity, recognize implicit bias and historic racism, and  to engage effectively with all Californians. This means equipping staff with diversity, equity, and inclusion training. Additionally, having a workforce that reflects the diversity of California enhances our ability to engage with all Californians.