Working for Lands, People and Communities

Read our Statement of Solidarity, June 1, 2020

TOGETHER Bay Area is a regional coalition of nonprofits, public agencies, and Indigenous Tribes working together for climate resilient lands – including lands that are natural, working, rural, and urban. The health of these lands is integral to a thriving Bay Area and the health of all of the people and communities in our 10 county region. We connect, convene, and catalyze action for a just and equitable society where we live in relationship with the land that sustains us now and will sustain future generations.

We use “resilience” to express our coalition’s goals of a) preventing the loss and/or degradation of land, b) supporting ecological functioning, and c) connecting people to the land. We focus on resilience – an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change (Merriam Webster) – because it is essential in the 21st century. 

We include public parks, public lands, working lands like farms and ranches and forests, rural and  urban lands, trails, open spaces, preserves, and other similar natural spaces. 

We include acquisition, stewardship, maintenance, restoration, preservation, conservation, cultural resources and activities, outdoor recreation, public access to nature, active living as part of public health, and programs that connect people to nature.

We are the only Bay Area coalition of nonprofits, agencies, and Tribes focused on resilient lands and people, and we are unique in how we work because:

  • We work together to secure significant public funds and engage in regional policy for climate resilience and equitable access to nature.
  • We leverage coalition members’ local work at the regional scale.
  • We deliver more impactful outcomes for resilient land and people than any local organization or agency could.

Guiding Principles

Everything we do is grounded in these principles:

People have stewarded the land for thousands of years

We acknowledge that these are the ancestral lands of Indigenous People who live here today. We respect that Indigenous People are knowledgeable about land stewardship and have demonstrated tremendous resiliency over the past 400+ years of colonization.

All lands need to be stewarded

In the face of climate change, we need to take care of all lands: public, private, urban, and rural. Our definition of stewardship includes a wide range of activities that prevent destruction of the land, promote ecological function on the land, and connect people to the land. We recognize that there are many ways to have a relationship with the land, and that one way is not absolutely or globally better than another.

All people can be land stewards

Anyone - regardless of race, ethnicity, class, age, gender, or physical ability - can participate in and contribute to the work of stewarding the land upon which human life depends. From community gardens to street trees to major restoration projects, there is a plethora of opportunities for all people to engage and connect to this work.

Together as one region

We believe that building relationships and fostering collaboration are critical to affecting change in our region. We are stronger together than we are apart, and we invest in relationships so that we can adapt to change.

Justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion

We are committed to creating a more just and equitable world. We will define, as a coalition, how we want to engage in this work.

Intersectional solutions

We know that the problems we seek to address are multi-disciplinary and intersectional. We cannot look at environmental problems as separate from other issues we face today. We must work across geographies, nonprofits, agencies, and divisions to address the interconnected problems of the 21st century.

Collaboration

We build relationships with people in order to understand our differences, work towards common goals, and support each other when needed. We are open-minded and work towards mutually beneficial solutions.

Accountability and transparency

We will steward this organization’s mission and resources with transparency with our members and funders. The Board and staff will hold themselves accountable to the responsibilities vested in them by the members.

 

This coalition stands on the shoulders of the Bay Area Open Space Council. The Council was formed in 1990, helped form the Bay Area Program of the California Coastal Conservancy in 1997, launched the Conservation Lands Network in 2011 and CLN 2.0 in 2019, convened the annual Open Space Conference and dozens of Gatherings, and helped form relationships across the region.