TOGETHER Bay Area is a regional coalition of nonprofits, public agencies, and local Native governments / organizations / communities 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 local Native governments / organizations / communities 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.
Everything we do is grounded in these principles:
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.
In the face of the climate crisis, 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.
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.
We believe that building relationships and fostering collaboration from the baylands to the ridgelines are critical to catalyzing change in our region. We are stronger together than we are apart, and we invest in relationships so that we can adapt to change.
We are committed to creating a more just and equitable world. Our Framework for Justice, Equity, and Belonging guides how the Board, staff, and members of TOGETHER Bay Area participate in the organization’s governance, operations, and programs such that we center equity, work for justice, and ensure that everyone belongs.
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.
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.
We will steward this organization’s mission and resources with transparency for 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.
Photos: Jennifer Hale