Water and nature are necessary for all life. Cahaba River Society is driven by our convictions that every person has the birthright to clean water and to nature, no matter their circumstances or identity.
We are committed to learning about and dismantling systemic discrimination through our work. Our goal is to build an organization that is inclusive of all cultures and people while sharing our values for water and nature.
Our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion is fundamental to achieving our mission to restore and protect the Cahaba River watershed and its rich diversity of life.
Threats to water, barriers to safe access to nature, and impacts of climate change affect some communities more heavily than others. Biases and disparities disproportionately burden communities of color, indigenous communities, and low-income communities with legacies of environmental damage and ongoing harm that limit their access to healthy, life-sustaining nature and water. Yet these communities have been most deprived of the power and voice to impact these issues. Without a more inclusive effort for our rivers, decision-makers are likely to either ignore these problems or choose unfair solutions that impact underrepresented populations the most.
Addressing water disparities provides us with a moral and strategic opportunity to build a stronger movement, aligning people of varied ages, races, economic conditions, and other identities. We are committed to listening and working together to serve the full demographics of our “peopleshed.”
All voices must be included in Cahaba River Society’s work to achieve more equitable and just solutions. As biodiversity strengthens natural systems, water protection work is made stronger by the creativity, experiences, perspectives, and values of diverse people and communities.
Cahaba River Society is committed to building on our history working with our partner organizations and others doing this work by embracing equity, diversity, and inclusion in all areas to achieve our mission.
Through our programs, we continually seek to increase connections with all communities in our “peopleshed”* (see glossary) and empower people to become more effective advocates for their water.
We approach our work with sensitivity to the impact on communities affected the most, seeking solutions that are equitable; promote environmental, economic, and social sustainability; and preserve the unique character and cultural vibrancy of the communities we serve.
Cahaba River Society is intentional about our engagement practices and strives to increase the diversity of our board, staff, partners, members, and vendors with purposeful recruitments and an inclusive culture. We are developing tools to guide our decision-making—and milestones for accountability to ourselves and our community—to ensure that our policies, programs, and organizational work are achieving equity, diversity, and inclusion.
“Watershed” – term used to describe the geographic land area that drains to and creates a body of water.
“Peopleshed“ – term that Cahaba River Society has created to describe the watershed and the larger geographic area that includes the people whose lives are affected by the Cahaba River. Although Red Mountain is the western edge of our watershed, the Cahaba River is a major raw water source for the Birmingham Water Works customers throughout Birmingham and its surrounding cities. We consider that our “peopleshed” service area includes some or all of Jefferson, Shelby, Bibb, Perry, and Dallas Counties.