The Society for Conservation Biology Oceania (SCBO) stands firm in our solidarity and support of the ongoing Black Lives Matter (BLM) civil rights movement.
This global outcry prompted by the extrajudicial killing of George Floyd is a reminder to us that racism, systematic oppression, and discrimination are tightly embedded in all of our communities. While not all communities experience the same level of extreme racial violence, racism permeates cultures around the world; systemic racism and injustice is prevalent amongst the Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) within the Oceania region. We, in no form, aim to compare struggles or experiences of one group to another, or divert attention away from the BLM movement. Our intention is only to acknowledge the many people who have suffered, and to reflect on the effort still needed in our region and within our own communities to be able to hold our heads high as an inclusive society.
We reflect on the mission of our organisation to “advance the science and practice of conserving the Earth’s biological diversity.” While our day to day business focuses on conservation, it is not possible to achieve our goals without engaging in the wider societal debates of equity, inclusion and diversity.
We acknowledge that conservation does not exist without people and we will not be successful in our mission without being inclusive of all people. We cannot advocate for the protection of biodiversity without advocating just as strongly for the protection of all people. Inclusivity has been at the heart of our organisation’s ethos and we continue to strive to be welcoming of diversity, and to foster a shared vision for the development of a diverse membership and leadership within SCBO.
To the BIPOC conservation professionals, students, and practitioners within our community, we want to reaffirm our support, and to commit to creating and maintaining an overtly anti-racist and equitable professional society; we will tolerate no less.