Coastal Defenders

Coastal Defenders envisions a more equitable and just world for all life on Earth. To that end, our mission is to advance racial equity and social justice in aquatic activities by supporting Black, Indigenous, and Youth of Color in learning about the physical environment. We believe that we can achieve this mission through social support, experiential education, and opportunities to learn about careers in STEAM. Moreover, our program aims to identify and address historical injustices within Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color (BIPOC). Essentially, our work lies at the intersection of social stewardship, environmental integrity, and restorative justice.

Historically, BIPOC communities have been excluded from the practice of coastal conservation and environmental protection. In addition, communities of color are significantly underrepresented in STEAM and the broader world of environmental conservation. We seek to transform the systemic injustices within the STEAM field and implement inclusive approaches to ecological protection, especially in coastal regions. The systematic exclusion of BIPOC populations in STEAM has also resulted in the loss of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) about environmental protection.

Therefore, we also strive to provide BIPOC youth with education, opportunity, and a supportive social network that will engage with historical narratives about TEK and encourage BIPOC youth to pursue careers in STEAM. Furthermore, we maintain that we are positioned to initiate an intergenerational, culturally-sensitive healing process through restorative practices, such as as the five R’s: relationship, respect, responsibility, repair, and reintegration. What’s more, we seek to bring love, honor, and gratitude to the community as a whole. Ultimately, our goal is to transform the lives of the youth that we serve and the study and practice of environmental protection and advocacy.

Coastal Defenders InstagramCoastal Defenders Facebook