Our core values are rooted in geography, historical analysis, and hope for a more just and sustainable future. The Conservancy is a multi-sector coalition that is led by communities of color and neighborhood associations based in East Austin and eastern Travis County.
We are led primarily by communities of color and neighborhood associations who have historically borne the brunt of environmental racism in East Austin. That includes resource extraction, pollution, displacement, and erasure. As part of PODER, we have stood against this in the past and will not tolerate it going forward. Black and brown people have lived here, still live here, and should be able to continue living here.
We believe the Colorado River is the public commons. No one “owns” it, and therefore it should be accessible to all. That said, we envision not just equal access, but equitable access to this natural treasure of central Texas. This means that primacy should be given to communities of color living on or near the river, in order to redress historical injustices. Broken trust cannot be reestablished without first repairing past harms.
We aim to rebuild a healthy relationship among humans, the river and surrounding land, and our non-human neighbors, as once envisioned by the Indigenous peoples who were forced out of this region by European settlers. This vision is possible if the public, private, and civic sectors work together in partnership to shape the future of the Colorado River corridor. Protection, preservation, and restoration of the ecosystem are the cornerstones of a more harmonious balance with nature.
We can support collaborative development that puts quality of life, community needs, equity and environmental sustainability at the forefront; if, however, development prioritizes corporate profits above all else and results in further harm to local communities and the climate, then we oppose it. Businesses are important members of society, but we ask that they come to the table as fellow citizens with open minds and open ears to listen and learn from local lived experience.