We envision a world in which communities are empowered to engage in work to protect the environment; that individuals regardless of race, income, or geography have access to clean air, clean water, healthy food, and green space; and MCE is an effective leader on environmental issues with diverse funding and accessible tools to support this work.
Approved by the MCE Board of Directors on December 17, 2018
Throughout MCE’s 50 year history, we have been our best when we have had a diverse staff, a diverse board and worked for environmental justice for the most marginalized, and while we celebrate those victories we know we have more work to do.
MCE recognizes that people of color are disproportionately affected by public health and environmental threats and lack equal access to many of Missouri’s natural resources.
Members of MCE’s staff and board have been actively engaged in identifying, understanding, and dismantling systemic racism and implicit bias within our organization and the environmental community. MCE is committed to becoming a more inclusive, diverse organization and building a more equitable environmental movement throughout the state of Missouri.
How MCE will accomplish this:
• Increase representation of people of color among membership, staff, organizational leadership, and board of directors
• Find ways within our work to address the intersection of race, poverty and environmental issues
• Expand our capacity to address more diverse environmental issues
• Engage with organizations that represent the communities most disproportionately impacted by environmental racism
• Collaborate with other organizations that are addressing other environmental racism issues
• Develop an accountability plan, with concrete metrics and goals, to ensure we are performing the work necessary to become a more inclusive, diverse organization and build a more equitable environmental movement throughout the state of Missouri
• Produce quarterly accountability reports and an annual summary of our results for release with our annual report.
MCE began its work in 1969 from the St. Louis Conference on the Environment at the Missouri Botanical Garden as the region’s first independent citizens’ group created to address a broad range of environmental policy issues. MCE began before there was an EPA or a Department of Natural Resources. We began fighting for environmental protection before there was a Clean Water Act or Clean Air Act.
Since our beginnings, we have engaged agencies, governments, corporations and communities in critical decisions about Missouri’s environment. We have routinely conducted citizen education so people can make informed decisions about the legal underpinnings of environmental protections, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Farm Bill, local ordinances, health standards, and other tools that govern our land, water, food, health, and air. Today, we work to enforce the laws that protect our public land and natural resources, and advocate for change at all levels of government for the protection of environmental and public health.
Our founders included conservationist, Leo Drey, attorney, Lewis Green and his wife, Louise Green, scientist, Barry Commoner, and city planner, Alfred Kahn. In 1968, they hosted a conference on the Environmental Crisis at Washington University. Work groups focused on topics such as water pollution, pesticides use, and air pollution. The organization’s early board members included Louise Green, Walston Chubb, and Father James Mulligan. By 1971, the group filed its first landmark lawsuit against major floodplain development, winning a seminal ruling prohibiting development below the high water mark without a federal permit. This was just the beginning.