What I have enjoyed most about my time at CLCC has been learning about the different land trusts throughout the state, but most importantly the richness and profoundness of the work they do. I have had the irrefutable pleasure to hike Kent Land Trust’s Skiff Mountain South Preserve, Granby Land Trust’s Dismal Brook Wildlife Preserve, and East Haddam Land Trust’s Hidden Valley Farm Preserve.
It has been a privilege to access these places and take these hikes. But it mustn’t be. You see, a privilege is a special entitlement accorded to a restricted group. In my case, the work I do and the field I’m in accords me this privilege. Privileges are conditional and by nature, unequal.
Access to nature and to the wondrous protected places we love must be a right. A right is an inherent entitlement that by virtue of an individual being human has. Yet, a history of environmental racism teaches us that rights can so easily be abraded into privileges. Privileges that exclude and cause great harm.
Rectifying the gross disparities of access to green spaces that many low-income communities and communities of color face demands a transformation of seeing nature as a privilege to nature as a right. Land trusts throughout the state are in an opportune position to embolden efforts in making nature accessible to all through their programming and collaborations with the communities, aforementioned.
In the little I have come to know about land trusts’ work, I must say I am exceedingly proud of the land trust community and ever so hopeful for the many lives the community will come to change for the better.