Just Language in Ecological Education was created out of hope – hope that exclusionary scientific language and practices frequently used and taught by environmentalists could be changed. This collective of scientists, educators, gardeners, and artists strives to help people connect to the natural world in positive, meaningful ways while spreading the message of conservation. This goal is difficult to accomplish when the language traditionally used to teach some concepts, such as invasive species management, immediately triggers people who have heard that same language used against themselves or their families.
This work inspires others to have discussions with their colleagues and classmates. From large conservation organizations to county agencies and community gardens, people are talking about how to make their programming inclusive and equitable. Thus far, Just Language has focused on the language and perspectives surrounding invasive species management but hope to continue, focusing on other ecological topics such as climate change and public land use. Just Language plans to create curricula, language guides, and workshops to inspire educators and ecologists to connect science to culture, politics, and equity. Creating open, welcoming spaces in science breaks down barriers for those who have been traditionally excluded.