John Muir’s impact on environmental conservation is widely known. The influential writer, naturalist and conservationist is best known for helping to inspire and shape the policies that resulted in the preservation of wilderness and the establishment of Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks.
But less attention has been paid to his racist remarks with regard to Native American Tribes and People of Color.
The John Muir Institute of the Environment recognizes the value of John Muir’s conservation accomplishment and his ecological legacy for California, but abhors his racist statements and opinions, and condemns all forms of racism and discrimination. We are dedicated to a culture of anti-racism and equality.
The Muir Institute supports research programs dedicated to environmental and climate justice. We provide a pathway for high school girls, particularly from under-represented groups, to engage in research and leadership in environmental conservation. We partner with Native American Tribes in California, learning from their culture and perspective as we work to conserve and protect biodiversity and engage in sustainable agriculture. We acknowledge the Tribal Lands on which the UC Davis campus was built. Such programs and acknowledgments are a starting point, but we recognize we have a long way to go.
Since the John Muir Institute of the Environment was founded at UC Davis in 1997, it has harnessed the environmental strength of UC Davis researchers. We believe environmental sustainability and equity can only be achieved when we fully eradicate racism, discrimination and bigotry.