A Just Transition
Healthy Gulf’s programs focus on a just transition that moves us away from extractive systems of energy production, consumption, and political oppression, and towards resilient, regenerative and equitable economies.
A vision-led, unifying, and place-based set of principles, processes, and practices that build economic and political power to shift from an extractive economy to a regenerative economy. A just transition must be just and equitable. It must redress past harms and create new relationships of power for the future. It moves us away from extractive systems of production, consumption, and political oppression, and towards resilient, regenerative, and equitable economies.
Our Mission: A Healthy Gulf
Healthy Gulf’s purpose is to collaborate with and serve communities who love the Gulf of Mexico by providing the research, communications, and coalition-building tools needed to reverse the long pattern of over exploitation of the Gulf’s natural resources.
A healthy Gulf of Mexico returned to its former splendor that supports a thriving ecosystem that includes the Gulf’s natural resources and, just as importantly, the people, communities, and cultures that depend on those resources.
In December of 1994, representatives from various conservation organizations across the Gulf of Mexico held a meeting in Four Mile Village, Florida, to discuss the need for, and shared interest in, forming a Gulf-wide coalition.
On June 3, 1995, these representatives met in St. Petersburg, Florida to plan and establish Gulf Restoration Network’s (now Healthy Gulf) priority issues. These priorities included reducing pollution in our waterways, preserving Gulf wetlands, requiring sustainable management of Gulf fisheries and protecting threatened and endangered species. On August 29, 1995, the formation of Gulf Restoration Network was formally announced through simultaneous press events in New Orleans and Tampa.
In the beginning, Healthy Gulf operated as a project of the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund (formally the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund), receiving financial and staff assistance from that organization. Our first Campaign Director, Cynthia Sarthou, was hired in October 1995. In 1998, Healthy Gulf became an independent corporation and obtained 501(c)(3) status.
Since 1998, Healthy Gulf has grown in staff to our current size of 16 staff and many fellows, interns, and volunteers. We have evolved from a network of a few dozen member organizations held together by one staff person, to a thriving independent organization, with thousands of individual members throughout the Gulf. In 2019, Gulf Restoration Network changed its name to Healthy Gulf to reflect the ultimate mission of the organization.
In strategic partnership with our allies, we run campaigns in all five Gulf states to advance issues important to the health of the Gulf.
Healthy Gulf Core Values
The following core beliefs inspire and guide the Healthy Gulf’s work, its operation and how staff and board deal with people with whom we interact.
We believe that supporting the environmental health and ecosystem richness of the Gulf region is necessary to secure quality of life, sense of place, economic vitality, and social justice within all Gulf communities.
We believe in the importance of embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion in deep and transformative ways. We aspire to:
- create a welcoming and inclusive work environment;
- be inclusive in the way we engage with partners, affected communities, and the public;
- model our commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity in all that we do.
Dignity and Respect
We believe that Healthy Gulf staff, board, partners, members, supporters, and people, in general, have the right to be treated with dignity and to be respected as a whole person.
We believe that ensuring that we remain a strong, independent organization is essential to our ability to speak truth to power, stand up for underrepresented people and communities, and otherwise address major environmental problems in our region. Healthy Gulf does not accept donations from major industry or polluters, does not agree to accept donations intended to limit the scope or nature of our work, and otherwise defends peoples’ fundamental right to advocate and lobby for their constituents and causes.
We believe that we have a responsibility to our members, donors, and partners to be a transparent organization. We will provide relevant and reliable information about our partnerships, our financial position, and our performance as an organization, while honoring legally protected information.
We believe that it is important that communities and individuals have the power to make decisions, have the right to choose what they will do and with whom they will do it, and otherwise be in control of their community. Healthy Gulf recognizes that self-determination results from greater political and economic equity in all communities, so we stand in solidarity with broader movements that are fighting for equality.
We believe in the importance of responding to urgent issues that arise often unexpectedly, that threaten our environment and communities. As a small, regional organization, we have the ability to act swiftly and decisively in handling an urgent issue.
Safety and Health
We believe that the health and safety of our staff, board, colleagues, and communities is important. We aspire to a workplace where safety and health are valued along with productivity, quality, and pay. We believe that Gulf communities deserve a healthy environment to live, work, and recreate.
We believe in the value of working with others and achieving together what may not be possible alone. We aspire to bring a collaborative spirit and strategy to all that we do as individuals and as an organization, learning from the insights and leadership of others, and openly sharing what others may be able to learn from us.