OVEC is a nationally recognized grassroots organization dedicated to preserving and protecting our natural heritage
The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, formed in 1987, is a 501-c-3 nonprofit organization. Our mission is to organize and maintain a diverse grassroots organization dedicated to the improvement and preservation of the environment and communities through education, grassroots organizing and coalition building, leadership development, strategic litigation and media outreach. Our work encompasses much of West Virginia and the Ohio River Valley.
The structure of OVEC is a common one: volunteers / members, board of directors with officers, and staff members. What is uncommon is the committed participation of many ordinary folks in OVEC, united for the common purpose of protecting the environment in which we all live. OVEC’s board of directors is active.
OVEC’s Vision and Values
OVEC values not only our mountain ecosystems, but also the people and culture of the Central Appalachian region. We believe everyone has the right to clean air, clean water, and an environment that does not harm people’s health, but enhances the quality of life. We believe social change can happen when ordinary citizens feel personally powerful and see themselves as agents of change; we work to make this happen through our efforts to develop new leaders, promote civic participation, embrace biodiversity and cultural diversity, amplify the voices of affected residents, and seed/nurture new community groups.
We believe in an accessible, truly democratic government that protects the rights of everyone. We believe in a just, diversified, and sustainable economy that values the education, creativity, and innovative ideas of all citizens. Our vision includes a just transition from a fossil fuel-based economy to one that incorporates renewable energy, which can help stem the tide of climate change, provide more jobs, create shared prosperity, keep communities intact, and improve the quality of life for all. We work within the view that social, economic, and environmental issues are interconnected and interdependent; our fight for environmental justice is part of the universal struggle to overcome all forms of oppression.
OVEC opposes corruption, oppression, greed, pollution, environmental degradation, racism, sexism, xenophobia, lies, and exploitation of workers and community members.
OVEC values community, passion/righteous anger, authenticity/sincerity, inclusiveness/diversity, tenacity, fairness, love of nature, environmental and social justice, knowledge and evidence, relationships and networks, and integrity.
OVEC Statement on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice
OVEC recognizes that social justice and environmental justice are inextricable. As biodiversity is crucial to a balanced, healthy ecosystem, so is cultural diversity central to a healthy society. An ecosystem that is diverse might be left unattended to thrive, but our human society obviously needs more than diversity alone to function for the benefit of all. To build a better now and a just future, OVEC must do our part, as an organization and in coalitions, to:
Abolish white supremacy and institutional and systemic racism and the policies and practices that keep these systems of oppression in place;
Insist on inclusivity wherein those traditionally locked out of decision-making processes—from within organizational walls to the highest levels of government—are able to fully participate;
Demand and promote justice and reparations as fundamental to achieving equity;
Recognize and understand white privilege and use it only for anti-racist work;
Celebrate and learn from the stories, strength, wisdom, and resiliency of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities.
OVEC is committed to intentionally working to create an environment where diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice is welcome, honored, and respected in our leadership, program work, organizational culture, and within our communities. Beyond doing our part to dismantle white supremacy, this also means being inclusive and supportive of the LGBTQ+ community and all gender identities, people of all age groups and all religions, those of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, and folks with varying cognitive and physical capabilities.
OVEC’s Values in Coalition with Like-Minded Groups
OVEC is a member of The Alliance for Appalachia, through which we are members of Climate Justice Alliance (CJA). We endorse and strive to honor CJA’s Just Transition Principles. OVEC is also a member of the People Over Petro coalition, which operates under CJA’s Just Transition Principles, as well as the Jemez Principles.