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Environmental Justice: Where racism, climate and COVID meet Events and opportunities throughout the year that encourage dialogue, understanding, and informed, compassionate action related to ensuring environmental justice (EJ) for all and ending the pandemic of racism.

Black and Indigenous people, people of color, minorities, and poor communities are disproportionately impacted by the relentless challenges related to systemic racism, the COVID-19 pandemic, pollution burdens and climate change. Join the Penn State community this year as we talk and learn together about the barriers to, and solutions for ensuring Environmental Justice (EJ) for all.

On April 1, 2021 at 7:00 p.m., Dr. Robert J. Bullard, the 'Father of the Environmental Justice Movement' will speak virtually at Penn State.

Dr. Robert J. Bullard
"Environmental Justice is the principle that all people are entitled to equal environmental protection regardless of race, color or national origin. It’s the right to live and work and play in a clean environment." - Dr. Robert J. Bullard, 'Father of Environmental Justice'

Leading up to Dr. Bullard's presentation, partners across Penn State and surrounding communities are hosting events and programming connected to Environmental Justice (EJ). All events are free, and open to everyone.

Register in advance for this webinar.

2020-2021 Environmental Justice Programming

All opportunities are free, and open to all.

January 2021

January 19 | 12:00 p.m. Panel Discussion: Race, COVID-19 & Inequality. Join on ZOOM for a panel discussion with Penn State Brandywine and Penn State Abington staff and faculty members exploring the inequities of COVID-19 and race. https://engage.bw.psu.edu/mlk-day/

January 21 | 7:00 p.m.. MLK, Jr. Commemoration: Moderated discussion with Michelle Alexander. https://mlk.psu.edu/

January 25| 12:00 p.m. "Unnatural Causes ... Is Inequality Making Us Sick?" Viewing & Discussion. Join us via ZOOM for a screening and discussion of a segment of "Unnatural Causes ... is inequality making us sick?," a PBS documentary series exploring the racial and socioeconomic inequalities in health. Vippy Yee, the Rosenberg Director of the Penn State Brandywine Center for Ethics & Civic Engagement, will lead a discussion following the screening. https://engage.bw.psu.edu/mlk-day/

January 26 | 12:00 p.m. Living Room Conversation: Race in the Time of Corona. Join via ZOOM for an exchange of ideas and experiences on the disproportionate impact Covid-19 has had on people of color. Vippy Yee, the Rosenberg Director of the Penn State Brandywine Center for Ethics & Civic Engagement, will lead this discussion using a Living Room Conversation model developed by dialogue experts to facilitate connection between people despite their differences, and even identify areas of common ground and shared understanding. https://engage.bw.psu.edu/mlk-day/

To add an event to the calendar, email sustainability@psu.edu

February 2021

February 1 | 11:30 a.m.–12:30 pm. on zoom. Sustainability and Environmental Justice: Integrating Environmental Justice into Teaching, by Heather Plumridge Bedi, PhD, Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies, Dickinson College whose research interests include examining how civil society and socio-environmental movements experience and adapt to natural resource and landscape modifications related to energy processes, climate change, industrialization, and agricultural transitions. Registration requested.

February 3 | 11:15 a.m. on zoom. Gregory Jenkins, meteorology and atmospheric science, “Climate Justice as the Intersection of Climate Science, Environmental Justice and Social Justice” as part of the Earth System Science Center spring 2021 Climate Dynamics seminar series. On Zoom.

February 25 | 4:00 p.m. on ZoomDanielle Allen: Our Common Purpose. Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University and director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, is a chair of the Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship, which produced the report "Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century" for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She will share the report and speak on how to make the United States a stronger, more equitable democracy. In an age of globalization, centralized power, economic inequality, deep demographic shifts, political polarization, pandemics and climate change, and radical disruption in the media and information environments, we face these converging trends in a constitutional democracy that feels to many increasingly unresponsive, nonadaptive, and even antiquated. An event of The McCourtney Institute for Democracy.

February 27 | 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on zoomMapping a Just and Sustainable Future for Pennsylvania, Presented by Peter Buck, Nebraska Hernandez, and Nyla Holland. An event of the Ashtekar Frontiers of Science Lectures in the Eberly College of Science, Sustainability: How Science Can Help Achieve the UN's 203 Sustainable Development Goals series.

Anytime Offerings

These webinars, podcasts, films and resources are available to anyone at anytime

Ibram X. Kendi, "How to be an Anti-Racist" talk, sponsored by College of Earth and Mineral Sciences recording is available at www.watch.psu.edu/kendi (Penn State login required).

The Education College Dean's Equity Forum presentation by Dr. Mildred Boveda recording can be accessed here. Dr. Boveda's talk on "Developing Intersectional Competence: Are General and Special Education Preservice Teachers Prepared to Respond to Multiple Differences?" was the first in the series for The College of Education.

Racism in the Value Chain of Food and Agriculture, a recorded webinar that explores historical and current inequalities in starting up a food or beverage-based business. Panelists will speak on their experiences in being a BIPOC owner and working, marketing, and selling within industries that are historically white-owned. Hosted by Penn State Extension. Access here.

Held October 15, 2020: Pride in Our Community Pep Rally showcased PSU students' culture through performances and an overall showcase of pride in our community of color at Penn State. Access via Facebook live .

Author Spotlight: An Evening with Elizabeth Rush. Acclaimed author and Pulitzer Prize finalist Elizabeth Rush made a virtual visit to the Centre Region on Oct. 21, presented in collaboration with The Sustainability Institute at Penn State and the Schlow Library Foundation. Access her talk, "On Rising Together, Creative and Collective Responses to Climate Change" here.

Take Note Podcast from WPSU: Robert Bullard On The Critical Role of Environmental Justice. Access here

Sustainability Showcase recordings, including ​Justice-Centered Science Pedagogy: Teaching Towards Sustainable Futures; Climate Change: An Ecological and Health Equity Crisis; Food Justice is More than Growing Food and Feeding People; Decolonizing Social Justice: A Storyteller’s Guide to Changing the World Access recordings here.

Penn State Office of Diversity and Inclusion Calendar of Events

Learn More

The 17 Principles of Environmental Justice were adopted in 1991 by delegates to the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit.

Image by Nyla Holland, Environmental Justice intern at the Sustainability Institute at Penn State.

Throughout the fall semester the 17 Principles of Environmental Justice will be highlighted and explored via Instagram on the Sustainability Institute's account, @sustainpsu. Follow this account for more information about EJ and related events.

Image on left by Waverly Huang

This collaboration is made possible by the following partnering colleges, units and organizations