2016 Environmental Affairs Symposium - Equity and Earth
Equity and Earth:
Intersections of Social Justice and Environment
19th Annual Symposium: October 18-20, 2016
Some of the most pressing issues of our time concern uneven access to the elements of a good life, including security, employment, education, access to resources, and relative freedom from environmental threats. Addressing the interwoven social, political, and biophysical actors and processes that frame these inequities requires a thoughtful environmentalism, one that allows humans their place in “the environment.” Some facets of modern environmental thinking, such as the environmental justice movement, have emphasized issues of equity, most notably in relation to the distribution of environmental goods and burdens. But many other connections are ripe for fuller exploration.
This symposium highlighted intersections between issues of social justice and environment, probing the emphases and gaps in scholarship and activism. Through a keynote dialog and three panels, we considered questions such as: What and whose priorities have been foregrounded as modern environmentalism has taken shape, and whose interests have been overlooked? How does crisis illuminate the vulnerabilities and inequities in our communities and institutions? How are aims for improving quality of life for citizens around the globe best achieved, and how can well-intentioned efforts sometimes go astray?