Tuesday, August 4, 2009: 11:30 AM-1:15 PM
Blrm C, Albuquerque Convention Center
Jessica R. Miesel
George A. Middendorf
Mimi E. Lam
Charles H. Nilon
Environmental justice (EJ) addresses the disproportionate impact of environmental degradation on the poor, indigenous, and people of color. Because EJ developed from the civil rights movement and has involved religious organizations, academic interest in EJ has been primarily in the social sciences. Although ecological interest increased over the past decade and an ESA member section was established in 2008, the role of ecology in EJ is undefined. Ecological studies with an EJ context remain sparse and the inclusion of EJ in the ecology curriculum is in its infancy. As our understanding of the effects of industrial processes on human health and the environment increases, the need for interdisciplinary collaboration for environmental remediation and achieving global sustainability becomes more pressing. Coursework and dialogue that promotes understanding of the social and political contexts within which ecological issues are resolved is critical for preparing future ecologists and other citizens to develop effective, sustainable solutions. This interactive workshop will explore initiatives that integrate EJ into ecology research and education in mainstream and minority settings. We’ll present two pilot graduate courses that integrate EJ into ecology curricula at Ohio State and Howard University. We’ll also highlight how social injustice has been alleviated through incorporating traditional ecological knowledge into ecology courses at TCUs for indigenous communities. We’ll then invite participants to identify links between ecology and EJ among ecologists and within diverse ecology education settings. Finally, we’ll initiate an interactive EJ curriculum exchange to spread EJ in ecology education, research, and public engagement throughout North America and globally.