Greening the Community – The Father of Environmental Justice
Did you know that a person’s zip code is the most potent predictor of an individual’s health and well-being? Skin color determines the amount of pollution that an individual lives around, drinks, and breathes. Communities of color are, by far, burdened with more environmental hazards than white communities, making people of color disproportionately the victims of environmental pollution and negative health consequences, without acknowledgement or support from corporations or government.
Environmental racism is a type of discrimination where minority communities are forced to live in close proximity to environmentally hazardous or degraded environments, such as toxic waste, pollution, and urban decay. Finding a solution to such an inequitable system requires collaboration across disciplines, providing a seat at the table for our community to work together for sustainable change.
As someone who is extremely passionate about confronting environmental racism, I am thrilled to announce that Dr. Robert Bullard, often described as “the father of environmental justice,” will be speaking at Florida State University (FSU) in the Ruby Diamond Concert Hall on March 6, 2019. Dr. Bullard will speak on “Building Just and Sustainable Communities in the Era of Climate Change,” a reflection of his dedication to and passion for the intersectionality of social justice, the environment, human health, racial equity, and urban planning. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Dr. Bullard is the Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern University, the co-founder of the Historically Black College & University’s Climate Change Consortium, and an award-winning author of 18 books on race, equity, and environmental justice.
Dr. Bullard first became involved in the racial citing of hazardous waste as an expert witness for the 1979 seminal case of Bean v. Southwestern Waste Management Corp., challenging the citing of a garbage dump in a middle-class black Houston neighborhood. While communities of color were only 25 percent of the city’s population, they housed all five city-owned garbage dumps, six of the eight city-owned garbage incinerators, and three of the four privately owned landfills
As much an activist as an academic, Dr. Bullard was one of the organizers of the first National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit in 1991, at which the principles of the movement were first developed. Reducing environmental, health, economic, and racial disparities is a major priority of the environmental justice movement, and Dr. Bullard has distinguished himself as a powerful leader and engaging advocate.
A speaker of this magnitude would not have been possible without the interdisciplinary collaboration of FSU’s College of Social Sciences and Public Policy (COSSPP), Sustainable Campus program, Union Productions, and Office of Student Sustainability. “We are excited to co-sponsor Dr. Bullard’s talk, since so many of our faculty members are deeply engaged in environmental concerns, particularly as they intersect with social issues,” said COSSPP Dean Tim Chapin. “We have a strong commitment to providing a foundation for research and leadership across many disciplines to take on the serious challenges society faces. Recognizing the value of taking that work to the broader community, we’re proud to have a part in showcasing the vital work of someone with such a peerless reputation.”
After his lecture, Dr. Bullard will be autographing “The Wrong Complexion for Protection,” the acclaimed 2012 book by Dr. Robert D. Bullard and Beverly Wright, the founding director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice. Books will be available for sale before the lecture starting at 6:00 pm. Dr. Bullard will begin speaking at 7:00 pm.
In his lecture, as in his work, Dr. Bullard emphasizes the need for interdisciplinary collaboration and civic engagement in our communities for equitable solutions. He speaks to the interconnection between issues, so this event touches us all. I hope you will join us as we continue to strive toward creating sustainable, healthy, and equitable communities.
For more information on Robert Bullard visit https://drrobertbullard.com. For the latest news and updates on the lecture, follow @FSUsustainable on, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Jamie Valentine, writing for Sustainable Tallahassee, is the Partnerships Coordinator for FSU’s Sustainable Campus. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a “Greening Our Community” article, an initiative of Sustainable Tallahassee. Learn more at www.SustainableTallahassee.org.