Day 3

Wednesday, May 23rd “Environmental Challenges: Perception versus Reality”

8:30 a.m. – Breakfast (7th floor Cabot)

9:00 a.m. – Urban Dimensions of Environmental Communication (Aaron Bernstein) Bernstein‘s Presentation

10:00 a.m. – Break

10:15 a.m. – Tufts President Anthony Monaco

10:45 a.m. – Review of Digital Stories (Colin Orians and Bryan Revis)

11:30 a.m. – Discussion of Reading – GMO foods

12:00 p.m. – Lunch

1:00 p.m. – Urban Agriculture and Food Security: Perception vs. Reality (Tim Griffin)

2:00 p.m. – Discussion

3:00 p.m. – Conclude

Homework Assignment:

For tomorrow’s field trips, please read the following articles and comment on one or several of them in the space below.

1. Faber, Daniel and Eric Krieg. October 2005. “Unequal Exposure to Ecological Hazards 2005: Environmental Injustices in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Executive Summary.” Philanthropy and Environmental Justice Research Project of Northeastern University, pp. iii-vi, 1-11.

2. Bongiovanni, Roseann and Chacker, Stacey. Chelsea Creek Assessment presentation at Science to Action: Community-based Participatory Research and Cumulative Risk Analysis as Tools to Advance Environmental Justice in Urban, Suburban and Rural Communities held at Boston University on May 24-26, 2004.

3. Loh, Penn and Jodi Sugerman-Brozan. November 2002. “Environmental Justice Organizing for Environmental Health: Case Study on Asthma and Diesel Exhaust in Roxbury, MA.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, vol. 584, pp. 110-124.

OPTIONAL:

Explore the website’s for ACE and Chelsea Collaborative.

Watch a 9 minute video on Environmental Justice groups organizing around climate justice to defeat Prop 23 in California: http://vimeo.com/32174618

4 Responses to Day 3

  1. Caroline says:

    The powerpoint on the “Chelsea Creek Assessment,” as well as the mission statements of ACE and Chelsea Collaborative, stress the importance of involving community members in environmental justice initiatives and really allowing the concerns and suggestions of the community to organize agendas and action. This seems right to me, and it also seems like an important idea to stress to students and to try to integrate into their coursework on environmental issues. The relation between university courses and community-driven organizations and initiatives raises, for me, some of the questions we have been asking in TELI for the last few days about how to better integrate urban universities with their surrounding communities. Tufts has been working on this integration in a number of ways, and I’m wondering what kind of models we have for thinking about the relation between students and class projects and community organizations. What do we teach students about their role in these community organizations? What is their role?

  2. Cory says:

    In addition to valuing them for their content, I appreciate the way in which this juxtaposition of readings illustrates the importance of approaching information using a variety of different analytical lenses. The first article provides needed data analysis of the unequal distribution of environmental hazards across low-income and predominately non-white communities. This analysis rigorously verifies patterns of inequality that support the authors’ conclusion that environmental injustice does indeed operate within the Commonwealth. The second article details the specific case of environmental injustice and Chelsea Creek. Although it offers demographic information, it focuses on activism rather than comprehensive mathematical analysis, emphasizing community action and involvement. Comparing the first and second articles would be a valuable learning experience for students in 1st year writing. It would address questions of audience and genre while exposing the students to the factual information about their ecological and cultural surroundings. Although both articles obviously make the case for the interconnection between ecology and culture individually, reading them in concert emphasizes the ways in which the term “environment” necessarily encompasses both terms. Ideally, the students could better understand the interdependence between ecology and culture, and the connection between intellectual work and social engagement by comparing and contrasting these different approaches to an important environmental issue.

  3. Nicole Soltis says:

    In reading the Chelsea Creek Assessment, I noticed an additional potential challenge in encouraging awareness of and curiosity for the environment. In communities like Chelsea, contact with the neighborhood’s open space, from polluted air to a potentially contaminated river, may result in illness and injury. Such negative effects of outdoor recreation could discourage community members from further exploration of the natural environment.

    I was alarmed by the Unequal Exposure article; in minority and low-income communities of Boston, it seems the risk of exposure to ecological hazards is higher on every front. I understand that many factors must lead companies and governments to concentrate waste in these areas. However, it is difficult to imagine the burden of such exposures on these communities. Health complications resulting from exposure are a greater relative expense to these individuals. In multicultural neighborhoods, there may be social and language barriers that complicate community action toward environmental cleanup. Additionally, a lack of time and social (political) capital could prevent community members from taking action.

  4. Emma says:

    One component of the Chelsea Community Recommendations to the EPA that I found particularly striking was the request that the CCAG be informed of all enforcement actions taken. I tend to think of community involvement as something mostly along the lines of raising awareness and pointing out sites that need attention (such as in the Prop 23 film) to the government, rather than as the community requiring the government to raise the community’s attention to action taken. Yet, this seems an extremely valuable part of the partnership, and by extension, of an environmentalist’s role. Raising awareness or initiating literacy is only a first handshake leading into an interactive relationship that continues to communicate about positive actions and ideas as much as it initially may have been about protesting negative action or neglect.

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