(PHOTOS + VIDEO) Environmental Justice on the Cutting Edge – A Conversation with Dean Robert Bullard

On March 20, 2014, CUER co-hosted an evening conversation about environmental justice featuring Dr. Robert Bullard.

Dr. Robert Bullard is generally considered to be the father of environmental justice. He joined with CUER Director Rebecca Bratspies, WNYC reporter Anna Sale, and two NYC High School Students participating in CUER’s energy justice project to talk about environmental justice in NYC in an era of climate change.


Speaker Bios

Dr. Robert Bullard is the Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas. He is often described as the father of environmental justice. Professor Bullard received his Ph.D. degree from Iowa State University. He is the author of seventeen books that address sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, emergency response, smart growth, and regional equity. Professor Bullard was featured in the July 2007 CNN People You Should Know, Bullard: Green Issue is Black and White. In 2008, Newsweek named him one of 13 Environmental Leaders of the Century. And that same year, Co-op America honored him with its Building Economic Alternatives Award (BEA). In 2010, The Grio named him one of the “100 Black History Makers in the Making” and Planet Harmony named him one of Ten African American Green Heroes.” In 2012, he was featured in Welcome books Everyday Heroes: 50 Americans Changing the World One Nonprofit at a Time by Katrina Fried. And in 2013, he was honored with the Sierra Club John Muir Award, the first African American to win the award.

His book, Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and Environmental Quality (Westview Press, 2000), is a standard text in the environmental justice field. His most recent books include Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World (MIT Press, 2003), Highway Robbery: Transportation Racism and New Routes to Equity (South End Press, 2004), The Quest for Environmental Justice: Human Rights and the Politics of Pollution (Sierra Club Books, 2005), Growing Smarter: Achieving Livable Communities, Environmental Justice, and Regional Equity (MIT Press, 2007), and The Black Metropolis in the Twenty-First Century: Race, Power, and the Politics of Place (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007). Dr. Bullard is co-author of In the Wake of the Storm: Environment, Disaster and Race After Katrina (Russell Sage Foundation, 2006) and Toxic Wastes and Race at Twenty: 1987-2007 (United Church of Christ Witness & Justice Ministries, 2007). His latest books include Race, Place and Environmental Justice After Hurricane Katrina: Struggles to Reclaim, Rebuild, and Revitalize New Orleans and the Gulf Coast (Westview Press, 2009), Environmental Health and Racial Equality in the United States: Strategies for Building Just, Sustainable and Livable Communities (American Public Health Association Press, 2011), and The Wrong Complexion for Protection: How the Government Response to Disaster Endangers African American Communities (New York University Press, 2012).

Prof. Rebecca Bratspies is a Professor of Law at the CUNY School of Law and the founding director of the CUNY Center for Urban Environmental Reform. She has published widely on regulatory policy—with a focus on environmental democracy, regulating new technologies, and corporate responsibility. Her recent scholarship explores questions of urban sustainability, and the intersection of human rights and environmental regulation. Books include Transboundary Harm in International Law: Lessons from the Trail Smelter Arbitration, and Progress in International Law. Other notable publications include: Human Rights and Environmental Regulation, Regulatory Trust, The New Discovery Doctrine, and Rethinking Decisionmaking in International Environmental Law. Her environmental justice comic book, Mayah’s Lot, was featured in the New York Times’ Motherlode blog, Colorlines, and EPA’s Greenversations blog. It was adopted my Illinois and Mississippi as an environmental justice public outreach tool. Professor Bratspies currently uses Mayah’s Lot in educational programs in public schools in New York City.

Professor Bratspies is a scholar with the Center for Progressive Reform, the Environmental Law Collective and has served as an appointed member of the ABA Standing Committee on Environmental Law, a member of the Executive Committee of the American Association of Law Schools Section on the Environment, and an advisor to the Consultative Group on Agricultural Research. Before entering academia, Professor Bratspies served as a judicial law clerk to the Hon. C. Arlen Beam on the 8th Circuit, and practiced environmental law with Dechert. As a Henry Luce Foundation Scholar, Professor Bratspies spent a year seconded to the Republic of China (Taiwan) Environmental Protection Administration. She has taught at the University of Idaho, Michigan State University and NYU. She holds a BA in Biology from Wesleyan University and a J.D. cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania.

Anna Sale is a host and reporter at WNYC, where she covered the 2013 New York mayoral race in all five boroughs and the 2012 president election in swing states across America. She is a frequent fill-in host for The Brian Lehrer Show and The Leonard Lopate Show and she’s contributed to NPR, Marketplace, CNN, PBS Newshour, MSNBC, BBC, Slate, and NY1. Anna is currently developing an interview show for WNYC called Death Sex & Money that launches in spring 2014.

Anna’s work has been honored by the New York Press Club, Capitolbeat, and the Associated Press Broadcasters Associations of New York, Connecticut and West Virginia. She was a Racial Justice Fellow with USC Annenberg’s Institute for Justice and Journalism in 2007. She was also an associate producer of The Great Textbook War, a radio documentary that won a Peabody Award, a national Edward R. Murrow award, and a duPont-Columbia Silver Baton award.

Anna got her start covering news for public radio and television in West Virginia and Connecticut. At WNYC, she was a managing producer for The Takeaway and the launching editor of the politics website itsafreecounty.org before returning to reporting in 2011. In addition to campaigns, budget crises, and political scandals, she’s covered the Air Guard in Afghanistan, frustrated rescuers at a coal mining disaster, moonshine-makers in Brooklyn, and amputees recovering after the earthquake in Haiti.

A West Virginia native, Anna graduated from Stanford University with a degree in history. She’s on twitter @annasale.

Global Kids

Amosh Neupane is a seventeen year old high school senior at William Cullen Bryant High School in Long Island City, Queens. Amosh is originally from Nepal and has been in the United States for almost two years. A climate activist and an avid reader, Amosh plans to major in Environmental Studies, Government and Politics in college and sees himself working in the conservation field in the future. Some of Amosh’ accomplishments through his work with Global Kids’ Human Rights Activist Project (HRAP) program include: participating in an environmental summer institute, in which he studies green roof infrastructure and built several green roof models for NYC schools; facilitating workshops on a range of climate and environmental issues, including a workshop for hundreds of college students at a national climate activist gathering, Powershift; and speaking to hundreds at rallies against the Keystone XL Pipeline. He helped found and heads the Environmental Club (COSECA) at his school and is currently receiving his first college application decisions.

Read Drawing the Line: Amosh Neupane shares why he is a Climate Activist, a blog entry that reflects Amosh’s perspectives as a climate activist.

Makayla Comas is a seventeen year old high school senior at Benjamin Banneker Academy in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Makayla is from East Flatbush, Brooklyn and has been an active Global Kids Leader for two years. Makayla’s work includes speaking on a Youtube talk show with climate scientists and experts at Youtube studios; helping to lead a session on youth environmental leadership in the, “Talking Transition Tent”, to inform NYC’s new mayoral administration; and helping to organize and lead a campaign last year to convince school officials to build more green roofs on NYC schools. Makayla plans on studying environmental engineering in college and hopes to use environmental technology that can be used in parts of the world that need it most, like the Horn of Africa, an area that will continue to be most impacted most by climate change. Makayla travelled to Chile last year with the YMCA Global Teens program and will be serving as a Junior Group Leader with the same organization on a trip to South Africa this summer.

Read The Earth is Cleaner Than Us, a blog entry by Makayla Comas.

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