USP515 Session 2 Notes

August 31st and September 2nd
Session Two: Central Concepts

  1. Bring in written definitions of the following concepts and be prepared to discuss them: class, race, ethnicity, poverty, nature, environment, urban, right, prejudice, discrimination, racism, institutionalized racism, toxics, public health, protection from harm.
    • class:
      • the hierarchical classification of people based on wealth
      • the economic system of control within a society
    • race:
      • a social construct to categorize individuals
      • the hierarchical classification of people based on race
    • ethnicity: a social group that shares common religion, history, etc.
    • poverty: lacking sufficient resources to survive and flourish
    • nature:
      • all the plants and animals and the natural landscape
      • the collective physical world
      • if you subtract humans from the world, everything that’s left
    • environment:
      • all the surrounding things including people, animals, etc which impact our lives.
      • where we live, work, play, pray, advocate, learn, love, move
    • urban (latin for city)
      • having to do with cities or towns
      • metropolis, metropolitan (greek for city)
    • right:
      • something to which someone is entitled
      • the right thing to do
    • prejudice: beliefs that some groups are better than other groups.
    • discrimination: acting on the basis of prejudice to steal power and/or resources from a marginalized group in order to benefit a privileged group.
    • racism: the collective theft of power and resources from racially marginalized groups to benefit racially privileged groups
    • institutionalized racism: one of the three levels of systemic racism, institutional racism includes racism in institutions like education, the police, and in hiring.
    • toxics: pollutants in the environment
    • public health: the policies and institutions dedicated to improving and maintaining the health of the public.
    • protection from harm: the way that privileged groups are protected by shifting risks and harms onto marginalized groups.
  2. Bring in the names and emails of the congress people and senators that represent your district. 

Session Notes

  1. What do you think of when you hear the term “environmental justice”?
  2. What do you think the concept “environmental justice” implies and is aiming for?
  3. How does environmental justice relate to the planning of the urban environment and to people’s everyday lives?