USP 515 Session 6 Notes

September 28th and 30th
Session Six: Unequal Protection from Harm
In this session we will examine the concepts of “unequal protection”, “environmental racism”, and environmental justice” in relation to theory, policy and practice. We will address the following questions:

  1. What do we learn from reading Lawrence Summer’s memo?
  2. Why is it important that people know about Lawrence Summer’s memo?
  3. What does David Harvey mean when he talks about an “environment of justice”?
  4. What did you learn from the readings about the relationship between place and health?
  5. What it meant by the concept “protection from harm”?
  6. Is it important for public officials to explicitly protect people from harm? Why or why not?
  7. What are the implications of not protecting people from harm?
  8. What are the implications of protecting some people and groups from harm more than others?

ASSIGNED READING FOR SESSION SIX

  1. GEP Memorandum – Summers
    1. The author claims that we should try to move dirty industries to poor countries because it’s cheaper to choose to endanger the public in poor countries.
    2. Polluters can get away with paying less wages in poor countries.
    3. Countries in Africa are “UNDER-polluted.”
      1. Therefore we should shift pollution from developed countries to balance out the lack of pollution in Africa.
    4. Only rich people care about the health risks of pollution.
    5. Response from a Brazilian official, “Your reasoning is perfectly logical but totally insane… Your thoughts [provide] a concrete example of the unbelievable alienation, reductionist thinking, social ruthlessness and the arrogant ignorance of many conventional ‘economists’ concerning the nature of the world we live in…. If the World Bank keeps you as vice president it will lose all credibility.”
  2. The Environment of Justice – Harvey
    1. First, we recap the previous memo and the response from Brazil which was mirror by other world leaders.
    2. “The Economist,” which Lenin called “A tabloid that speaks for British millionaires,” agreed with the Memo and its logic.
    3. Harvey characterizes the memo as an endorsement of “Toxic colonialism ” or the idea of leveraging the displacement and extermination of indigenous populations by adding toxic waste.
    4. Harvey touches on the fact that in the United States, the most reliable predictor of toxic waste dumps is the presence of communities of color, and indigenous communities.
    5. Harvey connects environmental justice to civil rights, and shows that many black groups in particular define environmental justice this way.
    6. There seems to be more to the conversation but the text ends here.
  3. Almost Everything You Need to Know About Environmental Justice — the United Church of Christ
    1. UCC claims to have founded the environmental justice movement
    2. UCC defines environmental racism as the siting of hazardous waste sites, landfills, incinerators, and polluting industries in ethnic and racial minority communities.
    3. They list the many common environmental issues
      1. The placing of hazardous and other noxious facilities
      2. Lead poisoning among children
      3. Asthma and other respiratory illnesses
      4. Unsafe, indecent, and exploitative workplace condition
      5. Cancer, birth defects, and developmental illnesses
      6. Pesticide poisoning of farm workers
      7. Contaminated sites and properties
      8. Transportation thoroughfares
      9. Congested and decaying housing conditions
      10. Lack of protection of spiritual grounds and indigenous habitats
      11. Pollution and lack of sound economic development
      12. Lack of access to quality health care
      13. Unequal enforcement of environmental laws
      14. Lack of people of color in the environmental professions
      15. Inadequate community participation in the decision-making process
    4. They list several major historical events
      1. 1982 Warren County, NC
      2. 1983 US General Accounting Office Report
      3. 1987 UCC Toxic Waste and Race in the United States Report
      4. 1990 Dana Alston publishes We Speak For Ourselves: Social Justice, Race, and the Environment
      5. 1990 Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality
      6. 1990 University of Michigan Symposium on Race and the Incidence of Environmental Hazards
      7. 1991 First National POC Environmental Leadership Summit
      8. 1989 ATSDR Minority Health Initiative
      9. 1992 Establishment of EPA Office of Environmental Justice
      10. 1994 Federal Interagency Symposium on Health Research and Needs to Ensure Environmental Justice
      11. 1994 Environmental Justice Executive Order
      12. 1994 National Environmental Justice Advisory Counsel
    5. The collective and individual health of members of a community is the direct result of a set of physical, social, cultural and spiritual factors. The emphasis of looking into the importance of the comprehensive health and well being of a community was directly initiated by the Environmental Justice movement. The Environmental Justice movement represents a new vision created through a series of community processes whose main objective is a transformative public conversation about what is necessary for sustainable, healthy and vital communities. The Environmental Justice movement envisions the development of a community based, multi-task integrative paradigm that facilitates the unification, development and permanency of healthy and sustainable communities.
    6. War is another major contributor to environmental harms
    7. UCC gives a list of things individuals should do about environmental justice
      1. Talk to members of your church and others
        in the community
      2. Research all the facts
      3. Develop a good description of the problem
      4. Collect good documentation of issues and
        activities
      5. Consult with other communities with similar issues; don’t reinvent the wheel
      6. Select the most appropriate resource persons and organizations
      7. Identify government agencies who are supposed to help
      8. Clarify the legal, scientific and medical issues involved
      9. Hold community meetings to share information and strategize
      10. Prepare educational materials for your community
      11. Formulate an action plan
      12. Form partnerships with university, environmental, health and other groups
      13. Devise a media strategy
      14. Don’t be intimidated or overwhelmed; you are the expert on your community
      15. Network with other environmental justice groups
    8. UCC gives a list of 17 guiding principles for environmental justice
      1. Environmental Justice affirms the sacredness of Mother Earth, ecological unity and the interdependence of all species, and the right to be free from ecological destruction.
      2. Environmental Justice demands that public policy be based on mutual respect and justice for all people, free from any form of discrimination or bias.
      3. Environmental Justice mandates the right to ethical, balanced and responsible uses of land and renewable resources in the interest of a sustainable planet for humans and other living things.
      4. Environmental Justice calls for universal protection from nuclear testing, extraction, production and disposal of toxic/hazardous wastes and poisons and nuclear testing that threaten the fundamental right to clean air, land, water, and food.
      5. Environmental Justice affirms the fundamental right to political, economic, cultural and environmental self-determination of all peoples.
      6. Environmental Justice demands the cessation of the production of all toxins, hazardous waste, and radioactive materials, and that all past and current procedures are held strictly accountable to the people for detoxification and the containment at the point of production.
      7. Environmental Justice demands the right to participate as equal partner at every level of decision-making, including needs assessment, planning, implementation, enforcement and evaluation.
      8. Environmental Justice affirms the right of all workers to a safe and healthy work environment without being forced to choose between an unsafe livelihood and unemployment. It also affirms the right of those who work at home to be free from environmental hazards.
      9.  Environmental Justice protects the right of victims of environmental injustice to receive full compensation and reparations for damages as well as quality health care.
      10. Environmental Justice considers governmental acts of environmental injustice a violation of international law, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and the United Nations Convention on Genocide.
      11. Environmental Justice must recognize a special legal and natural relationship of Native People to the United States government through treaties, agreements, compacts, and covenants affirming sovereignty and self determination.
      12. Environmental Justice affirms the need for urban and rural ecological policies to clean up and rebuild our cities and rural areas in balance with nature, honoring the cultural integrity of all our communities, and providing fair access for all to the full range of resources.
      13. Environmental Justice calls for the strict enforcement of principles of informed consent, and a halt to the testing of experimental reproductive and medical procedures and vaccinations on people of color.
      14. Environmental Justice opposes the destructive operations of multi-national corporations.
      15. Environmental Justice opposes military occupation, repression and exploitation of lands, people and cultures, and other life forms.
      16. Environmental Justice calls for the education of present and future generations which emphasizes social and environmental issues, based on our experience and an appreciation of our diverse cultural perspectives.
      17. Environmental Justice requires that we, as individuals, make personal and consumer choices to consume as little of Mother Earth’s resources and to produce as little waste as possible; and make the conscious decision to challenge and reprioritize our lifestyles to insure the health of the natural world for present and future generations.
    9. UCC concludes with a list of suggestions for the future including careers people should pursue in order to contribute to the cause of environmental justice.

NO HOMEWORK

USP 515 Session 5 Notes

Session Five: The Politics of Pollution

In this session we will discuss how decisions about the location and distribution of environmental benefits and hazards are made, under what institutional conditions these decision are made, who makes these decisions, and who benefits and does not benefit from these decisions. We will address the following questions:

  1. What do Davies and Davies mean when they use the term “politics of pollution’?
    1. Silent spring generation
      1. All the invisible pollution and chemicals that are piling up in the environment
      2. Made many predictions which came true from decrease in fertility to increase in allergies, etc.
    2. The central claim of this piece is that the interdisciplinary scientific study of pollution is not based on science. The standards used to study pollution are not scientific, they’re political. The standards are arbitrary.
      1. In Flint Michigan, the government just changed the official dangerous level of lead contamination to hide the danger the community was facing.
      2. How does the decision get made about what levels of pollution are harmful?
  2. Why did Bullard write an article extending the concept of the politics of pollution to the Black community specifically?
    1. Analysis of politics of pollution reveals that environmental injustice always results in marginalized communities bearing the brunt of the harms
      1. Systemic racism is the mechanism
  3. What do these articles help us understand about the relationship between income, race, and health?
    1. How do we deal with the politics of pollution
      1. Education – inform both impacted and non-impacted communities about the issues
      2. Engagement with impacted communities
      3. Representation – giving impacted communities power
      4. Reduce pollution
      5. Change the way we extract, distribute, manufacture, distribute, consume, waste services and goods.
      6. Producer responsibility
      7. We need leaders who come from impacted communities -> one claim of the Bullard article

Other Notes

  1. Gentrification is when privileged people come into a neighborhood and take resources like housing and food from marginalized people, leading to an increase in costs and a drop in access for marginalized people.
    1. This leads to a cultural changes through settler colonialism; displacing and exterminating populations and cultures.
      1. Alex Nieto: White dog walkers new to Burnal called the police on a person of color who grew up there and was eating a burrito. The police murdered him.
      2. White people complain about long-standing cultural aspects of neighborhoods like live music.
      3. White tech bros in the Mission demanding locking gates and reservation systems for the use of public parks.
      4. Essentially all public housing was eventually demolished. About 10% of it was replaced with nonprofit housing.
  2. Bottled water is unregulated.
    1. People in marginalized communities are more likely to drink bottled water and therefore be exposed to toxins in unregulated bottled water products

ASSIGNED READING FOR SESSION FIVE (click on session 5 on left to access reading) 

  1. The Politics of Pollution — Davies and Davies
    1. Since a lower value is placed on marginalized communities, society chooses to move harms and risks there.
    2. Wealthy and powerful white communities are given priority with pollution mitigation efforts.
    3. Industry likewise disposes of wastes where it’s easiest and cheapest, disparately impacting marginalized communities with the externalities of toxic industrial biproducts.
  2. The Politics of Pollution: Implications for the Black Community — Bullard and Wright
    1. Historically the black community was very engaged with the civil rights movement at the time when the environmental movement was coalescing
    2. Ongoing segregation in cities plus the legacy of slavery and redlining has led to high concentrations of black populations in small areas in urban centers.
    3. Lots of evidence that marginalized urban communities are more likely to be exposed to environmental harms.
    4. Black communities have less power to make changes in cities because wealth and power are concentrated in the same white neighborhoods which consistently vote to move harms to black neighborhoods.
    5. Paradigm
      1. Science is not based on fact
      2. Science is based on interpretation by the most privileged members of society

USP515 Session 4 Notes

September 14th and 16th
Session Four: Environmental Justice
This session will focus on the concept and root causes of environmental injustice. We will be guided by the following questions: 

  1. How would you define the concept of “environmental injustice”?
    • Disparate impact
    • Social movement in relation to environmental movement with social justice component
    • Poorer nations bear the burden of externalities for rich nations
    • Complex concept made up of multiple intersecting dimensions
      • Impact of institutional racism on land based policies
      • Dynamics of power: where, how, who makes decision related to who is protected from harm
      • Race, class, and equity inequalities
      • Distributional dimensions: disparate impact
    • Factors come together to protect some people more/better from harm than others
    • Film
      • “Reimagining the system”
      • Demographic factors mentioned
        • Race
        • Wealth
        •  Language
          • Associates you closer or further from the dominant culture
      • Land use policies help explain why some groups and locations are better protected from harm than others.
        • Legacy of slavery is a factor in determining land use policies
        • City of San Francisco owns lots of land around the state which are used to deliver services and utilities to the city
          • This makes those lands vassals which serve the needs of San Francisco, suffering harms from dumping and other problems for the benefit of people living in San Francisco
  2. What factors explain the root causes of environmental injustice?
    • Capitalism frames the economy
    • The constitution frames the laws
    • Systemic inequality/ oppression
      • Legacy of slavery
      • Redlining
      • Chinese exclusion act
      • Concentration camps
      • Immigration laws
      • Prison industrial complex
  3. Why are zip codes meaningful factors to understand when trying to understand environmental injustice?
    • They tell you where people live
    • They have histories of redlining
    • Associated with property, infrastructure, services, etc.
    • Political representation
    • Policy implementation
  4. What did you learn from the radio broadcast on Flint, Michigan?
    • balance of power shifted away from flint and to the state
      • laws changed
      • idea of receivership enacted
    • laws applied inequitably and along racial lines
      • many cities insolvent
      • these receivership laws applied only black cities
    • all the public and private commercial offices were informed about the contaminated water and switched to filtration and bottled sources
      • residents were not informed and continued to drink the contaminated water
      • vital information was withheld from marginalized communities
    • governor appoints unelected leaders and decision makers whose interests do not represent the community, and whose demographics do not represent the community
    • put policies into practice which harm the people
    • they denied the harm
    • community members started to notice problems
      • pediatricians noticed heavy metal poisoning symptoms
    • contamination confirmed through testing by virginia tech
    • whistle blew
    • state denied the problem by changing the standards so that the toxic levels no longer qualified as toxic.
  5. Give an example of an environmental injustice that you see happening today and explain the root causes of this environmental injustice?
    • The 580 freight ban
      • Rich white people in the Oakland hills ban freight traffic through their neighborhoods in order to protect themselves from harm
      • Harm is shifted to poor black neighborhoods
      • Those neighborhoods have a 14 year average difference in life expectancy and thirty times higher incidence of respiratory disorders

Other Notes

  • WW2 and wealth redistribution
    • War veterans were supposed to get many benefits
      • Mortgages including free down payment
      • Education
      • Access to veteran healthcare
      • Hiring incentives for employers
      • This mostly only for white people and only for men
      • Black people could get debt, where white people got free money for these things.
    • This gave trillions of dollars to white people and funded the creation of the suburbs
  • Talked about red lining and segregation
    • Green book
    • Hegemonic food culture
  • Small group discussion about “Which came first, people or pollution
    • It’s complicated
    • Siting versus post-siting effects for hazardous waste facilities and why they are sited in certain places
    • I live in West Oakland because it’s cheap
      • It’s cheap because it’s polluted.
        • It became polluted because it was mostly black.
    • In this case, the hazardous waste sites were placed in certain kinds of marginalized neighborhoods. The people came before the pollution.
    • LULU: Locally unwanted land uses
      • Zoning and permitting
        • Institutional discrimination can decide where hazardous things are permitted.
      • land values are more affordable
      • political process – access to information, representation
      • commingled factors – transportation, workers, air quality, utilities, space — large buildings
    • people came second: demographic changes after siting have led to increasing concentration of minorities and the poor around these sites
      • employment opportunities
      • cost of housing less expensive
      • social networks
      • culture
      • law, politics, housing covenants, laws, redlining

 ASSIGNED READING FOR SESSION FOUR

  1. Which came first, people or pollution? — Mohai and Saha
  2. Making the Case for Linking Community Development and Health

USP515 Session 3 Notes

September 9th
Session Three: Central Theories

This session will focus on the concept and root causes of environmental injustice. We will be guided by the following questions:

  1. What are the main issues discussed in Feagin and Eckberg article? (These are all quotes)
    1. Most of the germane social science literature contains some variation
      of the assumption that prejudice causes discrimination

      1. Thus in his pathbreaking study An American Dilemma, Myrdal saw racial prejudice as a complex of beliefs that “are behind discriminatory behavior on the part of the majority group” and that contradict the egalitarian American Creed.
      2. Only a few dozen prejudice-discrimination studies exist among the
        many attitude-behavior studies in the empirical literature
      3. Attitude-behavior research, published primarily in a few social psychology journals, emphasizes individualistic explanations; it seldom considers variables outside an experimental subject’s personality or immediate reference group.
      4. Few studies of prejudice and discrimination, i looking at causal explanations, have focused on economic and political context
      5. In addition to this variegated research literature, more general and
        theoretical discussions in the social sciences continue to accent a prejudice-causes-discrimination
      6. Because of their focus on prejudice and its relation to discrimination,
        social scientists have tended toward optimism about the eradication of discrimination
    2. Social scientists have also sought to delineate the statistical and psychological effects of discrimination
    3. Institutional Discrimination: a shift in emphasis
      1. Beginning in earnest in the 1960s, some social scientists departed from the prejudice-causes-discrimination model and focused on other types of motivation and other dimensions of discrimination
      2. Interest theory suggests that discrimination can be shaped by desire for social, economic, or political gain
      3. Institutional Racism: In Black Power, the activist Carmichael
        and the scholar Hamilton first used the concept of institutional racism in an extended sociological analysis. Looking beyond individual white bigots, they try to discern community-wide patterns of discrimination, but racial prejudice remains for them the fundamental motivation for institutional patterns of discrimination
      4. The internal colonialism perspective asserts that privilege was created when colonizing Europeans wrested resources such as labor and land away from native peoples
    4. A typology of discrimination
      1. The traditional emphasis on prejudice and its effects has left undefined the major types of discriminatory mechanisms and the range of motivations behind them
      2. Two features of institutionalized discrimination are important for
        analytical purposes: (a) its organizational embeddedness and (b) its
        motivation

        1. Embeddedness refers to the organizational environment, to
          the size and complexity of the relevant social unit. Size and complexity can vary from actions of a single individual to the routine practices of many individuals in a large organization
        2. In analyzing discriminatory actions, we distinguish two basic types intentional and unintentional. Intentional motivation includes (a) prejudice-motivated discrimination, (b) conformity-motivated discrimination and (c) gain-motivated discrimination
    5. The larger context
      1. Interaction and overlay
        1. Discriminatory actions within one institutional area are frequently linked to discrimination in other institutional settings
      2. The cultural background
        1. Several recent authors have reemphasized the cultural context of institutionalized discrimination
      3. Class and racial discrimination
        1. Class analysis in the orthodox Marxist tradition has generally played down the importance of racism analysis, seeing class oppression as the core characteristic in this society and racist ideologies as class weapons. Exploitation theories of discrimination date back at least to Marx & Engels’ discussion (Marx & Engels 1971) of the stereotype of the poor Irish fostered by British capitalists to divide the working class
          1. Since a form of racial subordination (e.g. slavery) often predates the emergence of well developed prejudice or ideology, it is plausible to view much prejudice as rationalization
        2. In contrast, a few social scientists have begun to see both class and race oppression as core characteristics of US society.
          1. In their path-breaking book Unorthodox Marxism (1978:181), Albert & Hahnel have developed the view that both class and race discrimination ad stratification have “a determining impact upon the life situation of a particular oppressed group and a defining effect upon everyone else as well.”
        3. Some who argue in the Marxist tradition (broadly construed) see an eventual decline in the importance of race discrimination. I his controversial book The Declining Significance of Race, Wilson (1978:150) demonstrates that in the last decade an affluent class of blacks has surfaced whose economic condition differs significantly from the black majority “underclass.” Thus racial oppression, while still important, is now secondary to class “in determining black life-chances in the modern industrial period.
    6. Racial discrimination remains a bedrock feature of this society; only research documenting the dimensions of discrimination seems to be on the decline.
  2. What do we learn from the diagram that Feagin and Eckberg use in their article?
    1. It shows the dimensionality of intention and pervasiveness in institutional discrimination. The authors discuss each possible combination and later argue for trends in interaction and movement between the groups.
    2. The combinations are clustered into four main groups which are both possible and likely.
  3. What can we learn about institutionalized racism from the Feagin and Eckberg analysis and diagram?
    1. The implication from the overall message of the article with regard to this chart is that each type of institutional racism works in a fundamentally different way and should have its own research and solutions.
  4. What are the main issues discussed in Bullard’s article?
    1. Confronting environmental racism
    2. Over 1.3 billion people worldwide live in unsafe and unhealthy conditions
    3. The pervasive presence of settler colonialism leads directly to the displacement and extermination of native populations everywhere.
    4. Costly externalities have disparate impact  for different kinds of communities
      1. “Unequal power arrangements have allowed poisons of the rich to be offered as short-term remedies for poverty of the poor.”
    5. “The environmental justice movement has begun to build a global network of grassroots groups, community-based organizations, university-based resource centers, researchers, scientists, educators and youth group”
  5. What are the main issues discussed in Mohai and Bryant article?
    1. The disadvantaged face greater risks
    2. Many examples where being poor and/or non-white led to marginalized people being exposed to environmental harms in order to protect rich and/or white people.

 

ASSIGNED READING FOR SESSION THREE (click on session 3 on left to access reading) 

 

  1. Discrimination: Motivation, Action, Effects, and Context – Feagin and Eckberg
  2. Confronting Environmental Racism in the 21st Century -Bullard
  3. Race, Poverty, and the Environment -Mohai and Bryant
  4. Green 2.0: Leaking Talent 
  5. Green 2.0: The Green Insiders Club

 

 HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Due September 14th and 16th

  1. Listen to this radio broadcast on Democracy Now.
  2. Summarize everything  you learned from the video.
    • An unelected “emergency manager” in Flint Michigan switched its water supply from the Detroit system to the flint river in order to save money.
      • The public was not involved in this decision
    • This river was full of toxic corrosive chemicals which led to discolored water and health problems for citizens.
      • Companies like general motors had dumped toxic chemicals into the river for years
    • There were bacterial outbreaks in the new dirty water which led to sickness for citizens.
    • The city dumped chlorine into the water which reacted with the materials to create extremely dangerous byproducts in the water.
    • The corrosive chemicals in the river and added by the city led to corrosion of the pipes and leached toxic heavy metals into the water, poisoning countless people in the city.
    • Officials ignored and covered up complaints by the citizens.
      • Widespread protests and citizen testing projects were needed to prove the problems existed.
    • Years later, the problems are the same.
    • People are forced to buy gallons of water from the store in order to have water to drink, and yet legally they are still required to pay for the toxic, poisoned city water supply.
    • Activists are calling for citizens to be made whole
      • Clean water to homes
      • Replace contaminated appliances and in-home pipes
    • A nearby nestle plant extracts hundreds of gallons of water per minute to sell to residents.
      • Nestle pays nothing for this water.
  3. Be prepared to discuss in class.

Thirsty for Democracy: The Poisoning of an American City”: Special Report on Flint’s Water Crisis — KPFA https://kpfa.org/episode/democracy-now-february-17-2016/ starts at 6.58 minutes in

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?

NO ASSIGNED READING FOR SESSION TWO

USP 515 Session 2 Notes

Central Concepts

  1. What do you think of when you hear the term “environmental justice”?
    • Disparate impact of environmental decisions
      • Alameda county and 580 freight ban
        • Racial gap in life expectancy and respiratory disorder
    • Role of research in demonstrating impact and causes
    • Bring people into conversation about environments
    • Humans and the environment coinciding
    • Trying to create an equitable, equal playing field for everyone
      • Access to outdoor spaces
  2. What do you think the concept “environmental justice” implies and is aiming for?
    • Implies that there is a systemic problem
    • Calls attention to differential impacts
    • Goal-oriented concept
    • Rejects these paradigms
      • Environmental injustice
      • Environmental racism
      • Mainstream environmental movement
  3. How does environmental justice relate to the planning of the urban environment and to people’s everyday lives?

Notes

  • The professor presented a deductive argument for her perspective of environmental justice which features anthroprocentrism as a descriptive and absolute fact about the entire movement of environmental justice rather than a “most” or “some” argument.
    • Several students offered counterexamples to reject the”all” argument, since there are many examples which disagree such as native traditions. The professor rejected these critiques of her position.
  • Environmental justice features redress as a core duty.
    • Reparations for historical injustices

No Assigned Readings

USP515 Session 1 Notes

Day One

Homework Questions 1.1

  1. What approaches do we want to use in this class to encourage and support as many students as possible to participate in class discussions?
    • Use emojis or type comments in the chat box
    • Raise hands on camera
    • Or just speak
    • calling on people
    • doing a speaking stack in the chat
    • using the reading questions as prompts
    • Cameras on at all times
    • Just turn off mute and talk
    • Don’t be afraid to talk
    • Breakout rooms
    • Using Chat
    • Emojis
    • Keeping track in you interrupt someone
    • Stack
    • Survey by calling folks by number – polling feature in zoom
  2. What guidelines do we want to follow to create a safe and brave classroom space?
    • speak from i
    • one speaker at a time
    • be respectful
      • no put-downs
    • ask for examples from students
    • allow enough time for people to make their whole point
    • step up step back
    • come in with an open mind
    • personal truth
  3. What approaches do we want to use to ensure that students are keeping up with assigned reading?
    • Discussing the readings both as a class and as small groups
      • Breakroom room discussions
    • Checking in with students and these questions
    • Tie in readings to all class discussions
  4. What approaches do we want to use to maximize our individual and collective well being during the semester we are spending together as a group in this class?
    • I usually create a private WhatsApp group chat for students in the class. This establishes a cohort effect where students are able to interact outside of class and rely on one another for support and feedback.
    • I usually triage less valuable assignments to devote limited executive function where its most valuable.
  5. What strategies are we using to support our mental and physical health during these challenging times?
    • Use scheduling and task management tools to block out time for all assignments at least a week ahead.
    • Use automated tools to insert any assignments into task and schedule management tools when the assignments are published.
    • Stretch your boddy
    • Do hobbies
    • Reading
    • Adopt a pet or foster a pet

Session Notes

  • Netiquette
    • Private chats are public information.
    • Schools don’t have to tell you if they’re recording you.
  • Professor is critical of mainstream environmental movement
  • Racism and injustice are fundamental to environmental justice
  • The Environmental Justice movement refers not just to the ecological perspective but also to the entire environment of where we live, work , etc.
  • In the environmental justice movement, it’s very important to start with and acknowledge the indigenous people who lived first on the land.
    • Also all the other marginalized groups who were present in building the modern world we live in.

Day Two

Guiding Questions

In this session we will examine the strategies we are using to support ourselves and others during these troubling and challenging times. Guiding questions include:

  1. Why is it important to support ourselves and others in troubling and challenging times?
    • Because urbanism is a process, and while someone will always be down while others are up, the positions will change with time, and the only way to make sure you have the help you need when you’re down is to help those who are down when you are up and to create systems which facilitate this help.
  2. What does “support” look like/feel like?
    • Systemic oppression steals power and resources from marginalized groups to benefit privileged groups. Support means people in privileged groups working to give stolen power and resources back to people in marginalized groups.
  3. How does “support” look different for different groups/settings/etc.
    • For racial oppression, power and resources are stolen on the basis of race, so the duty to subvert that system falls on groups with racial privilege.
    • For sexual oppression, power and resources are stolen on the basis of sex, so the duty to subvert that system falls on groups with sexual privilege.
    • etc
  4. Should “support” be provided by government agencies or by individuals? If govt, what would support look like?
    • Both, and by NGOs. Kingdon’s three stream model for policy change requires grassroots activism paired with institutional activism to create background discussion and awareness of social problems in order to drive the political institutions to create policy changes in order to collectively overcome social problems.
  5. What strategies are you using to support yourself and others during this time?
    • I am doing a great deal of leadership and volunteer work with nonprofits working to address the many disasters we are facing.
    • I have co-founded several community organizations dedicated to facilitating safe and rules-compliant outdoor physically-distant social gatherings for activities like kayaking and camping which are naturally inclined to physically-distant covid-safe meetups in order to support the vital need for human contact.
  6. How can we support each other in this class over the course of the fall 2020 semester?
    • I usually create a private WhatsApp group chat for students in the class. This establishes a cohort effect where students are able to interact outside of class and rely on one another for support and feedback.
    • Use scheduling and task management tools to block out time for all assignments at least a week ahead.
    • Use automated tools to insert any assignments into task and schedule management tools when the assignments are published.
    • I usually triage less valuable assignments to devote limited executive function where its most valuable.

Homework Questions 1.2

  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.
    • urban: having to do with cities
    • 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