Diversity and justice on public land is the focus of symposium

Speakers at environment symposium

Equity and environmental justice on public lands will be explored at a multiday symposium that kicks off Wednesday, May 9, with the annual Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples Lecture.

The Center for Environmental Futures will hold its inaugural symposium, “Environmental Justice, Race, and Public Lands” on May 10 and 11 on campus. The symposium will bring together practitioners engaged in diversity, equity and inclusion work throughout the Pacific Northwest with scholars focused on race, environmental justice and indigeneity as they relate to public lands. 

Wednesday’s lecture, “Climate Change, Water and Landscapes: Impacts to Indigenous Culture and Sovereignty in the United States,” will be given by Karletta Chief, assistant professor and extension specialist in the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences at the University of Arizona, and Margaret Redsteer, a research scientist in climate change and ecosystems. It is 6:30 p.m. in the Many Nations Longhouse.

Panels and lectures on Thursday and Friday will explore topics such as how to promote equity, diversity and inclusion in national parks, forests and other public lands; managing public lands for environmental justice; and indigenous perspectives on public land management.

“We’re really honored to have the opportunity to host so many of the scholars and practitioners leading the way on racial equity and environmental justice on public lands,” said Sarah Wald, associate professor of environmental studies and symposium organizer. “This symposium on environmental justice, race and public land is particularly exciting for its inclusion of scholarly perspectives from a variety of disciplines.”

Kyle Powys Whyte, professor of philosophy and community sustainability at Michigan State University, will discuss the relationship of global climate change to land use, ownership and indigenous histories of dispossession at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Room 156, Straub Hall.

Carolyn Finney, professor of geography at the University of Kentucky and the author of “Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimaging the Relationship of African Americans in the Great Outdoors,” will give a talk at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Room 156, Straub Hall.

All events are free and open to the public.

By Lizzy Elkins, University Communications