Conference Talks and Videos

Local Struggles for Global Equity: Environmental Justice at the US-Mexico Border
David Carruthers, Professor of Political Science, San Diego State University Fusing narratives of social justice and environmental stewardship, the movement for environmental justice holds great promise in Latin America, both analytically and as a rallying cry for popular mobilization. This project explores the promise and limits of local struggles for global environmental equity, drawing its lessons from community responses to industrial hazardous waste and energy production facilities at the US-Mexico border.

Globalization and Inequality: An Overview
Robert Darst, Associate Professor of Political Science & Director of Sustainability Studies, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
What do we know about the relationship between globalization and inequality, both across and within national borders? In order to set the stage for subsequent discussions of specific cases, this presentation will provide an overview of the current state of knowledge (and ignorance) about this question.

The Right to Waste: Informal Sector Recyclers and Struggles for Social Justice in Urban India
Vinay Gidwani, Professor of Geography & Global Studies, University of Minnesota
There is increasing recognition of the importance of non-formal or “need” economies to urban livelihoods and urban living.  Yet there is scant analysis of how non-formal economies and livelihoods depend on the ability to use urban space, and how the workings of law enable or constrain this.  Using the case of urban solid waste, Vinay will examine how the force of law (working through legal rulings, municipal ordinances, and so on) has impacted solid waste recycling practices in metropolises such as Delhi, altered their legal topographies and impacted the already precarious livelihoods of those who work in non-formal waste economies.  The predicament of non-formal waste economies is illustrative of the growing vulnerability of many other realms of non-formal production as law and other processes transform urban spaces in India, creating new forms of social exclusion.

From Our Homelands to the Tar Sands
Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace & Cree Environmental Justice Activist
The impacts that extraction from tar sands have on communities in northern Canada will be presented including how these impacts will reach countless communities throughout Canada, the United States and across the globe. The tar sands mega-project will be one of the largest industrial projects on the planet. The aftermath of one of the largest oil spills in recent history will also be presented.

Confronting Indigenous Peoples Rights to Resource Extraction in Latin America
Daniel Lopes Cerqueira, Human Rights Specialist for the Inter-American Commissian on Human Rights
During the last decade, the number and intensity of social conflicts in Latin America have significantly increased, threatening democratic governance and stability. While the cause of these conflicts varies, a significant portion of them, and some may argue the most explosive, are associated with the extraction and management of natural resources. Latin America’s indigenous peoples face challenges that are mainly related to the tension that exists between the rights of indigenous groups to their land, territory, and natural resources and the rights of States to use and exploit these lands. There are an increasing number of judicial decisions regarding the extraction of natural resources in Latin America and indigenous people’s rights. Now indigenous groups have an international legal framework to demand that their rights be respected fully.

From National Parks to Sacred Forests: Community Involvement in Conservation
Alison Ormsby, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, Eckerd College
Dr. Ormsby will compare her research on resident attitudes toward Masoala National Park in Madagascar with her research on sacred forests of India, and contrast the effectiveness of a government-run protected area with community-managed sacred groves.

The High Tech Trashing of the Global South
Jim Puckett, Executive Director of the Basel Action Network & producer of the BAN video, “Exporting Harm”
Electronic waste is ubiquitous and what happens to it raises one of the most fundamental questions of our age. E-waste represents a crisis in its own right, but at the same time is demonstrative of the challenges that we as global citizens and consumers face. Impacts on human rights and the environment result from how we trade, consume, and design the products that increasingly shape our lives. This presentation will dive into the cause of all pollution since the beginning of time, the impacts of mass consumption, and how our current trade rules and norms disproportionately burden the global south. Thoughts will be offered on how we as global citizens can better shape our world, one iPhone at a time.

Killing in Ignorance: How We Personally Cause Environmental Injustice and Why We Must Take Action (video not available)
Kristin Shrader-Frechette, O’Neill Family Endowed Professor, Dept. of Philosophy & Dept. of Biological Sciences & Director, Center for Environmental Justice and Children’s Health, University of Notre Dame
After giving an overview of global environmental-justice problems, this talk focuses on three prominent examples of how each of us causes environmental injustice and, in fact, saves money by imposing our own pollution burdens on poor people, minorities, and those in developing nations. As a result, Shrader-Frechette argues that each of us has justice-based duties to become environmental justice activists, to help stop the harm for which we are partly responsible. The talk closes with suggestions for how we each might “take action” against environmental injustice.

The Inextricable Link - Community Sustainability, Equability, and Conservation in Africa
Adam Whelchel, Director of Science, The Nature Conservancy, Connecticut Chapter
Human well-being is inextricably linked to nature’s well-being. The commitment of communities to restore biodiversity, improve water quality and quantity, and livelihoods through sustainable watershed/rangeland management and better governance practice ultimately stimulates greater social equity in clean and secure environments. Examples will be provided from The Nature Conservancy’s work in Africa.

Panel Discussions & Panelists

Panel I: Globalization’s Unequal Environmental & Social Impacts in India
Professors, Connecticut College: Geoffrey Atherton, Sunil Bhatia, Jane Dawson, Julia Kushigian, Julie Rivkin and Mab Segrest

Panel II: Environmental Justice; Indigenous Peoples and Urban Marginals in Peru
Professors, Connecticut College: Maria Cruz-Saco, Jenny Fredricks, Leo Garofalo, Karen Gonzalez Rice, Yibing Huang and Joseph Schroeder

Panel III: The Challenge of Conserving South Africa’s Unique Biodiversity AND Ensuring Environmental Justice to Local Populations
Professors, Connecticut College: Robert Askins, Jane Dawson, Chad Jones, Douglas Thompson, Derek Turner and Marc Zimmer