Our Focus: Beyond Equity and Towards Justice
At its core, our focus is to take very seriously the historical-cultural moment we are in right now (while also examining the historical events—and contested interpretations of those events—that got us where we are today). That moment (obvious to all of you, I’m sure) is one in which a climate crisis, a not-yet-controlled pandemic and a resurgence of racial justice activism are all unfolding in a deeply intertwined way—globally, nationally and in the state of Vermont. On the local level, a long history of rural poverty and economic inequality also shapes the daily realities of many Vermonters. Our task this semester is to investigate what might traditionally be called “environmental” concerns with attention to these broader issues, keeping in mind the words of Environmental Justice activist Dana Alston: “the environment is where we live, work and play” which is to say, it is everywhere. Our task, then, is to think about parks, forests, recreation, food, agriculture, energy and climate resilience with attention to why and how racial and economic justice can become central to future initiatives in Vermont.
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