Wednesday, September 12, 2007

This chapter introduces the idea that environmental justice and sustainability movements have been opposing forces in the past. The idea that sustainability ( along with buying organic, shopping local etc) has been the privilege of the morally minded middle class while environmental justice has been a struggle for proper provision of basic necessities (clean drinking water, non-toxic food supplies, etc). The idea is then introduced that sustainability can really only be achieved from a cooperation of these two forces.
Chapter 1:
This chapter provided a history of the environmental justice movement in relation to civil rights movements. Environmental justice as a bottom up grassroots movement, much like the civil rights movement, is at the opposite side of the top down approach of new environmentalism (which focuses more on preserving wildlife as opposed to the threat of toxics in an urban area as a result of environmental racism)

These first chapters provided an interesting history of the two movements which not many people think about. I was interested by how much thought is put into the definition of each particular issue because it illustrated just how important clarifying terms truly is.

I think that this book is an interesting read, my only criticism of this book is that it seems repetitive to someone who is already familiar with these concepts. It seems like everything I read about sustainability is not really new information, just further definition and clarification of what already makes sense. The interesting parts are the case studies because people make far greater strides in improving the principles and methods of sustainability when they try them out in the real, day to day world.

9/18 Assignment & comments

Hi Folks
Clarifying the assignment for 9/18
Read another chapter in Agyeman that fills in more theory OR more practical application/examples, as appropriate. And, if possible, check out some of the local & national resources in the sheets I gave you. Have your blog entry address in our usual format what comes up for you, and, if possible, link it to previous work (Greening/Urban Ecology, Systems strategies, and Tuesday’s focus on justice, sustainability, and neighborhood participation /citizen empowerment fit together very nicely) Our discussion leaders, Carlos and Melissa, will go further in leading our group discussion (you’re welcome to send in suggestions to them).
Highly Recommended, not required: what I handed out on Tuesday: Chapter 4 Greening the City from “Toward Sustainable Communities: Resources For Citizens and Their Governments”, by Mark Roseland (sorry about omitting book title on the handout). By the way, check the Course Resources link for a booklist of my favorite sources on Sustainable Cities, Sustainable Living, etc.
We will take time for sharing about behavior change journals, so be sure to keep moving forward steadily with your efforts and reflections on them, and to bring the journals to class. How might the justice focus affect your approach to social sustainability behaviors??
Theresa will share the case presentation she had ready this week, and hopefully Tania will share the urban ecology observations she didn’t get to do this week. Ron will send out a detailed revised schedule about the case presentations, nature in the city, and discussion leaders this week. We adjusted it to spread the presentations out more evenly, so check carefully to see if it works for you
Short project reports will also be in order. Make sure everyone in your team knows what he or she is doing next and how to be well connected and accountable to each other and your community contacts. If simply self-organizing isn’t clear enough, make sure you have a contact person/convener or rotating convenership, and a game plan for communicating and working together.
I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday.