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This session was hosted as part of the 2021 AAAS Annual Meeting, “Understanding Dynamic Ecosystems.”
Vulnerable populations are often housed in neighborhoods filled with health hazards or at severe risk from natural disasters. As climate change worsens and extreme weather events become more frequent, these communities are the most affected. Leaders in the community, including local civic representatives, grassroots organizers, religious leaders, and environmental advocates, have been spearheading efforts for environmental justice. These leaders help ensure voices from affected communities are included in decisions related to developing, implementing, and enforcing environmental laws in their neighborhood.
This session explored the effects of environmental degradation and discrimination on vulnerable populations and discussed how elements of various faith traditions, combined with forefront science, can assist environmental justice efforts.
Ibrahim Abdul-Matin is the author of Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet and is the co-founder of Green Squash Consulting a management consulting firm based in New York that works with people, organizations, companies, coalitions and governments committed to equity and justice and specializes in dynamic strategic and focused stakeholder management and partnership development. He sits on the boards of the International Living Future Institute encouraging the creation of a regenerative built environment and Sapelo Square whose mission is to celebrate and analyze the experiences of Black Muslims in the United States.
The Rev. Dr. Neddy Astudillo, a Venezuelan-American, is an eco-theologian, and Presbyterian pastor who coordinates GreenFaith’s outreach to Latin American faith communities and to the US Latino faith community. Rev. Dr. Astudillo earned her Doctor of Ministry in “Greening the Church” from Drew University and co- founded the Angelic Organics Learning Center, a farm-based nonprofit in Northern Illinois, where people connect with food, farming and caring for the earth.
Dr. Ingrid Waldron, Ph.D. is the founder and Executive Director of the ENRICH Project. Dr. Waldron’s research, teaching, and community leadership and advocacy work are examining the health and mental health impacts of structural racism and other forms of discrimination in Black, Indigenous, immigrant, and refugee communities. Her research interests include mental illness and help-seeking in Black, Indigenous, and immigrant communities, including Black women’s experiences with mental illness and help-seeking; the impact of COVID-19 in Black communities; intimate partner violence experienced by racially and culturally diverse older women; the impacts of climate change in Black and Indigenous communities; and environmental racism in Black and Indigenous communities.
Rajul (Raj) Pandya directs AGU’s Thriving Earth Exchange, which helps volunteer scientists and community leaders work together to use science, especially Earth and space science, to advance community priorities related to sustainability, resilience, disaster risk reduction, and environmental justice.