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Webinar: Environmental Justice in Higher Education: From Intent to Sustainable Action

This webinar will trace shifts in the traditional framing of sustainability in higher education and how it is implemented, following the recent racial reckoning in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and protests led by the Black Lives Movement. While higher education institutions continue to demonstrate ecological leadership on most of the typical areas associated with sustainability—built environment, climate, energy, food and water—joining the plethora of green campus initiatives across the U.S. that seek to reduce carbon footprints, the sector is beginning to grapple with the challenging social and political contexts and structural inequities that promote environmental degradation. Sustainability professionals are beginning to recognize their work as set in the intersection of environment and social justice, advocating for regenerative systems and practices on behalf of the planet and its people. What are the various ways in which higher education is reframing sustainability? What are the challenges and opportunities in how they are implementing these shifts, alongside institutional efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion? This webinar will explore the work of select higher education institutions (such as Princeton, MIT, Emory) and their efforts to implement supplier diversity programs, trainings etc. What would it mean to implement sustainability long-term, through the lens of environmental justice, beyond individualist measures (e.g., ride a bike, eat local, recycle etc) focused around operations & marketing? What are best practices emerging and hopeful directions this work is taking towards a more just, sustainable and inclusive world?