Luther College will celebrate Climate Justice Week, April 18-24, with a lineup of events focused on social equity in our changing climate. The goals of this week are for participants to walk away with an understanding of how climate change and social inequity are connected, a new or renewed commitment to creating positive change, and clarity about each person’s individual role and responsibility to our environment.
Students Salomé Valdivieso and Sydney Frank worked to organize the events. To see the complete lineup, visit luther.edu/climate-justice-week.
“This week is important to me because our Mother Earth needs us,” said Valdivieso. “We live in a time of consumerism, harming our environment by consuming and exploiting resources, most of which we don’t need. We all need to realize that our role in society affects others. I also hope this week brings awareness to the intersectionality of privilege, acknowledging that our social justice goes hand in hand with environmental awareness and care.”
Two events to note of public interest are virtual lectures by Sandra Henry and Susan Crate.
“Environmental Justice and Clean Energy” by Sandra Henry
7 p.m. Tuesday, April 20
Environmental justice and energy democracy are vital for the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy systems. Guest speaker Sandra Henry is the senior director of energy and sustainability for Elevate, an organization addressing environmental justice in the Chicago area by helping to develop minority-owned businesses in the clean energy industry. At Elevate, Henry works to create clean energy access and climate solutions to advance a more equitable and just clean energy future.
“Clean energy and environmental justice are very complex and closely intertwined with one another,” said Frank. “With firsthand experience working in this field, Sandra Henry has a special understanding of these issues, and hearing her perspective will be enlightening.”
Henry will be joined by Andy Johnson of the Winneshiek Energy District.
This is a Civic Sustainability Event, sponsored by the Center for Sustainable Communities at Luther College and the Winneshiek Energy District. Viewing information can be found at luther.edu/events.
“Anthropology and Climate Change: Actions and Transformations” by Susan Crate
7 p.m. Wednesday, April 21
Climate change is introducing profound challenges to communities around the globe. Because most of humanity uses an Indigenous or local knowledge system to understand the world, anthropology has a specific role to play as a knowledge broker for these communities. Susan Crate, an environmental and cognitive anthropologist, will share how she conducts this work and what is needed to slow down and curtail climate change for the preservation of the world’s Indigenous people.
“Susan Crate’s work revolves mainly around communities that are facing the earliest consequences of climate change in our world. Her work helps to humanize the often abstract issue of climate change, and learning about this topic through the eyes of communities who are directly suffering from this issue brings a new and important perspective to the conversation about climate change and social justice,” said Frank.
Crate is a professor of anthropology in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University. An environmental and cognitive anthropologist, she has worked with Indigenous communities in Siberia since 1988.
This lecture is sponsored by the Center for Ethics and Public Engagement and the Center for Sustainable Communities at Luther College. Viewing information can be found at luther.edu/events.